You don’t have to be a superfan to mourn the loss of David Bowie. The huge span of his career, both in time and genre, means everyone likely has a list of Bowie songs that means something special to them, or brings up certain emotions.
He was many things to many people: pop artist, glam rocker visionary, actor, Ziggy, David, innovator. That list could probably triple in length if different people were asked to define him.
For example, he undoubtedly and inarguably had some of the greatest pop songs of all time, spanning several decades.
To me, the best of those are Absolute Beginners, Heroes, Ashes to Ashes, Life on Mars?, Starman, China Girl, Modern Love and Under Pressure. But of course that list could shift endlessly for each person’s experience of Bowie. I’ll admit mine are probably the cliches, but that’s okay; with him, the ‘obvious’ songs are still totally individual.
Heroes in particular has been brought to a new generation with the help of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In the movie the song is the setting to a sublime scene which gives the quote ‘I feel infinite’ and totally anchors the whole thing together. Writer and director Stephen Chbosky described the song as ‘epic in nature’.
Yet Bowie is even a Christmas song stalwart with Little Drummer Boy, which will continue to remind us of his pure voice every festive season.
And then this space here should go to the relationship each and every one of us have with Bowie, his music and his films. I won’t pretend to know everything about him but I know how he has touched the whole music world.
In fact, not just the music world: his individuality made a statement that has had a positive influence across the globe, showing all sorts of people what they can be and that it is okay to be you. Caitlin Moran showed this nicely:
I am not normally one for sharing generic RIP messages on social media for each celebrity that passes away, but this was different.
Just the fact Bowie somehow managed to release an acclaimed album just one week before his death, on his 69th birthday, 18 months after a secret battle with cancer began… That says everything about him. RIP Bowie.