DADDY-O wrote:In the aftermath of his death, in the UK at least, you really did get the sense that the majority of music fans in general were grieving.
Oh, yeah. Here as well - and there's any number of reasons why he might have seemed so "present" at the time of his (not expected by me or you or anyone else who didn't know him) death. Songs in movies, television programs, new records after a decade of silence, the travelling art exhibit of "his stuff"...
Maybe also, there's just something to be said for allowing the work to exist in the ether for that long - things like "Life on Mars", "Starman", "Space Oddity", etc. were all between 40-45 years old when he passed. If anyone had taken him for granted over the years, we were probably now collectively at a point in history where we'd have killed
for music of that quality, character and depth (not to sound like a grandad, but we're talking about...in terms of popular music..."the period in between Adele albums"). It's almost as if his work had managed to self advocate increasingly over the years (it's happened on different scales - I seem to remember various points in history where some present day context occasioned a sort of collective appreciation of legacy artists like Neil Young or Ray Davies).
DADD-O wrote:I'm interested in the way Bowie managed to release several uncompromising records and still be regarded as an absolute giant of popular music. His very last LP was a fucker to sit through and yet sold millions.
The fact that he span the two plates skillfully and simultaneously throughout his career might be his greatest achievement. It reflects well on the listening public as well as on him - the fact that we're quite willing to be pulled leftwards into some dark areas. It's just that most artists don't bother to do that.
For sure - and I think that also adds to his cache. I certainly don't sit around listening to "Bowie's most difficult dozen" for pleasure, but...the very existence of that music undeniably gives him a perceived edge. He'd contributed so many "standards" to the canon that he could veer off into more obscure territory time and time again without anyone batting an eyelid. You think of, I don't know, Bon Jovi on one end and Scott Walker on the other - if we're looking for totems of - respectively - unbridled cynical careerism vs. pure eccentric cultish experimentation, and David Bowie always seemed to be consistently steering the car almost instinctively away from either of those margins. Some of the dafter things he did - Tin Machine, Earthling
, doing a "no hits" enormo-sheds tour following the then-at-their-most-massive Nine Inch Nails onstage - may now make a certain strategic sense as we retroactively discuss them in some larger context, but...the guy really had balls of steel.