When you listen to David Bowie, it is not just music that sweeps to and fro! It’s a long lingering wave of sound, a blast, that keeps ricocheting in your space and time.
There was the 60’s psychedelic experience. Then there was English hard rock. Hard core riffs mixed with the bold blues of the west!
And, then there was punk! The DIY (Do It Yourself) music movement.
Then came New Wave, Deutsche Welle, Grunge, and EDM-Techno! But, among all of them, there came David Bowie!
Call it the Black Star, the Space Oddity himself. The Rock and Roll Suicide…
It will never be enough to speak of the tremendous amount of pressure he delivered on Art, and of course Rock.
Starting from the Andy Warhol-isque craftsmanship, Marc Bolan-ish looks, Lou Reed type Starlight Attitude, Zeppelin style hard riffs, to Falco like welle and Floyd-ish psychedelic. Bowie is never to be described in a nutshell.
If you try to summarise Bowie, then you will know that it is an Oddity. An abstract idea, a shape that is not supposed to exist in this time and space; and yet it happened!
Beginning, with the start of Punk Rock:
Bet, you must have heard ‘Waiting for the man’; this song was originally recorded by The Velvet Underground.
With the Andy Warhol force still acting in the background; the Velvet Underground song boasts of a very raw Guitar tuning, haunting Piano play, Treble drumming, and a rough Punk vocals.
A constant note is strum through out the song.
We can beautifully justify, if Velvet Underground never occurred, then Punk would not have been the way it was.
You can surely argue that Sex Pistols, The Ramones, The Clash, Iggy Pop, and other contemporary acts have defined the true nature of Punk Rock. But, Velvet Underground and Warhol’s Plastic Explosive took place before these deafening acts!
And, David Bowie was actively a part of this scene.
Bowie, Warhol, and Lou were very close, and collaborated on several thoughts and ideas.
The opening of ‘Waiting for the Man’ – by David Bowie in Live at Santa Monica 1972; hits the ears very sharp with the cutting edge strum that rings even after the song is finished!
Then there are lyrics, like “Andy Warhol, looks a scream; hang him up on my wall”! These are beyond normal Rock and Roll.
This was existentialism, a hard take on Rock that redefined the music that came afterwards.
One of the pioneers of Proto-Punk movement, David Bowie has remained a central position in the development of Punk persona and Post-Punk.
Iggy Pop has been highly influenced by David Bowie, and has been a close associate of David Bowie’s.
Life of David Bowie has throughout been complex and saturated across many paths. Lou Reed, Velvet Underground, Iggy Pop, Andy Warhol, and the whole contemporary scene of New York in the 70s; have shaped the David Bowie Art to give an absurd Rock culture, of its own!
Turning to Glam Rock, Psychedelic, and Art Rock:
Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Marc Bolan, Genesis, Queen, and others of their likes have laid down the foundations of Psychedelic Rock, Progressive Rock, Hard Rock, Art Rock, Glam Rock, and subsequently Heavy Metal.
David Bowie on the other hand represented nearly all of the above mentioned Genres. That’s the beauty of David Bowie. He is a package, that explodes whenever the talks of Music evolution takes place.
Evident from compositions like Buddha Of Suburbia, Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), Space Oddity, and Lodger; Bowie surpassed conventional music making to indulge deliberately into a plasma effect of Chaos, Sounds, and Silence.
It was a cosmic brilliance of sounds, that took place in the very heart of Rock and Roll. It changed the face of Rock.
It was an Oddity!
Criticised by ample artists and musicians, falling in his lines; and exposed to limitless boundaries by an enthusiastic fan-base; David was never imprisoned within the typical Rock picture-frame!
The heavy guitar riffs, and rumbling bass of Scary Monsters; the psychedelic-folk rock ambience of African Night Flight; the expanding psychedelic scenery of Space Oddity; The Glam of Ziggy Stardust; and the Opioid effect of ‘Low’; David Bowie was standing out from the crowd.
Trent Reznor, Mötley Crüe, Iron Maiden, and other heavy acts have directly credited David Bowie with the foundations of their music.
I bring these names under this section, because all these bands represent a certain Glam Metal and distorted Techno groove in their music.
We have heard such lookalikes in the music of David Bowie as well.
He joined Pink Floyd, in the creation of one of the darkest versions of Comfortably Numb! He was on records with Freddie Mercury, Queen, and gave the smashing hit Under Pressure!
It’s just never ending!
No matter how long we keep dragging the works of Bowie, it only stretches to unfold the wrinkles and reveal new elements!
Bowie, however, has remained honest in his influences. He has openly said that Marc Bolan and T-Rex, Pink Floyd, Queen, The Who, and other English acts as his major interests and likenesses.
He also came on board with The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones, and other popular Rock groups and Pop musicians, to produce highly approved Rock and Roll numbers that will always stand high in the test of time.
Progressing to New Wave, Post-Punk, Techno:
Seriously, who was David Bowie?
He didn’t stop to progress with time, and culture. Post 1980s, Bowie represented a different sound completely.
We were getting to hear Synth-Rock, New Wave, Post-Punk, EDM-Techno, Disco infused with Reggae and Hip-Hop, and a fine lining of Progressive Metal.
The Smiths, Brian Eno, Roxy Music, Talking Heads, and several other important figures of Techno-Rock, New Wave, Avant Garde, and Post Punk, were getting reflected in the music of David Bowie.
Albums like Let’s Dance, and Never Let Me Down, are exponential examples of how David welcome the Electronic Music phenomenon of 1990s and beyond.
Sound causes sensory excitement to impregnate various emotion within oneself. This definition is never proved wrong, when we hear Bowie growl and shout with his music.
Bowie is one of those musicians, who was never confined within a single room of classification. He expanded, like a Space.
Bowie, his movies, and theatre:
Christopher Nolan had to pester Bowie a lot, to make him agree for the role of Nikola Tesla in ‘The Prestige’.
And God, what an act it was.
The problem with Bowie is that it’s very hard to remain neutral and judge his works. You will lean towards him; you will get biased.
Movies like Labyrinth gave us a feel of the magical world, Bowie likes to create with his own imagination.
His starring role in The Elephant Man, in the broadway play by Bernard Pomerance, left us captivated.
Bowie’s contribution in Film and performing Arts were equivocal as his efforts made in the realm of Music.
He is no longer with us.
But, he shall always remain that ‘Black Star’, that unique Oddity, that Rock and Roll-er, who lived a fearless life, and never stopped experimenting.
A wonderful soul, which is indeed very rare to find!
This is remembering David Bowie, from the house of 2iL.org.
2iL stands for Today I Learned.
Keep visiting our blog section for more amazing posts.
And, don’t forget to listen one David Bowie album Today! Give ‘Diamond Dogs’ a try!
Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Major Tom (ten, nine, eight, seven, six)
Commencing countdown, engines on (five, four, three)
Check ignition and may God’s love be with you (two, one, liftoff)”
…. David Bowie – Space Oddity