When music legends die, we tend to find ourselves scurrying through our music libraries for some peace of nostalgia. On Sunday, January 10, 2016, the world lost one of its greatest pop influences, David Bowie, 69, after his eighteen-month long battle with cancer. Around the globe, fans have been flocking to revitalize the late style-chameleon by listening to the songs that made Bowie such a cultural icon.
According to Spotify, Bowie’s music has increased an astounding 2,700 percent on Monday. Expectedly, Bowie’s last album Blackstar has too seen soaring numbers, with sales in the U.K climbing up to 43,000 since its release on Friday. Blackstar continues to be the top-selling album on Apple’s iTunes in both the United States and the U.K.
From a man known to challenge gender roles, blueprinting Glam Rock and mesmerizing generations his lively fashion, we will always remember him for his untouchable song and lyrics. At RedHawk Radio, we have drawn a compilation of staff picks, including their favorite Bowie songs and why he was so incredibly special to them.
Alexis Moten - "Fame"
What had always drawn me into Bowie, was how coolly he was able to manifest different looks along with his music. When you think of Bowie, there are dozens of styles you could be thinking of and whichever one you choose, it’s still accurate to the character that he was. As much mysticism he had about him, I was always most intrigued with the man that he was. I am absolutely crazy about his angsty, funk phase in the mid-70’s that helped create his hit “Fame.”The song touches on how arrogance and greed tags along with fame, but it also is one of the few songs I feel Bowie is reflecting on a relatable human experience. Every time I hear that foot-stomping beat and guitar riff I am immediately charmed. Bowie is art. There is simply no other way to look at him.
Ryan Doyle - "Moonage Daydream"
“Moonage Daydream” is a song similar to others from Bowie, in that it inspires the mysticism of the stars that lie beyond our planet and pays ode to the sublime feeling that space plants within us. My favorite creative pieces have always focused around either science fiction or music, but Bowie brought the two together throughout his career and created masterpieces along the way. David Bowie was a far out kind of guy. In his music, style and other projects he consistently pushed creative boundaries and norms. It is songs like Moonage Daydream that inspire me to daydream, get weird and stay creative.
“David Bowie was a far out kind of guy.”
Dan Lennington - "China Girl"
Junior Marketing Director
David Bowie’s “China Girl” from the 1977 album Let’s Dance is one of my personal favorites. Its interesting lyrical depiction and musical composition make it one of Bowie’s best singles in my opinion. Using a musical blend that is both upbeat and mysterious, Bowie crafted a classic. Finishing with a fantastic guitar solo, “China Girl” is a work of art by a great artist indeed. I’d certainly name “China Girl” as my favorite by Bowie.
Cameron Lodge - "Absolute Beginners"
Junior Music Director
It feels like a bit of a cheap sendoff for a titan but here is my blurb. For an artist who spent so much of his career in a constant state of metamorphosis it’s practically inconceivable to think of David Bowie faded in any degree. Bowie donned so many different hats (sometimes wigs) and explored so many different genres that the one thing that we could expect from him was that whatever he released would be something novel. Bowie was someone who reinvented himself so many times it’s hard to imagine him as anything but immortal. One of my favorite songs of his was his 1986 single “Absolute Beginners”, a song written for the film of the same name. I chose this song specifically because it was written around 10 years after Bowie had completed his supposedly “biggest” works and yet it stands as testament that he was absolutely brilliant at practically every stage of his career. One of the things that struck me deepest about Bowie was that he could become something new at any moment and that, like him, our identities are always changing. So thank you Ziggy, Aladdin, Duke, King of Goblins, David.
Paul Vandebussche - "Under Pressure"
“Under Pressure” is my personal favorite Bowie track. First, this is one of the most iconic songs in rock history by far. Anyone in the world can recognize that signature bass line.This song involves David Bowie and another favorite band of mine, Queen. We have so much pressure to meet the status quo whether it’s to find love, be something or someone, or trying to find your place. I am no stranger to stress. I’m always trying to push myself and never lose myself in everyday life. Bowie was always about pushing the boundaries and being superhuman any way possible. He taught myself and millions that it’s not only okay to be different, but that it’s better to be extraordinary. “Under Pressure” is a driving song that ridicules modern society but also makes you feel that we’re all in this together. It’s give us humility. “This is our last dance.
This is ourselves.”
“He taught myself and millions that it’s not only okay to be different, but that it’s better to be extraordinary.”
Mahaley Evans - "Five Years"
When you know an artist’s music so well, or when they’ve been around for so long, they just become a part of life. And from those whose lives David Bowie has changed, we thank him. From the kids who waited months to buy his new record in the store or the kids who sat in front of the TV in anticipation for a new music video. From the kids who found their parent’s music collection and googled their first Bowie song, unaware of what they’d found. From the kids who found in Bowie what they couldn’t find in Green Day or Eminem or Taylor Swift, we thank him. Bowie shaped the musician’s image – how a singer can also be a performer, a god, and a legend. RIP Ziggy, the Goblin King, Aladdin Sane, The Man Who Fell to Earth (even though we didn’t deserve him), and Lazarus… I’d love if that last one were really true, and he’d come around next week and laugh in our faces that we actually believed he’d gone. But if that’s not the case, the legend of David Bowie will most definitely live on long after those whom he so deeply affected.
This is my favorite song for many reasons; I found it or it found me in a rough patch, and music is the one thing that’s been known to pull me through those patches. But I mainly like it nowadays because it seems to go on forever, and that’s exactly what I want from a Bowie song.
Cover image by Ron Frazier on Flickr.