David Bowie: ‘Weirdo’ Broke Down Barriers, Inspired Legions
January 11, 2016
His immediately identifiable voice urged listeners to “Turn and face the strange” — and for decades that’s exactly what David Bowie’s music did.
The music legend died Sunday, two days after turning 69 and releasing his latest album, “Blackstar,” to widespread acclaim.
But beyond a massive catalog of hits, Bowie left behind a legacy of breaking down barriers in music and beyond. He was the best weirdo out there — and made being one OK for legions.
“Almost every young person who thinks of themselves as an outcast or a freak … could identify with one of Bowie’s personae,” music critic Paul Gambaccini told NBC News. “He was continually shocking us with the ‘new.'”
He’s been billed as an innovator who brought the notion of “the other” into the mainstream: from Warhol-type imagery to science fiction, androgyny and bisexuality. Bowie’s costumes and gender-bending personas — from Ziggy Stardust to Aladdin Sane — consistently pushed the envelope.
“Almost everything he did turned to gold,” Gambaccini said. “When it didn’t turn to gold at least it was interesting.”
Bowie’s ability to constantly reinvent himself musically and visually earned him the reputation of a shape shifter and more. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which inducted the star in 1996, called him “rock’s foremost futurist and a genre-bending pioneer, chameleon and transformer.”
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron described the British-born Bowie as a “genius” and the “master of reinvention.”
“One of the things that is so incredible is almost all his reinventions were incredible successes,” Cameron added.
To Bowie, though, it was about more than music and success. He told Rolling Stone in a 1976 interview that he had always had a “repulsive sort of need” to be “something more than human” and keep changing.
“I’ve got nothing to do with music,” he told the interviewer. “I’ve always interpreted or played roles with my songs.”
His final act — the album “Blackstar” — was received as further proof that Bowie was like no other.
“The Man Who Fell to Earth has made an entire career of defying terrestrial categories and classification,” wrote Entertainment Weekly in its review. “As much as Bowie the Artist can be defined, it’s only in the most elusive terms: He is our eternal iconoclast, he is stardust, he is normcore Kryptonite.”
Bowie’s celebration of the weird and “other” in the roles he chose inspired and influenced legions of contemporary artists from Katy Perry to Lady Gaga, who once called Bowie an “alien prince” who “runs my universe.”
“Every morning I wake up and I think, ‘What would Bowie do?'” Gaga told British TV personality Alan Carr in a 2006 interview.
Recording artist Janelle Monae, who took on the daunting task of covering Bowie’s classic “Heroes,” said she too was drawn to his timelessness.
“He’s transcendent,” she told Rolling Stone. “He’s a true time traveler.”
That scope was felt further than radio airwaves, across film and television. Actor Mark Ruffalo summed up the impact in a Twitter tribute after news of Bowie’s death, calling him the “father of all us freaks.”
Part of Bowie’s appeal across generations was his focus on being an outsider — making it acceptable if not desirable to be a weirdo.
“My entire career, I’ve only really worked with the same subject matter,” Bowie told The Associated Press in a 2002 interview. “The trousers may change, but the actual words and subjects I’ve always chosen to write with are things to do with isolation, abandonment, fear and anxiety — all of the high points of one’s life.”
Those subjects resonated deeply — and fans were quick to praise how Bowie’s message shaped their lives.
“The world lost an icon of mythological proportions,” wrote director Peter Atencio. “When I first realized I was a weirdo David Bowie was the first person who made me feel like I might belong somewhere.”
He added: “I don’t know that I’ve ever felt this strongly about the passing of someone I never met, but merely worshipped from afar.”
Today’s musicians — from Gaga to Madonna — also owe a great deal to Bowie, according to Rolling Stone contributing editor Joe Levy.
“Would we have Madonna… without David Blowie to blaze a trail for her? Probably not,” he told NBC’s TODAY.
He called the artist’s last album a fitting “testament” to his achievements. It also feels like a farewell.
“Look up here, I’m in heaven. I’ve got scars that can’t be seen. I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen, everybody knows me now,” the lyrics from the album’s first single, “Lazarus,” read. “This way or no way you know, I’ll be free just like that bluebird now ain’t that just like me.”
This is all so amazingly accurate: the singing, the instrument playing, the body language, the clothes, the wigs, the facial prosthetics, the banter between songs, etc. They even make several costume changes, as they play the songs in chronological order.
The intro is just a bunch of stock footage. Skip to 1:16 for the beginning of the concert:
Jackson Taylor performs an exceptionally well done cover of the piano part of Fleetwood Mac’s “Hold Me”
Oh wow! Check out all these awesome songs that were on the Billboard Hot 100 during a single week in 1982.
The list is at this link, on page 64. You can use the “+” to make the image bigger, and you can scroll around:
Here are some of my favorites from this list:
1) Human League – Don’t You Want Me
2) Toto – Rosanna
3) Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder – Ebony And Ivory
4) Asia – Heat Of The Moment
5) John Cougar – Hurts So Good
8) Juice Newton – Love’s Been A Little Bit Hard On Me
9) Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger
10) .38 Special – Caught Up In You
12) Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – Crimson And Clover
13) Motels – Only The Lonely
14) Ray Parker Jr. – The Other Woman
19) Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra
22) Fleetwood Mac – Hold Me
29) Crosby Stills and Nash – Wasted On The Way
42) Melissa Manchester – You Should Hear How She Talks About You
43) Kim Wilde – Kids in America
46) Haircut 100 – Love Plus One
49) Daryl Hall and John Oates – Your Imagination
62) Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy
65) Donna Summer – Love Is In Control
66) Eddie Money – Think I’m In Love
67) Go Go’s – Vacation
69) Tommy Tutone – 867-5309/Jenny
84) Loverboy – When It’s Over
85) Alan Parsons Project – Eye In the Sky
87) Missing Persons – Words
98) Daryl Hall and John Oates – Did It In A Minute
All those awesome songs were on the chart during the same week – wow!
You can see them at https://www.youtube.com/user/hallandoatesVEVO/videos
These are much better quality than the VHS recordings that many fans have uploaded over the years.
It’s not a mistake that they uploaded “Jingle Bell Rock” twice – one version has Daryl singing, and the other one has John.
My family got cable with MTV in July 1982. I even remember MTV celebrating its one year anniversary a month later. I though I had seen every Hall and Oates video a huge number of times – but I had no idea that they had videos of songs from their X-Static album. What a pleasant surprise!
The 2014-15 Louisville Leopard Percussionists rehearsing Kashmir, The Ocean, and Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin.
The Louisville Leopard Percussionists began in 1993. They are a performing ensemble of approximately 55 student musicians, ages 7-12, living in and around Louisville, Kentucky. Each student learns and acquires proficiency on several instruments, such as marimbas, xylophone, vibraphone, drum set, timbales, congas, bongos and piano.
I just discovered this wonderful singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Here are four of her music videos:
“The Ghost Who Walks”
“The Truth Is In The Dirt”
“On My Own” by Farrah Abraham
Some “singers” have said that there’s nothing wrong with lip syncing.
If what they say is true, then how come these “singers” never tell people in advance that they are lip syncing?
In my opinion, any “live” performer who is lip syncing should tell their audience that they are lip syncing, before they starting doing it.
And if they are charging money for their “performance,” they should tell you before you pay money for the ticket.
Otherwise, they are guilty of lying and fraud.
Mandy Moore’s Amanda Leigh is an absolutely wonderful, beautiful, and most importantly, musical album full of fantastic songs. Country, folk, rock, and pop are all blended together to create one of the few truly great albums of the 21st century that I have heard so far. When I emphasized the word “musical,” it is because this is completely different from Moore’s first few albums. People who know my tastes in music would never believe that I liked a Mandy Moore album, were it not for the fact that this particular Moore album sounds like it’s from a completely different artist. Laugh at me for saying that if you want, but that just means that you haven’t actually heard the album. Amanda Leigh (Moore’s real life name) is a genuinely heartfelt, enjoyable, emotionally satisfying work of art.
I was born in 1971. I tell you this because it should help to tell you something about the point of view from which I have watched TV shows. As a child, I watched reruns of sitcoms and cartoons from the 60s, as well as new programming on PBS, and Saturday morning children’s programming. During the late 70s, I also started watching a few shows regularly during prime time. In the 80s I watched a huge number of shows during prime time. During the 90s and later there have been far fewer new shows that I liked, although among those few that I did like, I found them to be excellent.
These are my 126 favorite albums of all time. This list is arranged in order of preference, starting with my #1 favorite.
I’ve been listening to this internet radio station for the past few hours, and I’ve really been enjoying it:
One awesome musician – one acoustic guitar – one continuous take with no edits – all dedicated to a brilliant performance of one of my favorite songs of all time.
Igor Presnyako is a very talented musician:
Neil Young – singer, songwriter, and guitarist – solo artist – member of Buffalo Springfield – member of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – is very much alive.
However, NBC news has reported that he has died!
Not only that, but they also reported that he was the first astronaut to walk on the moon!