When I’m listening to David Bowie’s “Where Are We Now“, the first word that crosses my mind is ‘legacy’. And how could anyone think about The Thin White Duke without feeling knocked down by his enormous baggage that he intentionally forgot on the train station of music for posterity to find and open? David Bowie’s legacy is not a tomfoolery or a gag; it’s a reality that becomes more and more tangible and conspicuous, especially now, when the megastar is on the verge of extending his legacy with a brand new album.
The young Robert David Jones, who changed his name to Bowie to avoid confusion with the lead singer of The Monkees, always wanted to make a difference in music, but never imagined that his bumpy ride to making his songs heard will eventually turn him into an icon. For the most part of his career, particularly in the 1960s, he was a struggling artist on the wait of his breakthrough. For a long time he trifled with several styles of music, he searched for inspiration in other forms of art such as painting, literature and acting, but his efforts were finally rewarded in 1969. The song “Space Oddity,” which by coincidence or not, was released at the time of the moon landing, brought Bowie his most desired breakthrough. The song was a success and Bowie released three albums. Unfortunately, after the release of his third album, his career suffered a decline as the artist failed to produce at least another hit song. And this is how his entire music career will be like, filled with ups and downs, dreadful declines and glorious comebacks.
One of his major comebacks, and the most relevant for his legacy, was in the early 1970s. At a time when pop music was on the rocks and rock genre desperately needed a makeover, Bowie released Ziggy Stardust, a concept album that made the foundation of glam rock and strongly influenced its subsequent development. He introduced science fiction to music and their marriage was avant-garde and fundamental for the evolution of music. He preferred themes such as Armageddon, the destructiveness of success and fame, gender dysfunction, the dangers inherent in star worship and so on.
The albums many of his fans consider his best are those released in the 1970s: the electronic trilogy Low, Heroes and Lodger and the Japanese-influenced Scary Monsters. The early 80s saw a drop-off in his musical career again. After dealing with an intense and extensive drug addiction, he released Let’s Dance, an album that turned him into an international megastar. In the 1990s he released three albums to considerable critical acclaim and after setting things straight in his personal and acting life, Bowie returned this year with new material in his sleeve.
Thus, though David Bowie’s legacy is far from being finished, we should all bow in front of this great artist who turned the tables upside down and revolutionized music in all its forms. His state-of-the-art music, his innovative songs and stagecraft brought a new dimension to pop music and rock music alike and transformed the young and fragile David Jones into David Bowie, one of the most influential songwriters of all times. Nowadays, though he’s still alive, his legacy has a tremendous influence on pop and rock music, hard rock and heavy metal, soul and psychedelic folk.
Submitted by OptimusPrime at Mon 17 Jun, 2013 12:02 pm
Last updated by delamare at Tue 12 Jan, 2016 8:36 pm