The man. The innovator. The legend. David Bowie. -Wikipedia photo. tangledpasta.net
By Mary Anna Violi | @MaryAnnaVioli
It has been quite a week for famous deaths: Alan Rickman, actor; Rene Angelil, manager and producer; Brian Bedford, actor; Dan Haggerty, actor; and Andrew Smith, Butler University’s center basketball player. Yet the light in my world dimmed this week with the death of David Bowie, who also, like the aforementioned, succumbed to the demon cancer.
Throughout the week I have been reading eulogies to David Bowie, stories about him, but mostly I have been listening to his music, and watching videos of him throughout the years. Twice I saw him in concert when I was living in Houston, Texas. On August 21,1983 he brought his Serious Moonlight Tour to Houston’s The Summit. Mesmerized, I couldn’t hear or see enough of the man or of his music that night. He transfixed me with his sophisticated physical look with those mile-high cheekbones and chiseled jaw, his stage presence, and his protean talent. Bowie returned to The Summit in Houston on October 8, 1987 with his Glass Spider Tour. It was like bright lights, super stage and spectacular music show. Once more, his inventiveness and music inspired me.
Two of his movies in which he acted remain in my mind: 1976’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, and 1983’s The Hunger. The only reason I saw Cat People was because David Bowie had composed and sung the theme song, Cat People [Putting Out Fire]. His final album, his 27th, Blackstar, has proven to be another original venture. Except now we know that he knew he was dying, even as he was composing music for Blackstar, and as he was creating his Broadway musical, Lazarus.
David Bowie embodied the epitome of cool. With his velvet voice that survived the raucous days of the 1970’s, Bowie evolved, endured, and enchanted. His stage attire changed too: Gone were the Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke personae. In their place, underneath the layers of makeup and hair dye, emerged this incredibly good-looking man who looked like he was actually eating food, and ingesting far fewer mind-altering substances. He, too, like us all, found himself aging, but we should all look so good as David Bowie did. He performed in either ultra-classy, well-cut suits with the necktie left untied, or in fine looking tuxedos. In the 2000’s, David Bowie looked better than ever, and even sang better than ever. I have always gravitated toward the seductive sound of a tenor or bass saxophone. The fact that he played one early on won me over to Bowie’s sound.
David Bowie showed me how to keep on striving to change, how to believe that dreams may be parlayed into something grander than imagined. He was my hero. Already I miss him.
Several of my favorite moments, and there are many, of Bowie performing are presented below. His duet with Tina Turner of his song “Tonight” with the wailing saxophone solo is inspiring. His duet with Mick Jagger of “Dancing in the Street” is pure fun. His interviews with Rosie O’Donnell and with Conan are hilarious. Watch these moments from YouTube and enjoy.
Ciao for now.