David Bowie (1947 – 2016)

Ollie Smith 12 January 2016

David Bowie passed away peacefully on the morning of January 11, 2016, after an 18-month battle with cancer. His illness was kept completely secret from all but his closest friends and family. We know now that Blackstar was his deliberate parting gift to us, the latest in a line of extraordinary and inspiring works of art that have changed the world of music forever. From the sublime art rock of Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars to the soul of Station to Station and the avant-garde electronics of his so-called ‘Berlin trilogy’, Bowie defied the conventions of genres as readily as he redefined them. He taught the kids of the ‘70s and beyond that their weirdness was something to celebrate and their personalities something to be proud of, whomever they chose to be; this is why to many his death will feel like a deeply personal loss. He will be forever accessible to new listeners: the passage of years has not dimmed the ideas contained in his records, which resonate as strongly today as they did at the time of their releases. For breaking boundaries that we never even knew existed, for conducting himself always with grace and charm and no small sense of mystery, and for providing enough wonderful music to soundtrack many, many lifetimes, we will be forever grateful. Bowie once famously sang, “there’s a starman waiting in the sky / he’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our minds”. It is to our immense privilege that he came down and did just that.