Today would have been the late singer’s 73rd birthday.
73 years ago, a baby boy was born by the name of David Robert Jones. Little did the world know then that a showman, a legend, an icon was born.
David Bowie is easily one of the most influential artists not just in the 20th century…but ever. He was someone who was so effortlessly themself and never let anyone tell them otherwise.
In both music and movies, Bowie showed a creative force that no one could ever close to replicating. With his own unique style, which often was androgynous, Bowie opened doors for others who were far from normal, in the best way.
Bowie was such a performer in his time, bringing costume and theatrics to the stage, which wasn’t very common then. His videos often included him in make-up which, while many were put off by it, helped shape the music, film and fashion we know today.
From his first album, Hunky Dory, to his last, Blackstar, Bowie has tons of hits under his belt. With him constantly reinventing his stage personas, fans were always eager to see who and what David would do next. Here are some of his personas.
David Bowie: Though this is his regualr standard self, he did give himself a new last name. From Jones to Bowie. He named himself after American pioneer and creator of the Bowie knife, James Bowie.
Ziggy Stardust: A bisexual demigod in red boots. This was character that gave Bowie the breakthrough he needed. The album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is now considered one of the greatest albums of all time and his songs provide a critical note on matters like politics, drugs and sexual orientation.
Aladdin Sane: “A lad insane” is said to be Bowie’s “half brother Terry who has schizophrenia.” Aladdin came to light when Bowie killed off Ziggy Stardust onstage at a London gig, introducing his new era. The Aladdin Sane album which features the self titled track and the hit “The Jean Genie.”
The Thin White Duke: This persona happened during David Bowie’s “dark years.” He was struggling with a heavy hard drug addiction and stress. From here came the album, Station to Station. This alter ego is a troubled man, who sings of romance but is completely numb to feelings. The Duke had platinum blond hair and was usually dressed in a white shirt, black trousers and a waistcoat. It is his most controversial persona and the Thin White Duke has been called a psychopathic aristocrat and an immortal zombie.
The Blind Prophet: His last and most heartbreaking character. The Blind Prophet came from the Blackstar album. In the video Lazarus, he is a blind prophet telling himself of his own death. This whole album is a goodbye message to his adoring fans. Knowing he was dying and wouldn’t be around much longer, he wanted to give one last gift. It even features the lyrics “look up here, I’m in heaven,” hoping to give fans a slight ease.
Bowie’s film and television career are almost if not equally as impressive and inspiring as his music career. He held leading roles in several feature films, including The Man Who Fell to Earth, Just a Gigolo, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, The Hunger, The Linguini Incident, and arguably his biggest film Labyrinth.
You can’t forget the endless amounts of documentaries made!
David Bowie has influenced some of the greatest artists of today. Most notably, Harry Styles as of recent. Harry Styles, we can wholeheartedly say, is the David Bowie of the recent generation. Pushing gender boundaries and being openly fluid. Bowie influences can be heard in Harry’s self-titled album and his recent album, Fine Line. Let’s not forget the fashion!
Another popular artist that takes direct influence from David is Lady Gaga. From Gaga’s first big hit, “Just Dance,” which featured her rocking a lightning bolt over her eye. Gaga has always expressed her love and admiration for the late singer. She even sports a portrait tattoo on her ribs of him.
When Bowie passed, at the Grammy Awards that year, Lady Gaga honored him by performing a stunning performance of a Bowie medley. Starting with “Space Oddity” she performed variations of his biggest hits like “Changes,” “Suffragette City,” “Fashion,” “Let’s Dance,” and “Heroes.” While, of course, she nailed the vocals, she even dedicated her look that night to him, complete with the campy outfits, orange hair, and dramatic outfit changes. You can watch the full performance here.
A Legend Forever
Though he is now gone, David Bowie lives on forever through his movies, music, and family. A biopic movie is said to be in the works, however, it is also said that David’s family refuses to hand over the rights to his music.
David was a legend in music and film for his unique style and creativity, but he was so much more than that. He was unapologetically himself which was so rare for him on time. Wearing makeup, dresses and being openly bisexual were things that he did way before they were deemed “okay.” He has opened the door for not only musicians but people who just want to be themselves.
Bowie will forever be one of the greatest icons to ever grace the world.
Forever a legend.
Words: Jace Chiappetta | Featured Photo: David Bowie/VEVO