I haven’t quite reached the age where I wake up and think, “OK, who died today?”, but it’s getting closer, I think. And this morning, I woke up to learn of the death of David Bowie at the age of 69. Alan Cross, alt-rock historian par excellence, has an apt and excellent piece over at his place, and there’s not a great deal I can add to it.
Britain’s Telegraph reports that Bowie’s last album and video (released just a few days ago) were very much in the nature of parting statements:
In a statement on his Facebook page, he said: “He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way.
“His death was no different from his life – a work of Art.”
Fair enough, and few of us go out on our own terms even to that extent.
I saw Mr. Bowie in concert once, in 1987 in Lexington, KY, during my first year of grad school. A young woman who was the closest I ever came to becoming a character in a James M. Cain novel came down from Cincinnati with tickets for Bowie’s “Glass Spider” tour at Rupp Arena, including Peter Frampton on guitar. It was a fine show, with a mix of old and new material, and even from the rafters, Bowie’s stage presence was striking.
And now he’s elsewhere, as I suppose all of us are, though our elsewheres may differ for the time being. For now, we have the music and art he left us, and while most folks are listening to his amazing work from the 1970s today, I’m going to pass along one of his early tracks, from when he still performed under his birth name of Jones. With the Lower Third, this is “You’ve Got A Habit of Leaving”, released a month before I was born.
Goodbye, Mr. Bowie, and thanks for the music.