David Bowie is no more. It seemed like he would live forever, alien creature that he was. But on January 10, 2016 he succumbed to cancer, just days after his birthday, and after an 18-month-long battle he had been able to keep secret from the media. The death of the glamorous superstar came as a shock and still has social media reeling. Many people are surprised by their strong reaction to the loss of what is in essence, a stranger. But many of us feel a huge emptiness he left behind.

 

david-bowie-youngPhoto Credit: Young Bowie via Miami Herald

 

last-photo-david-bowiePhoto Credit: Last photo of David Bowie, days before his death by Jimmy King, Daily Mail

 

Much has been written in the past few days, by musicologists, famous rock journalists and other brilliant minds. Here’s our own little goodbye to a beloved star, musician, and amazing human who has been influencing our culture for six decades in music, fashion, film, art and more. What we really want to say would fill volumes, so we will keep it simple. As to favorite photos, there are hundreds. But here we go:

 

david-bowie-recordsPhoto Credit: David Bowie album covers via Amazon 

 

Music

Oh, where do we start? Picking favorite Bowie tunes is positively blasphemy, since everyone has their own claims to what’s considered his best work. Listing anything and omitting other songs is sure to draw social media wrath. Here’s what we’ll do: we’ll say that he was a magician as a songwriter, both lyrically and musically. An artist who influenced endless bands and launched careers, emulated and idolized by generations. A trailblazing chameleon who reinvented music over and over again, from operatic to glam to completely far out alien. His artistic legacy is too vast to distill into a 10 best:

Ziggy Stardust
Space Oddity
Heroes
Life on Mars?
Changes
Rebel, Rebel
Golden Years
Ashes to Ashes
Sound and Vision
Warszawa

Persona

David Bowie kept reinventing his image in a way no other rock star has. He began as a gentle songwriter, but that’s not what catapulted him into the consciousness of generations. His three most famed, outrageous and influential personas were the ultra glam Ziggy Stardust, the iconic Aladdin Sane and sexily mysterious The Thin White Duke.

Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

An androgynous creature with flaming orange hair and outrageous, extravagant outfits challenging sexuality and what it means to look like a rock star.

 

ziggy-stardustPhoto Credit: Ziggy Stardust as glam androgyny, Classic Album Sundays

 

The Thin White Duke

During this period of drug abuse and living on peppers and milk, he looked like a decadent, perhaps dying, young British earl or ether-addicted poet, pale and fragile.

 

thin-white-dukePhoto Credit: The Thin White Duke era via Emily Strax

 

Aladdin Sane

This is the Bowie even non-Bowie fans are familiar with, his most lasting alter ego, thanks to the iconic lightening bold painted across his face – a ready made Halloween costume or T-shirt design.

 

david-bowie-aladdin-sanePhoto Credit: Bowie’s iconic lightening bolt Aladdin Sane alter ego via Popmatters

 

These characters are a merely the tip of the iceberg of Bowie’s complex interior and exterior life. 

 

Film

Girls everywhere, no matter whether they grew up in the 1980s or the 2000s, are mad for the movie Labyrinth – even if their ears would bleed if they listened to just one song from Bowie’s amazing Low record. His character as Goblin King is part of film history, with a bit of cult status. Then there’s the more indie Nicolas Roeg-directed The Man Who Fell to Earth, a cult classic for hipsters, art aficionados and cool kids everywhere. This meditative and trippy Scifi drama from 1976 is not easily consumed by the popcorn-gobbling audiences, but it’s an inspiring oeuvre that’s a must see for serious cinephiles.

 

labyrinth-david-bowiePhoto Credit: David Bowie in “The Labyrinth

 

the-man-who-fell-to-earth
Photo Credit: A scene from “The Man Who Fell to Earth”

 

The stars indeed look very different today, now that Bowie has ascended back into the star dust he came from. He’ll always be our favorite alien.

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