Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 011316 Contents 01.13.2016 • 15
atmosphere provided by white noise.
Others paid attention. Composer Philip Glass
used “Low” and “ ‘Heroes’ “ as the subjects of
symphonies in the 1990s.
“David Bowie was a true innovator, a true
creative. May he rest in peace,” tweeted uber-
producer Pharrell Williams.
Despite the edginess, Bowie’s work still
resonated with the mainstream. “Heroes,” in
fact, later became a theme for many. The 2012
British Olympic team entered the stadium to
He even sang a Christmas song, “The Little
Drummer Boy,” with the most mainstream of
American crooners, Bing Crosby, on a 1977 TV
special. There were no theatrics, no frills, just
Bowie’s pure voice meshing with one of the
oldest of the Old Guard.
The ‘80s and beyond
The 1980s were a great time to be Bowie.
Starting with his collaboration with Queen
on “Under Pressure,” he brilliantly reinvented
himself to take full advantage of the video
The 1983 “Let’s Dance” album, produced
by Chic’s Nile Rodgers, became his most
commercially successful album, its sound
and his look influencing a new generation of
musicians. The videos for the album’s singles,
including the title cut and “China Girl,” were
ubiquitous on the music video channel MTV.
Bowie, by then pushing 40, was as
relevant as the era’s power chord-slamming
20-somethings or synthesizer-playing Euro
pop stars -- musicians for whom he’d paved the
Through it all, his Midas touch made classics
of other people’s songs. He produced Lou
Reed’s “Transformer,” with its hit “Walk on
the Wild Side,” and Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life,”
“David’s friendship was the light of my life.
I never met such a brilliant person. He was the
best there is,” Iggy Pop tweeted.
Bowie’s output thinned in the 1990s and the
2000s, but he was no less envelope-pushing.
He experimented with heavy metal, with
industrial rock, and with drum and bass.
Bowie’s theatricality wasn’t limited to
performing on stage. In 1976 he played the lead
in Nicholas Roeg’s film “The Man Who Fell to
Earth” as -- perhaps appropriately -- an alien.
Four years later, he portrayed Joseph Merrick,
who’d been deformed by a medical condition,
in Broadway’s “The Elephant Man.”
Bowie continued acting through most of
his life, often drawn to unusual characters.
He played a vampire in 1983’s “The Hunger,”
the Goblin King in 1986’s “Labyrinth,” Pontius
Pilate in 1988’s “The Last Temptation of Christ”
and Andy Warhol (about whom Bowie had
once written a song) in 1996’s “Basquiat.”
He wasn’t above a little comedy, however. He
had cameos in TV shows such as “SpongeBob
SquarePants” and “Extras” and played himself
in 2001’s “Zoolander.”
His androgynous look sometimes led to
questions of his sexuality that, like his music,
He told Playboy magazine in the 1970s that he
was bisexual. He told Rolling Stone in the 1980s
he had always been a “closet heterosexual.”
In 1992, Bowie married his second wife,
model Iman. They have a daughter, Alexandria,
Bowie had some health problems in the early
2000s, including an emergency angioplasty in
He also ceased touring after the “A Reality”
tour in 2003-04 and, until 2013’s “The Next
Day,” he hadn’t put out an album in 10 years.
But recent months had seen signs of a Bowie
re-emergence. Aside from “The Next Day,”
he co-wrote the current stage play “Lazarus,”
based on “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” and
recorded and released “Blackstar.”
As usual, he gave it his all.
“He’d just go from zero to 60 once we walked
out of the control room and into the studio,”
drummer Mark Guiliana told Rolling Stone
about the “Blackstar” sessions. “And his vocal
performances were always just stunning,
He was always busy, always on to the next
Twenty years ago, interviewed by Mick
Brown of the UK Telegraph, he coolly assessed
his past, but -- typically Bowie -- looked to the
At the time, he was reveling in the paintings
of Damien Hirst and had plans for another
project with producer Brian Eno. And there was
no sense in waiting, he said.
“I don’t like wasting time,” Bowie told the
Bowie is survived by two children, Duncan
and Alexandria, and his wife, Iman.
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