Superstar David Bowie dies at 69

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Superstar David Bowie dies at 69

Jimmy Ray Stagg and Colette Lipman

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On Sunday, Jan. 10, just two days after his 69th birthday and the release of his latest album “Blackstar,” David Bowie, born David Robert Jones, passed away following an 18-month battle with liver cancer. Bowie was an iconic musician, artist, performer and writer.

Bowie was known for his radical and progressive rock music and his flamboyant characters, such as Ziggy Stardust and the Goblin King from the epic fantasy film “Labyrinth.”

In his lifetime, Bowie released 26 albums, starred in 22 movies, sold an estimated 140 million records and won countless awards.

Some Staples students have positive memories associated with Bowie’s music, recollecting on how the artist impacted their lives.

Nicolas Amato ’16, for example, still remembers his first exposure to Bowie’s music. “I first heard ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust’ lying on the carpet in a friend’s tiny London flat,” Amato said. “I will always associate his music with that time and place.”

Adam Riegler ’16, a fan of Bowie’s, believes that Bowie’s songs are universal. “His music is so incredibly versatile that it makes a great soundtrack for life,” Riegler said. “Anytime when I feel stressed or need to take a break, I can put on his music, sing along and relax.”

Since the release of Bowie’s new album “Blackstar” was so close to his death, fans have questioned whether the two were related. Certain lyrics from the album also seem to show Bowie’s awareness of his time winding down. For example, one of the more popular songs on the album, “Lazarus,” is a narrative of a man who seems to be aware of his death, with lyrics like, “Look up here, I’m in heaven.”

According to the Guardian, this could have been Bowie’s way of literally “singing it to his fans from beyond the grave.”

Many are calling the album, as well as the off-Broadway show “Lazarus,” his swan-songs. For the musical, he wrote the music and co-wrote the script, a sequel to Bowie’s most touted film role in “The Man Who Fell To Earth.” It’s currently ending its world-premiere run at the New York Theatre Workshop.

In reference to Bowie’s legacy, Riegler also mentioned how the artist will be remembered as “huge, wacky and lasting,” adding, “I don’t think his music will ever fade, and I hope his messages of individuality and creativity remain, as well.”

As well as being known for his music and art, Bowie served as a role model for those who didn’t necessarily fit in. According to CNN, Bowie came out to Playboy magazine in the 1970s as bisexual, later telling Rolling Stone that he had always felt he was a “closet heterosexual.” Bowie’s extreme confidence in expressing his sexuality, style and constant change in music influenced his strong fan base to express their individuality.

 

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