There’s nothing quite like waking up this morning, picking up my cell phone, and seeing the BBC News app push notification on the screen announcing this headline:

David Bowie dies of cancer aged 69

That one took me by surprise because I didn’t even know he was even sick. (Apparently he never publicly announced that he had been battling cancer for the past 18 months.)

I have plenty of memories of David Bowie. My earliest memory was when I was a kid. I used to read the teenybopper magazines of the era like Tiger Beat and 16. Among the photos of mainstream clean-cut teen idols like David Cassidy and Donny Osmond, I remember there was a photo of David Bowie wearing this wild outfit that was completely unlike what anyone else was wearing. Not too long after seeing that magazine photograph I saw him perform for the first time. There was a TV series on ABC called In Concert which ran late each Friday night starting at 11:30 p.m. and it featured a filmed concert from a different rock music act each week. One week David Bowie was the featured act and he was unlike any other music act I saw on TV to date. This was during his glam rock Ziggy Stardust phase when he had wild spiky red hair with flashy makeup and equally flashy clothes. During one song he even wore a long skirt, which, up to that point, I had never seen any man wear before.

I was fortunate to have had the chance to see David Bowie in concert only once. At the time he was touring in support of his then-latest album, Let’s Dance. I was in college and I went to the since-demolished Capital Center in Landover, Maryland (which was famously featured in the cult documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot) with one of my housemates and my then-boyfriend (who later became my ex-husband). The three of us arrived to see a total spectacle as David Bowie used a variety of props and sang his heart out for a full two hours. That concert still ranks as among the more memorable ones that I attended. Thanks to YouTube I found a clip of David Bowie performing a cover of the Velvet Underground song “White Light/White Heat” at another venue during that same tour. (I remember he played that song during the encore.)

Sure there are other acts that use fancy props in their live shows but the thing that sets David Bowie apart from these other acts was the music. He left behind such a rich music catalogue that I would literally have a hard time naming just one favorite Bowie song. Hell, I would have a hard time whittling my personal list to just ten songs.

I’ve been scouring YouTube and I found a lot of gems. Here is David Bowie performing the song “Station to Station” in concert that was featured in the German film Christiane F.

Here is one of his first major hits, “Space Oddity,” which many people tend to mistakenly call it “Ground Control to Major Tom.”

Here he is in the video for “Look Back in Anger.”

Here is “Let’s Dance.”

Here is “Rebel Rebel.”

Here is “Heroes.”

David Bowie was also just as famous for his collaborations with other people. Here is the song that he co-wrote with John Lennon, “Fame.”

In 1985 David Bowie and Mick Jagger teamed up to record a cover of “Dancing in the Streets” where the proceeds from sales of the single went towards organizations who were trying to help the Ethiopians deal with the famine that was ravaging their country at the time.

Then there was the song that he did with Queen, “Under Pressure.”

At one point David Bowie formed a band called Tin Machine with two sons of comedian Soupy Sales. Here is one of that band’s songs, “Heaven’s in Here.”

Even though Christmas ended five days ago, it’s still recent enough for me to mention this. David Bowie once appeared as a guest on one of Bing Crosby’s annual Christmas specials where the two of them did a duet on this medley featuring “Little Drummer Boy” and “Peace on Earth.” Surprisingly the results were totally sublime to listen to.

If only I had more time, I could easily scour the Internet for at least several more David Bowie videos to embed in this post. The songs I mentioned here only scratch the surface of a very large and rich music catalogue that I would highly recommend taking the time to check out.

UPDATE (January 14, 2016): Just a couple of days after I wrote that post, I devoted a Throwback Thursday post to David Bowie, which was spurned by the fact that I found a pin that I purchased at the one Bowie concert that I saw when I was in college and I found a playlist consisting of performances from that same concert tour where I saw the Thin White Duke.

Advertisements