A true Hero: Bowie’s stardust will remain forever

Well-known journalist, broadcaster and DJ Seamus Duke remembers the ‘brilliant’ and ‘totally original’ David Bowie…

As a music fan, David Bowie (who died last weekend) was always there, always present. Just when you thought that maybe he would fade into retirement like so many others did, he re-appeared with another album, another tour. Even if you did not like his music, one thing you could never accuse Bowie of being is predictable. He was totally original and his music and career was full of innovation from start to finish. He recorded 26 albums and while there were some of questionable quality in there, all were totally different.

  Bowie is certainly up there with The Beatles, The Stones, and all the major soul and rock performers in the history of modern music. From the time he burst on to the scene with Space Oddity to his final album that was released just last Friday (two days before he died) he mastered almost every genre of popular music culture from glam to electronic, from punk to soul and everything in between.

  He was obviously a very intelligent and well-read man and he was also an artist and an actor, although his one major film, The Man Who Fell To Earth was only a reasonable effort in my humble view.

  However, he wrote some brilliant songs that will never age. Classics like Rebel Rebel, The Man Who Sold The World, Ziggy Stardust, Space Oddity, Rock and Roll Suicide, China Girl, Let’s Dance, Modern Love and so many more. My own personal favourite is ‘Heroes’ and it was no surprise to learn that the song was chosen as the anthem to the London Olympics in 2012. His collaborations with so many artists from Bing Crosby to Mick Jagger and Queen showed the respect in which he was held among the very biggest artists.

  Many people who knew David Bowie personally have been having their say since the news of his death became known, but I was just an ordinary fan. In 1987 I saw him perform live at Slane Castle. Aslan and Big Country were the excellent support acts but Bowie put in a stunning show that day. He certainly surpassed any expectations that I had before going and it was one of the best live shows I have ever seen. He was a brilliant live performer as well as everything else.

  He was an innovator to the last and anyone who has seen the video for the song Lazarus taken from his latest album Blackstar that was only released last Friday shows that Bowie knew he was dying, and recorded a brilliant album so that people would remember him. He has succeeded.

  Bowie didn’t have to re-invent himself over the years, he was just a stylish, talented and totally original artist who always seemed to be one step ahead of the posse. We shall never see the likes of him again.

  David Bowie leaves behind a massive volume of work and when popular culture is reviewed in the history books in hundreds of years’ time the name of David Bowie will feature prominently for sure. I’m glad I was around to experience his rich talent and to see him perform.