Hi Everyone! Welcome to the first official blog post on From Ray to Z! So excited to bring you todays topic as this musical legend is special to me. Let’s dive in!
David Robert Jones was his real name. Born in Brixton, South London on January 8th, 1947. A very average start to an amazing life. Many people can recount the first time they were introduced to David and in fact which version. Ziggy Stardust being his most known persona and for most people the version of him they first met. Let me list off some others; Halloween Jack, Thin White Duke, Major Tom, Arnold Corns, Aladdin Sane, Elephant Man and (PLEASE LET’S NOT FORGET) The Goblin King. I could on with that list because of how many sounds he took on in his lifetime. Each came with a new David. Therefore David (every version) will more than likely be my favorite artist till I die. Ziggy Stardust although I praise him isn’t my favorite persona of David’s. I will tell you at the very end so keep reading!
How was I introduced to David you may ask? Well here’s the story. I first saw David Bowie in Zoolander … but was first captivated by him watching the film Labyrinth in high school. The movie stretched over a few days as we only had forty minutes to a period. For those few days, I was too excited to get to class and I can honestly tell you I have no idea why we watched it. Can’t remember the lesson or what it pertained to at all. Nonetheless I was introduced and was well on board the hype train to Bowie city. Spending hours at a time listening to all types of his albums and enjoying every second. Part of the reason I was so taken by David was that he seemed to escape life with his lively and colorful personas. At the time I recently suffered a loss of a loved one, his music helped me escape/cope. I mean who could resist “Chilly Down”, “Magic Dance” and my favorite from the movie “Underground.” Plus, all the unnecessary shots of him twirling crystal balls while wearing a padded crotch in a children’s movie that wasn’t all that kid friendly. Guess that’s how you make a cult favorite movie those days…
As far as albums go it can be very tricky to pick a favorite out of twenty-five studio albums, nine live albums, forty-six compilation albums, five EPs, one hundred and eight singles plus three soundtracks. If you really pressured me though it would more than likely be “Blackstar.” It was released January 8, 2016 marking David’s sixty-ninth birthday. Making it the twenty-fifth and final studio album for David. Known now but not at the time this album was kept secret from fans and recorded in secret at The Magic Shop and Human Worldwide Studios in New York City. The album topped charts in several countries and became David’s only album to top the Billboard 200 in the United States. The album was in the number one spot in the United Kingdom charts for three weeks. It also received six awards at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. It was very saddening after his death realizing this was his was his goodbye album. Confirming that was David’s long-time co-producer Tony Visconti describing it as his intended swan song and a “parting gift.” Admiration and respect are the only words that come to mind when I think of this album. David being as human as any of us captured his own life, rise to fame and death in his final album. I can’t even write on what I did yesterday but he did all that just for his fans. The darker tone and more vocal parts tell you exactly what state of mind David was in during the creation of the album. I don’t know but something just draws me to this album at least for one full listen once a month. Maybe it’s the fact that he was just simply saying goodbye like a normal person. Take the celebrity part away and David was like you and me. He was blessed with a wife and a lovely family. We forget in today’s world that celebrities are as human as we are. He captured that in this album better than the anyone could and that’s probably why it’s my favorite. But then again like I said before “I don’t know something just draws me to this album.” Don’t even get me started on his music video for “Lazarus.” I can’t begin to think of how you film a goodbye music video to fans of a career spanning over six decades. Moving and emotional are my thoughts on the video. God bless you David Bowie. (Here’s a link to “Lazarus”) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-JqH1M4Ya8
Now for my favorite song. He released his twenty-first studio album on the 4th of October 1999. ‘hours…’ was the first complete album by a major artist available to download over the internet, preceding the physical release two weeks later. On the ‘hours…’ soundtrack was a song called “Seven” which is my favorite song of his. A very simple acoustic tune brought to life by David’s raw vocal talent. Grasping the concept of having seven days to live life or seven ways to die. A very heavy topic, this song often drives me to do more daring things in life. Writing this blog is partially due to the song. It reminds you that life isn’t guaranteed at all, that it could be gone in an instant and you have the choice to live it or to live it out insignificantly. “My heart is never broken. My patience never tried. I got seven days to live my life. Or seven ways to die. Seven days to live my life. Or seven ways to die.” (Here’s a link to “Seven”) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIMNEakHbyo
This blog entry can never truly capture what David Bowie meant to many people or even myself. I’m essentially just bragging about his accomplishments and then told you some fun facts. This man was much more than accomplishments though. That is the point of this blog entry. David even without those awards or all these fun facts was still much more to many people. He was somebody going through life capturing the stages as he went on through his musical career. “I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human. I felt very puny as a human. I thought, ‘Fuck that. I want to be a superhuman.” -David Bowie
On to the final thing my favorite persona of David. Major Tom. I mean come on! A fictional astronaut created by David. What more could you ask for than; “Space Oddity”, “Ashes to Ashes” and every once in a while hearing a mention of the character in other songs. Many movies have songs from the albums that persona created to not love it. (Movie’s are another passion of mine) Plus I just love space and David Bowie so it just makes sense. None of us will ever forget the catchy tune that is “Space Oddity.” (Here’s a link to “Space Oddity”) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D67kmFzSh_o
Well that’s my first official blog entry for “From Ray to Z.” Hope you’ve had as much fun reading this as I had writing it. I wanted to capture something I love and am passionate about for the very first entry. Music happens to be a part of my daily routine so why not write about it. Going a step further my intentions are for you to get to know me over time. Many times that I have read a blog I have felt like I don’t know the writer. Getting to know me a bit more and what I am passionate about will help me be able to branch out eventually. At least that’s the goal. Do some basic blogs first then branch out and get a little wilder with the topics. Little steps create bigger opportunities. If you have any suggestions for future topics please feel free to leave comments below so I can see. Till next time.