When he stopped out of the spotlight in 2008, there was speculation that there were health troubles. The release of Blackstar seemed at first like a comeback, but now obviously it was an adieu. Has any artist ever left the stage so gracefully, with such a parting gift to fans?
Since 1983 or so, I've been compiling Bowie Top Tens in my head. (With Bowie, it really needs to be a Top 50, Top 100) But these are the songs that comforted me today.
10) Jean Genie Inspired by and written about Iggy Pop. In 2013, complicat & I went to the "David Bowie Is" exhibit in London. The exhibit wound through several halls and opened up in a 3 storey hall, with a huge screen showing concert footage. When "Jean Genie" came on, everyone in the hall, consciously or unconsciously and regardless of age, began to sway to the rhythm.
9) TVC 15 Such swagger!
8) Queen Bitch This one was a homage to Lou Reed. One of Bowie's nice qualities was helping friends when they were down and out, getting Iggy cleaned up multiple times and producing Lou to hit record status (and getting very little gratitude because Lou was a grump.)
7) Golden Years Bowie used his acting talent in his songs, never better than here when he pleads with his listener. "Doing all right but you gotta get smart." The plea in his voice.
6) Lady Grinning Soul A love song, possibly inspired by back up singer Claudia Lennear? Lush & beautiful.
5) Fashion Pure fun, pure style. Beep beep.
4) Life on Mars Piano bliss and impossible not to join in on "CAVEMAN!"
3) Fantastic Voyage Always find this one very moving. "Learning to live with somebody's depression...I don't want to live with somebody's depression."
2) Absolute Beginners His 80's canon tends to get disparaged in comparison to the 70's but this is a pure, unironic, beautiful love song.
1) Starman Other songs may rise & fall in my rotation but this is always #1 because of lying in bed one night in the late 80's and hearing the line "I had to phone someone so I picked on you" as though it was sung to me directly. Let the children boogie.
((My beloved DB tote bag)