YESTERDAY marked six years since David Bowie left us. The visionary artist was one of the greatest in living memory, and each year that passes is another reminder that we sadly no longer inhabit the same world as the trail-blazing rockstar from south London. The question is, did we ever?
This time of year is never easy for Bowie fans – what would have been his 75th birthday on Saturday is followed by the sixth anniversary of his death yesterday. But this period should also be a cause for celebration – an opportunity to rejoice in the wonderful art he bestowed on us mere mortals and wax lyrical about his profound impact on our lives.
Bowie’s legacy is one that will endure for centuries to come. Putting innovation at the heart of everything he did, the Starman singer-songwriter fused art and fashion with rock and electronic music, presenting it through a popular medium accessible to millions in a way only generational artists are capable of doing.
Contemporary music frequently takes inspiration from the rockstar’s idiosyncratic demeanour – think The Weeknd, Arctic Monkeys, Madonna, and perhaps his most obvious modern descendent, Lady Gaga, who once called Bowie her “alien prince,” saying “Every morning I wake up and think ‘What would Bowie do?’”
He was the master of reinvention, of shedding his skin and emerging in a thrilling new form each time. Over the course of his mercurial career, Bowie took on four separate alter-egos in Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, and The Blind Prophet. He released 26 studio albums, 21 live albums, and 46 compilation albums that pioneered glam rock, punk rock, progressive rock, experimental, and electronic music, and appeared in more than 30 films.
He was an artist in every sense of the word. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars and Aladdin Sane were glam rock classics and helped define his earlier career, while later work like Low and Heroes signalled one of the first examples of a popular rock/electronic crossover, influencing post-punk bands such as Joy Division and Radiohead.
Even in his final years, Bowie’s artistic nature proved impossible to quell as the 2016 release of Blackstar just days before his death became one of his most revered pieces of work. Taking inspiration from electronic group Boards of Canadas and using hip hop and jazz elements from Kendrick Lamar, Bowie’s legacy became all the more enduring through his perpetual acknowledgement of modern taste.
Bowie sold around 140 million records worldwide during his lifetime, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. But this is not a celebration of the vast sums of wealth he created. This is an ode to his long-lasting legacy within music, art, and society in general, epitomised by his widow Imam’s post on Instagram, with the caption reading: “January 8th Eternal Memories #Bowieforver”.
To celebrate the great man’s 75th birthday, Madame Tussauds London has released never-before-seen images of David Bowie taken during the creation of his first figure in 1983. The Baker Street attraction is sharing these images to announce the creation of a new figure of the musical icon in honour of his contribution to British music – to be unveiled in March 2022. They can be seen below:
You can also listen to David Bowie’s posthumous album Toy here: