The worst part of working in the entertainment industry is moments like this; the moments when your phone goes off at a quarter past two on Eastern Standard time, buzzing incessantly because, well, have you heard the news? We all want to get the story up, to be the first with a pithy memory or to remark on how iconic a creative is, how truly they shaped this world, how you can’t imagine a future generation not knowing their discography. That’s the dark side.
However, the bright side about writing about music, art, and culture is that we get to think, professionally, about the effect a talent has on the entire world. We get to consider their legacy, see the younger stars they influenced, write about the way they will be remembered. These are the gifts David Bowie, who passed away tonight at age 69 of a quiet, private battle with cancer, has given the world. Bowie had just released new music on his birthday (just—not even four days ago, making his song “Lazarus” particularly poignant in its title and meaning) , which was probably made during his struggle. In so many ways, that is such a fitting end to the legacy of one of the greatest musical talents to have ever lived: To face death on his own terms, leaving behind yet another musical odyssey for us to explore.
To end this, let’s read a tweet from David’s son Duncan Jones, and reflect on the lyrics to “Space Oddity.” (New York Times)
Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all. pic.twitter.com/Kh2fq3tf9m— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 11, 2016
Ground Control to Major TomGround Control to Major TomTake your protein pills and put your helmet onGround Control to Major TomCommencing countdown, engines onCheck ignition and may God’s love be with you[spoken]
Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, LiftoffThis is Ground Control to Major TomYou’ve really made the gradeAnd the papers want to know whose shirts you wearNow it’s time to leave the capsule if you dareThis is Major Tom to Ground ControlI’m stepping through the doorAnd I’m floating in a most peculiar wayAnd the stars look very different todayFor hereAm I sitting in a tin canFar above the worldPlanet Earth is blueAnd there’s nothing I can doThough I’m past one hundred thousand milesI’m feeling very stillAnd I think my spaceship knows which way to goTell my wife I love her very much she knowsGround Control to Major TomYour circuit’s dead,there’s something wrongCan you hear me, Major Tom?Can you hear me, Major Tom?Can you hear me, Major Tom?Can you....Here am I floating round my tin canFar above the MoonPlanet Earth is blueAnd there’s nothing I can do.