I didn’t know how much I loved his music until now

David Bowie
David Bowie
European workers including nurses, social workers and teaching assistants protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London before lobbying MPs over their right to remain in the UK.  Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

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The words genius, legend and love are used far too easily in this day and age.

Just watch any reality TV show and you’ll hear those words a thousand times.

He was an artist so ahead of his time, not only in the style of his music, but the style of his clothing and the manner in which he carried himself

Simon Cowell is not a genius, Tony Hadley is not a legend and, Strictly Come Dancing contestants, no you don’t love your partner. Or maybe you do!

I think these words have been desensitised over the years, so when a true genius and legend dies, such superlatives sound a little weak.

I’m talking about David Bowie. I really didn’t know how much I loved his music until his passing on Sunday.

Monday was a day full of tribute and his back catalogue was played on the radio.

My highlight was spinning Oh You Pretty Things from the 1972 album Hunky Dory.

He was an artist so ahead of his time, not only in the style of his music, but the style of his clothing and the manner in which he carried himself.

When Starman hit the charts, we were buying Mouldy Old Dough by Lieutenant Pigeon and Puppy Love by Donny Osmond. Which of those three songs are still played regularly today?

I discovered Bowie’s music when I was nine.

I found my mum’s record collection and played albums by The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel and Abba over and over again on an old Dansette player.

Picking up Hunky Dory was a different experience. Was it a boy or a girl on the front cover?

Such was the mystery of David Bowie and his sexuality. He was the first to express this in song and stage persona.

For me, his masterpiece was Life On Mars.

The strains of the string accompaniment, use of electric guitar and Rick Wakeman’s beautiful piano sum up life in the UK in 1973. The hardships, three-day working weeks and Val Doonican on the telly.

And it seems my birthplace was important to Bowie. His last public performance was in 2004 at the Isle of Wight Festival and his first in Newport in 1964, playing ukulele for the Scouts!

He never looked back after that.