I, like millions of other people, woke up this Monday morning to the terrible news that David Bowie had died at the age of 69. He’d been battling cancer, but in typical Bowiesque manner, had only just released his latest album, Backstar, to critical acclaim.
I was introduced to David Bowie by my older sister, and I remember the first time I heard his music in a record shop in Turku, Finland. Bowie had by then already released his sixth album, Aladdin Sane, and while my sister and I shared a set of headphones in a listening booth in 1974 (English rock music took about a year to reach Finland in those days), I looked at the strangest album cover I’d ever seen. Who was this man who dared to wear make-up? But the music, the music was nothing like I’d heard before. At the time, I was into Suzy Quatro, Slade and Paul Simon (I was still mourning the breakup between him and Art Garfunkel). And yes, I had a poster of David Cassidy on my wall even though I didn’t own any of his LP’s (but he was a very pretty boy).
Bowie changed the way I listened to music. He had the ability to stretch your appreciation and expectation of what rock music should be. And as my life changed, and I started at yet another school in Espoo, near Helsinki, so did David Bowie’s music. My sister and I took turns to buy his albums, I got Pin Ups, she Diamond Dogs. By the time I was doing my finals at Hanken school of economics in Helsinki, Bowie too seemed to have grown-up, singing ‘Let’s Dance’ wearing a sharp suit. That song always takes me back to one night at a particular disco in Helsinki with my good friends, celebrating the end of our studies. But then all of Bowie’s songs take me to a particular time in my life. Recently, when I took a completely different direction in my life, a Bowie song, again, best conveyed how I felt, so much so that I quoted his lyrics on a blog post and my final editorial.
Rest in peace David Bowie.
Want to read more posts like this? Sign up to my Newsletter here, or add my RSS feed to your reading list. If you want to check out my books, please click here (UK) or here (US). You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.