THE first time I recall being aware of David Bowie was when he released a cover of the classic Motown track Dancing in The Street with Mick Jagger for Band Aid in 1985.
In thrall as I was to the likes of Duran Duran I remember wondering why people were so excited to see this pair of – as they seemed to me – strange old men prancing around in the video.
Of course, with age comes wisdom, and I like to think that I have come to appreciate him a great deal more over the years. It was actually grunge stars Nirvana covering The Man Who Sold The World that made me finally think I should look into this Bowie guy.
So when I started investigating Bowie’s enormous back catalogue, the Ziggy Stardust era seemed a good place to start. It is indeed Bowie at his most ‘rock’ and hit-laden accessible, but it soon opened up other avenues, into his Berlin period, including the classics, Low and ‘Heroes,’ and his ‘plastic soul’ era.
It’s something of a cliche to call Bowie a chameleon of pop – but it is with good reason. His restless inventiveness saw him put his own indelible stamp on numerous genres, from folk to glam to soul, via heavy metal, electronica, jazz and many more.
There was a Bowie for everyone – I had a university roommate who would play his 1993 album Black Tie White Noise album endlessely.
He was also an innovator in other areas – he was among the first to see the importance of the internet to artists and the creation of the Bowie Bonds, which enabled fans to actually invest in their favourite singer.
With a final release on his birthday only four days ago, Blackstar will now doubtless be looked at for clues as to his impending death. While his death has come too soon, it has, at least as an artist, come on his own terms.