Perfect Sound Forever

DAVID BOWIE


All photos in his section are Bowie self-portraits

REMEMBERING ALL HIS PERSONAS
Intro by Jason Gross; articles by Kevin Cowl, James Paton & Mark S. Tucker
(February 2016)


Even weeks after the fact, it's hard to come up with a fitting tribute and goodbye to an artist who's been ingrained in our cultural landscape for decades and will stay there for even longer than that.

Even before David Bowie died a few weeks ago, I was recently listening to Devo's debut produced by one of his then-collaborators (Brian Eno) and heavily influenced by DB himself by their own admission and saw a reference to his cut-up lyrics method in the great UK cop-drama Luther and heard my girlfriend listen to Changesbowie on repeat for months as she did her proofing jobs and wrote up a 2014 documentary about an exhibit of his artifacts, David Bowie Is. That's not even mentioning living in New York as he did for years and seeing him during his supposed reclusive at shows (Roxy Music, Arcade Fire) or having a friend running into him on the street in the Village or another friend running into him at a restaurant or him adding backing vocals for Brooklynites TV on the Radio, all within the last ten years or so. Even when he was out of the public spotlight, he was still somehow ubiquitous.

So maybe it's not surprising for a guy who arguably owned the Me-Decade (not just his own albums but also how he revitalized Mott, Lou & Iggy) and its aftermath that he'd get toasted by the German government (see below) and an astronaut (also see below) for his cultural impact- for more proof, note the list of celebs who honored him, included not just the people who influenced him and later vice versa (Jagger, McCartney) but also later-day titans that he boosted (Springsteen) and his famous progeny (Madonna, Peter Gabriel, Kanye West who called him 'one of my most important inspirations').

Known as he was as the ultimate chameleon, others had done this act cannily before him (his hero Dylan) and after him (Madonna) but no one yet really crafted a group of notable personas as brilliantly as he did (at least off-screen though he was definitely on screen too, with some brilliant, ground-breaking videos). And though he experimented and took plenty of chances as a pop star, he understood that his work was more than his music, as he revealed in this 1998 interview with Charlie Rose:

"I actually find that the idea of having to say that I'm a musician is an embarrassment to me because I don't really believe that. I've always thought that I use music for my way of expression."
And right there, better than any other writer who covered him, Bowie himself encapsulated what made him so unique, strange and yet universal. And he was right too- his fashion, his image, his personas were all as important or maybe more important and influential than his music, even though at the end, he brushed away the idea of a funeral because he wanted to be remembered for the music instead.

In doing our part to honor him, we present a trio of new articles below, two previous articles we ran on his work and assorted stories across the web that did a fine job of paying tribute to him also.

And in the end, Bowie will get his wish- we'll be remembering his music for a long time, plus all of the amazing auras that he created around it.

Kevin Cowl- Moments Captured

James Paton- Bowie's Many Changes

Mark S. Tucker- Praising Not Burying Bowie


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Helen Green's incredible "Time May Change Me" illustration




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