Occasionally the news of someone passing away is so significant that you will forever remember that moment. As the flood of tributes rolled in on Monday morning, it was clear to see that the loss of David Bowie was being felt on a very real and deep level by people, on a mass scale, from all walks of life. His influence and contribution was both important and formidable, crossing gender, genre and generations. He was undeniably one of the greatest icons and seminal artists of all time.
I don’t remember a time when David Bowie wasn’t in my life in some capacity. I must say it makes me laugh to think that my first encounter with him was as the baby throwing, tight wearing actor in The Labyrinth. It was a film that I watched repeatedly as a kid, not least for the song ‘Magic Dance‘. I was too young to understand who he was, I was just mesmerised by both him and the music, which was something that never changed.
He was directly responsible for the moment that determined the direction of my life. At 11 years old, I watched him sing ‘Under Pressure‘ with Annie Lennox at Wembley Stadium for the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert. I was captivated and obsessively watched it over and over, wishing I could have been there to see it in person. That is until I realised I didn’t just want to be there, I wanted to be on the stage. He made me want to be a rock star.
As soon as I could play chords on the guitar, I was figuring out how to play his songs. I remember many a night with my friend Bioux, sat strumming along to his Changes album and watching a worn out VHS of a Spiders From Mars gig, struggling to pause and rewind trying to work out Mick Ronson’s solos, something we never did manage to do. His music evolved continually and was a constant source of inspiration and awe. Whilst I didn’t manage to crack the rock star nut quite the way he did, the pursuit of that dream is one that has brought me some of the best times of my life, and defines the person I am today.
I can honestly say that I can’t think of another artist like him, or that one will ever be again. A visionary, legend, ambassador and genius, the world is a far better place as a result of his existence. Thank you for your contribution, David. You are a true Hero. We will make sure your legacy lives on.
Here’s a Top 10 of songs I’ve butchered on the guitar, danced to, DJ’d and loved over the years…
1. Magic Dance
2. Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide
4. Under Pressure (Queen ft Bowie)
5. Let’s Dance
6. Rebel Rebel
8. Oh! You Pretty Things
9. Vicious – Lou Reed (Produced by David Bowie & Mick Ronson)
10. Life On Mars
Stuart Bevan is an entertainment curator, music stylist and founder of Sauce DJs – a match making agency, based in London, that sources and curates DJs for première events.
Words: Stuart Bevan