I was once asked by a friend if I was a David Bowie fan. I only own one of his cd’s, and I bought that for only a few bucks. I probably couldn’t tell you that much about him. I don’t know very much about his personal life; I have never seen him in concert; I couldn’t even tell you the names of most of his albums. Yet, without hesitation, I answered yes.
I just have one word for you: Labyrinth. If you watch that movie, you will see David Bowie in all of his glory. How can you watch that movie without being a fan? Try talking to anyone who grew up in the 1980’s. Slip the phrase, “you remind me of the babe,” into conversation.
Unless they were raised in a cave, they will know what you are talking about. They will quite likely burst into song, asking you in return, “what babe?”. (If they don’t start singing and quoting the movie, it’s not because they don’t know what you’re talking about. In their heart they want to do the whole song and dance routine, they’re just embarrassed to do so in public.) The music in that movie is catchy and haunting. The costumes are beyond description. That movie helped shape my generation.
David Bowie is more than a musician. He is an icon, a legend, an image. He is a symbol. Who else could wear trousers that are essentially white tights and eye make-up bigger than Cleopatra’s? Who else could manage to make a kid’s film-a kid’s film with Muppet puppets, no less-a sexually-charged surreal adventure? Labyrinth is as much of a cult film as The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Rebel Without a Cause.
David Bowie is amazing. If you still have any doubts about him, find a copy of “The Little Drummer Boy” duet between David Bowie and Bing Crosby. It is a little known Christmas classic. We all know and love Bing at Christmas-time. Yet this duet is my favourite of his Christmas repertoire. Together they have a song that is both soaring and steady, plaintive and whimsical. It is guaranteed to make even Scrooge want to put up his tree.
Everyone has their own favourites by David Bowie. My recommendations for songs of his to listen to are:
“Under Pressure” (he collaborated with Queen on this classic)
“Life on Mars”
These songs are just a starting point. Get listening and discover your own Bowie faves.
(A word to the wise. In case you haven’t figured it out on your own, Ziggy Stardust is just one of David Bowie’s incarnations. Other stage names include Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, and The Dame.)