Just Jot It January: Day eleven – Ashes and Heroes…

11 Jan

image I almost wish I didn’t have anything to write about today for Just Jot It January.
You know me, I’ll waffle on quite happily about any old rubbish, don’t get me wrong, but this challenge forces me to try and come up with an original or topical subject every day and today has brought me one that I really don’t want to have to write about.

Or rather, I’ve got to write about it for a reason I wish I didn’t have.

The Cracked Actor, The Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Major Tom; all names synonymous with originality and eclectic musical genius, all of whom would be worthy of the plaudits and tributes of their peers, even if they had only made individual contributions to our understanding of what makes popular music such an unquantifiable medium to express artistic individuality.

Except of course, we know that these flamboyant and larger than life characters were all facets of the same unique and groundbreaking artist, the one of a kind cultural chameleon who was David Bowie.


I quite literally didn’t believe it this morning, when the very first story on my Facebook newsfeed informed me that possibly the greatest musical hero of my generation was no longer with us.

It’s difficult to imagine a British musical landscape without the genre-defying presence of a man who saw no incongruity in a career that embraced musical forms that included glam, pop, rock, new wave, dance and blue eyed soul, as well as an indefinable style that can only be described as Bowie-esque.
His influence and inspiration are so ingrained in our musical heritage, so far reaching and ubiquitous, that the idea of him no longer surprising us with another unpredictable reinvention is almost unthinkable.

If Mick Jagger had announced that the Rolling Stones were going to release a trip hop concept album, I suspect (no, I hope) that he would have been roundly mocked and told that he should leave that sort of thing to the youngsters.
And yet, when Bowie brought out a Drum and Bass record at the age of fifty, nobody batted an eyelid, because he’s David Bowie and that’s exactly the sort of thing we had grown to expect from him.

I mean, if one artist can produce a bombastic rock masterpiece and an ultra-slick soul classic in two consecutive years, then, musically speaking, all bets are off.
Which is precisely what made it so difficult for an industry obsessed with pigeonholing, to pin down a man whose hunger for change and personal discovery put him outside the normal definition of a pop star.
Because that is exactly why we loved him; we just didn’t know what he was going to do next.

The man who started his career as plain old Davy Jones achieved something that few, if any, musicians have managed before or since; to become an accessible and populist teen idle, an enigmatic underground cult figure, a genuine, stadium-filling Rock God, a movie star, a consistently original and influential visual artist and an almost universally loved national treasure and the true wonder of his astonishing legacy is that none of this seemed in the least bit contradictory or contrived.

I can’t remember a time in my life that hasn’t been soundtracked by David Bowie’s music.
Whether it was hearing the quirky psychedelia of The Laughing Gnome on Radio One’s Junior Choice as a kid, seeing the extraordinary video for Ashes To Ashes for the first time, or the shiver of emotion that came from hearing him tell the crowd that “You are the real heroes of this concert” at Live Aid, Bowie has always been at the forefront of innovation and he personifies what makes pop music such a fascinating art form.

I was initially shocked at how much emotion was stirred up by today’s sad news, but I suppose that, given the fact that here was a man who provided the soundtrack to my entire life, I shouldn’t be surprised that writing this post has caused a certain dampness around the eyes and a little difficulty in swallowing the lump in my throat.

I leave you with two milestones in a career that has spanned half a century of musical transformations; first the story of probably his most memorable creation, Ziggy Stardust, followed by his most recent release, Blackstar.

Goodbye and thank you Major Tom, it’s now time to leave the capsule if you dare.


David Robert Jones: 08/01/47 – 10/01/16.


Pingback to Linda G Hill.


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24 responses to “Just Jot It January: Day eleven – Ashes and Heroes…

  1. Deb

    January 11, 2016 at 13:52

    This is a beautiful piece. I learnt a lot more about him from this than I did from wiki…maybe it is because there was an emotional connection here. It seems right to say-Sorry for your loss, and the loss for the world.

    • dalecooper57

      January 11, 2016 at 14:47

      Thank you, it means a lot to me that you feel that way. A very sad loss to us all.

  2. Adam Pain

    January 11, 2016 at 14:50

    Spot on – and it’s so great to see the video embedded doesn’t just focus on the young Bowie. A force of nature who will be sadly missed.

    • dalecooper57

      January 11, 2016 at 15:08

      Thanks Adam, I’m still reeling, if I’m honest. Who’d have thought a pop star could become so much a part of our psyche?

  3. Adam Pain

    January 11, 2016 at 15:21

    How many artists can you say have genuinely released at least 3 very good, brave and progressive records in every decade since the 70s? They don’t come much more better, dude.

  4. anfinsenart

    January 11, 2016 at 15:55

    So glad I read your daily blog. I’m having my carpets cleaned today and so didn’t catch any news. Your blog was the first I’d heard. My older kids were such fans. I agree with Adam. He is one artist who adapted and kept adapting. Far different from say, Barry Manalow or Neil Diamond (tee hee).

    • dalecooper57

      January 11, 2016 at 15:59

      Thanks Carol. You’re right, I can’t think of anyone further from Bowie than those two. ;~}

  5. Dr. Rex

    January 11, 2016 at 16:40

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Wonderful tribute to David Bowie … I have to share!!

  6. dvaal

    January 11, 2016 at 17:02

    I loved him in the Labyrinth. His voice, his look -they were perfect. He was big when I was a teenager, but I was not a huge fan. I like his music, and he was super talented, but I liked the pretty guys, who sang the sweet love songs. Silly, I know!

  7. Yonni Wilson

    January 11, 2016 at 18:44

    Lovely piece, Dale – thanks.

  8. LindaGHill

    January 11, 2016 at 22:24

    His music was indeed the soundtrack to our lives. I admit to not listening to him much for the past couple of decades, but he was certainly part of my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. You know, the years when I was most easily influenced. I heard “Lazarus” on the radio today and I loved it, his death notwithstanding. …still so hard to believe he’s reinvented himself one last time, as an irreplaceable legend.
    Thank you for your tribute, my dear.

    • dalecooper57

      January 11, 2016 at 23:11

      Thanks Linda, it’s amazing to see the public tributes on tv tonight. He was a very much loved and respected man, he’ll be sorely missed.

  9. Lori Carlson

    January 12, 2016 at 04:20

    Such a beautiful tribute! When I heard the news this morning, I cried. He was such a musical force, so diverse and so loved. I will miss him. Thanks for some lasting moments to reflect on and two great vids.

    • dalecooper57

      January 12, 2016 at 07:47

      Very, very sad, we’ve lost a great man.

      • Lori Carlson

        January 12, 2016 at 23:48

        Indeed we have. It hurts nearly as much as the day we lost John Lennon. Very few artists affect me this way. Bowie was definitely one of them.

      • dalecooper57

        January 13, 2016 at 08:08

        Not even when Lennon died was there anywhere near this level of national mourning, I think Bowie had a far more universal appeal.

      • Lori Carlson

        January 14, 2016 at 08:28

        You may be right on that, Dale… It’s just sad any time we lose a musical icon.

  10. Madilyn

    January 12, 2016 at 06:50

    David Bowie, so uniquely talented and absolutely brilliant, gone much too soon! I was and still am just stunned and saddened by the news. Dale, your post is a wonderful tribute to this transcendent musical and cultural icon. Yes, “Goodbye and thank you Major Tom.” I hope his ashes are taken to the stars for that would be fitting!

    • dalecooper57

      January 12, 2016 at 07:49

      Thank you Lil, I’m glad you approve of the sentiments.

  11. Cardinal Guzman

    January 12, 2016 at 12:53

    Great musician and my first concert experience.
    Richard Guest and I had a Bowie conversation running a few years back.

    • dalecooper57

      January 12, 2016 at 12:59

      You’re a lucky man, I never got to see him live.

      • Cardinal Guzman

        January 12, 2016 at 13:02

        It was definitely a good way to start my “career” in concerts.

      • dalecooper57

        January 12, 2016 at 13:07

        I just bet it was.
        My own gig-going odyssey began with Saxon’s Denim and Leather tour. ;~}


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