David Bowie’s Iconic Departure

Revolutionary rock artist was creative until the end



David Bowie, the infinitely changeable, fiercely forward-looking songwriter who taught generations of musicians about the power of drama, images and personae, died Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016 surrounded by family. He was 69. Bowie died after an 18-month battle with cancer. Here he is shown performing on Nov. 17, 2003. (Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Zuma Press/TNS with permission.)

"Blackstar" David Bowie Vevo

Alicia Hammill, Staff Writer

On January 10, the world lost one of its most popular and unique music personalities. The tragic death of David Bowie brought about a new wave – a wave of appreciation for the art he created through his constantly evolving music and guises. Though his heart may have stopped beating, his influence on popular music will always be remembered.

His sound was distinctive, mesmerizing and new.”

— Alicia Hammill

As his career took flight, the English composer, singer, musician and band leader shocked the music industry. His sound was distinctive, mesmerizing and new. It helped revolutionize a world predominantly ruled by introverted singer songwriters, protest songs and psychedelic rock.  His stage personas, including Ziggy Zardust, Alladin Sane, the Thin White Duke and Major Tom were unique and fantastic, commanding attention from all angles, and copied by many. His androgynous outfits and captivating characters were a stark contrast to the music of the laid-back sixties. His first and biggest hit, “Space Oddity (1969)” sent his name to the top of the charts, forcing his groundbreaking music into the heads of anyone listening to the radio. Continuing with hits like “Changes,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Heroes,” “Young Americans” and “Modern Love” to name a few, he set new standards for popular music that will hold fast for a very long time. While cancer may have taken his physical body, his memory and music are things that cancer can’t steal.

His influence is one of the longest lasting movements in modern music history, with an unrelenting following that is determined to make his legacy last as long as possible. His music was not only amazing in quality and talent, but also powerful in message. His stage characters not only drew the eyes, they made a statement – a form of expression recognizable today in artists like Lady Gaga, and her Mother Monster manifesto. Bowie inspired until the very end. “Blackstar” his last album, released only two days before he died (on his 69th birthday), was extremely well received before anyone knew he was sick, and then shot to number one on the Billboard album chart (his first album to do so). Bowie’s music, style and message have inspired so many, it is almost impossible to think of any popular artist today that has not been influenced by him. His talent knew no bounds, and his memory will be just as limitless. There was always something timeless about him, even as time ran out.