I don’t remember the first time I heard David Bowie. It was probably “Fame,” “Changes” or “Let’s Dance” on FM radio while I sat on the kitchen floor coloring and my mom made dinner. But I do seem to always remember seeing David Bowie somewhere in my peripheral vision as a kid. Mostly on MTV I guess. David Bowie looking weird. David Bowie looking cool. David Bowie looking like a woman. Interesting. Scary. Mysterious. But also friendly and playful. The world without David Bowie is a little less weird and a little less cool. Thankfully he was a prolific artist.
I really began to get into his music in college. I bought Ziggy Stardust and then Hunky Dory followed by Diamond Dogs. (“Rebel Rebel” is, in my opinion, the perfect rock song.) Bowie always seemed to be in the background of everything I liked. Seu Jorge covered classic Bowie songs in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic. One of Phish’s best songs is named after him. He popped up on an episode of Ricky Gervais’ sitcom Extras. He appeared on TV on the Radio’s album Return to Cookie Mountain. His song “Young Americans” plays over a montage of photographs as the credits roll to Lars Von Trier’s epic art film Dogville. Bowie was everywhere that was cool.
I love his music. Mostly the classic albums from the ‘70s, but he never failed to make interesting art throughout every phase of his career. The last guitar tab I learned was the intro to one of my favorite Bowie songs “Eight Line Poem” just about two months ago. Probably all my favorite bands would still exist without David Bowie, but I doubt they would sound the same. It’s hard to imagine Gene Ween’s bombastic approach to some Ween songs without David Bowie.
One of my favorite David Bowie albums is 1977’s Low. The album was released 39 years ago last Thursday. “Sound and Vision” is one of the catchiest songs in his catalog. There’s heavy Brian Eno influences, there’s moody ambient music, there’s tasteful saxophone from Bowie. Low has it all. Apparently, Eno and Bowie had even discussed working together again at some point. I wish that would’ve happened, but let’s cherish the music we do have and remember Bowie with this morning with Low.
Listen to more David Bowie with our Spotify playlist.