|The Five Bowies, by Bret Herholz|
I've written a few pieces over the last few years regarding the deaths of people I admire, but this is the hardest and most emotional. Perhaps it's because it was so unexpected, but David Bowie's death has hit me harder than I thought possible. It's hard to say why I'm so upset by the death of someone I never met, nor had any connection to. I admired the man enormously, of course, as did so many. He was a truly remarkable talent, responsible for revolutionary music in his youth, maturing to dominate whichever genre he turned his hand to as the years went by, never out of the charts for long and critically acclaimed throughout. Even those directions which didn't quite work are to be celebrated for the endless experimentation that defined the singer-songwriter's career. And that's without touching upon his acting career, rare and occasional that it was. Endlessly reinventing himself, Bowie's persona changed with his music, his gender expression and sexuality fluctuating depending on the period of his life and, to be fair, who he was talking to at the time. There was undeniable mystery about the man, so much more to him than we'll ever know. This otherwordly individual both starred in the seminal The Man Who Fell to Earth and was responsible for "Life on Mars," a song that can genuinely and honestly be argued to be among the greatest ever written. Whether incarnated as Ziggy Stardust or the Thin White Duke, Bowie was a unique and incomparable artist.
The death of David Bowie truly marks the end of an era. The future can never live up to the past.