I’m one of a younger generation, so just a heads up; I hardly know anything about David Bowie. In fact, I am probably the least qualified person in the world to talk about this subject. When Bowie passed away not too long ago, I had hardly any idea about how this guy was. I knew a couple of his songs, but never knew that he was the one singing it, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge.
The day after Bowie died, I came into my first period class to find my teacher utterly silent. He was completely destroyed by the news of Bowie’s death. To commemorate him, we listened to a couple of his songs for five minutes while our teacher tried to convey the connection he had with the artist. It was at this time that it dawned on me. This wasn’t some old singer, he was the face of an entire generation. He was this big star with crazy stories and amazing music. He was this pioneer that switched up styles with each album and had stage names and characters and wild concerts that were almost theatrical. It was amazing finding this all out, like uncovering the truth behind some sacred society. This was the start of my journey.
For about the next week, I listened to his songs and found out that he actually made quite a few songs that i had already known; Moonage Daydream, Fame, Rebel Rebel. This is when i realized just how big David Bowie was. I had lived with these songs for so many years not knowing it was him. More amazingly each song sounded like its own new band. Nearing the end of this week of musical exploration I realized something. David Bowie’s eyes are not the same.That night, I looked up why. In his early years as a teen, David Bowie got in a fight with one of his close friends, George Underwood, over a girl. Of course, the two remained friends, but the fight ended up leaving Bowie with a permanently dilated left pupil. This one story fueled my interest beyond all the music. I was no longer interested in just his music, but in him as the crazy pop star he was.
A little over a week later, my Uncle came into town and, amongst the many conversations that occur in a long car ride, he brought up David Bowie. With this he told me another story. He told me the story of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. It was an album that Bowie made which chronicled a fictional pop star, Ziggy Stardust, and his rise/fall from fame. He told of how each song in the album told a part of this story and how Bowie adopted this whole persona just to make it feel more real.
These stories all opened my eyes to this amazing character and just how little I had known. More importantly it opened my mind to a much sadder concept. This magnificent star who did all these crazy things had somehow faded into obscurity. Just a few decades after his rise to fame, and hardly any of my generation knew who he was until his passing. This constant fact that fame is fleeting and an entire generation of people can fade to obscurity, its humbling to know that we are so small.