David Bowie dies aged 69

January 11, 2016

Woke up a few moments ago to the news that David Bowie has died after an 18 month battle with cancer.His representative confirmed the shock news with statements being released on the singer’s website and social media pages.Representative Steve Martin issued the following statement: “David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer,” read the statement. “While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.” His son Duncan Jones, a screenwriter, also confirmed the news on Twitter.“Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all,” he posted along with a black and white photo of his father holding him as a child. British Prime Minister David Cameron has also tweeted his condolences few minutes ago: “I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of re-invention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss.” Born David Jones in London in 1947, Bowie enjoyed a string of global hits from the late 1960s onwards.Born in postwar Brixton, south London, began his music career in the RB boom of the early Sixties.His chosen name references the bowie knife, named after Jim Bowie, an American frontiersman and adventurer.I recall reading what he told his biographer that at the age of nine, his father brought home stack of 45s by the Moonglows, Fats Domino, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, the Platters, Fats Domino and Little Richard and he had to play them on a 78 rpm gramophone, spinning them with his finger until they sounded “wonky and wobbly”, but about right to his ear.

Screen shot of David Bowie's the rise and fall of ziggy stardust
Screen shot of David Bowie’s the rise and fall of ziggy stardust

Bowie started playing sax as a teenager, at secondary school. His first LP, David Bowie, was released on 1st June 1967. In 1969 he made his first appearance in the charts with Space Oddity.Married to his first wife, Angie, in 1970, he later declared himself to be bisexual.Bowie is  credited for dragging into the mainstream a range of influences that commercial forces might never have accepted including Lou Reed’s Velvet Underground and Iggy Pop’s Stooges. After Ziggy Stardust off final show in London in 1973, Bowie moved to New York and later to Berlin, developing a new persona, the Thin White Duke, and collaborating with US singers Iggy Pop and Lou Reed.Entering the ’80s his music became increasingly influenced by soul, disco and funk, while a burgeoning film career saw him appear in pictures including Labyrinth.Bowie also battled drugs at times during his career, with an addiction to heroin and cocaine during the 1970s, and made statements expressing support for far-right politics during the Thin White Duke years, comments which he later attributed to his struggle with drugs and the fact that he was “completely crazed” at the time.The Elephant Man with Bowie in the title role, was a hit on Broadway in 1980.

He married his second wife Iman, a Somali-American model, in 1992 in Florence after they met on a blind date arranged by a mutual friend.He was the first first artist to create internet service provider, Bowienet, in 1998.In 2004, a heart attack put a break to Bowie’s plans to tour the world.I learned about David Bowie music through my brother who had his albums Heroes, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and Hunky Dory.Indeed it was that album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars in 1972 that delivered his big breakthrough in the music industry, in which the innovative musician imagined the archetypal rock star as a space alien, his stage persona Ziggy Stardust.Bowie experimented with different music genres like rock, pop, soul, dance, punk and electronica throughout his career, nabbing his first US Number one single in 1975 with ‘Fame‘ from the Top 10 album Young Americans. As I grew up, he had become one of my music industry most favorite innovative performers.On Saturday, Bowie marked his 69th birthday with the release of a new album, Blackstar, with critics giving the thumbs up to the latest work in a long and innovative career.The album features only seven songs.Bowie had returned to the music scene after 2013’s The Next Day.The singer leaves behind his supermodel wife Iman and two children, son Duncan and daughter Alexandria.

Contador Harrison