Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar
As was the case with Miles Davis in jazz, Bowie has come not just to represent his innovations but to symbolize modern rock as an idiom in which literacy, art, fashion, style, sexual exploration and social commentary can be rolled into one.
~Rolling Stone magazine
Four decades ago, I didn’t get it. Didn’t like it. I wanted my rock straight up, pure. No androgyny, glam, or performance art necessary. If you’ve got chops, you don’t need the sideshow, I thought.
It took two decades and my progeny to open my eyes to what this guy Bowie was all about. Sure, I still prefer to “see” my music without all the Ziggy Stardust, Laurie Anderson, Madonna, Gaga stage-production. Just consider me an old fart in that regard, but at least now I get it.
Close your eyes and listen. Just listen to almost anything David Robert Jones produced. He is a genius, who manipulated his way to the forefront with “showmanship,” but backed it with creative, provoking talent rooted in solid music theory. I doubt it’s coincidental that his last masterpiece echoes those roots. In Blackstar, Bowie revisits the 13-year-old who, inspired by the London West End jazz scene, picked up a sax and sought lessons from Ronnie Ross—the musician responsible for the soaring horn on Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” among other great works.
Now, like a musical Lazarus, Bowie will live on, rising from the dead every time a piece of his work comes to our ears. And, should we miss the physical vestige, he’s told us what to do:
“Look up here, I’m in heaven ….”