Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Live like Bowie


I think that describes a lot of people's reaction to yesterday's announcement of the death of David Bowie at 69 from cancer.  It's poignant because I think everyone takes a moment not just to remember him, but their own personal family heroes who were similarly lost to one cancer or another.  I like many feel huge empathy.  Not only was he a musical hero, but because we've know something of the struggle and the loss to cancer personally (for me, my beloved father-in-law especially comes to mind).

On social media, many of my friends are posting tributes to Bowie, and links to their favourite songs.  There are so many good songs, and no two friends seem to have chosen the same one - probably a testament to his back-catalogue.

David Bowie was often referred to as the "chameleon of pop".  He reinvented himself and his music regularly.  There are many bands and singers out there who find a sound and a style, and stick to it their whole life.  He didn't.

He likewise was unafraid to dabble in acting - and was particularly superb as the haunted alien of The Man Who Fell To Earth.

Bowie was never afraid to experiment, to collaborate and try new things.  Consequentially, among so many great songs, there are a few that just don't work for me.  I'm thinking about his cover of the Doors Moon Of Alabama - however even there he didn't just copy and paste, but dared to try something very different.

He sung with Freddie Mercury.  And Mick Jagger.  And Bing Crosby.  Bing Crosby!

What remains with us is almost 50 years of music.  But his memory should propel us to embrace what he did.  To embrace working with others, daring to cross the floor to collaborate with others, to not let a box confine and define us.  To avoid forging a career that repeats the same playlist of actions our whole life, but to be daring, try new things and reinvent ourselves. 

Do everything with passion - although try and avoid the cocaine habit.  And if occasionally being daring doesn't work, don't be afraid to try again.

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