Friday, January 15, 2016

In Memory of David Bowie: A Handful of Personal Tributes to a Legend


Like most of you, I was truly sad to learn that David Bowie had died. (I learned it right after the Golden Globes on Sunday night, at HBO's afterparty, where the DJ eventually started playing Bowie hits back-to-back). My Twitter and Facebook feeds have been flooded with personal memories from people of what Bowie and his genius meant to them. Here are a bunch:

Phil Gallo:

My Bowie fandom started with Ziggy Stardust and I stuck with him as he changed from one persona to another, his Berlin period being my favorite phase. Through it all though, I always thought he was most unapproachable, a perfect example of don't meet your heroes. That changed in March 1998. Betsy and I were in London at a Maggie Smith play, sitting the front of the mezzanine. At intermission, I got up to get some water, but the aisles and concession stand were so jammed I went downstairs and got a bottle of water.

As I stopped to open it, standing 12 feet from me lighting up a cigarette was David Bowie. I thought, if nobody else is going to bother him, I will. Fortunately I had an in – within the last month of so I had seen him perform at the Hollywood Athletic Club and could talk about the gig. Bowie could not have been more receptive. We talked about theater, music, art, London and Paris – he gave me recommendations for plays, bands, galleries and restaurants – and we didn’t stop chatting until they started ushering everyone back to their seats. He could not have been nicer or more gracious and as I have told this story over the years, everyone who has ever met him had similar impressions.

When I back to our seats, Betsy greeted me with “you're not going to believe what happened while you were gone.” I laughed and said the same thing to her.

RIP David Bowie. You made a huge difference.

Doug Herzog:

Young Americans. "Ain't there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?" One of my all time favorite songs. I'm not sure there's any one track more representative of the 70's than this. From the David Sanborn sax, to Luther Vandross's soulful back up. Effortlessly funky, not exactly rock, not exactly RnB, and hints at Disco. It references Nixon, Soul Train, Barbi, Afro-Sheen, Pimps, Hustler's and Caddies. And as any 70's radio DJ will tell you, features possibly one of the greatest intros ever.

Alex Romanelli:

David Bowie's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today became the impromptu place for LA fans to pay public tribute. My favorite was the milk and peppers. The fly in the milk is sorely missed. Mood was somber, I'd have preferred the joyful celebration in Brixton but it was good to go somewhere and do something to pay one's respects. After I went to Amoeba and was surprised to learn "Blackstar" had sold out - on Saturday.

Joe Flint:

My David Bowie-inspired memory. I'm nine or ten and I ask my brother what does "wham bam thank you ma'am" mean. He does not tell but does tell me, don't ask mom that.

Melanie McFarland:

David Bowie was, in a real sense, my first true love. "Let's Dance" was my first record when I was a kid, and that introduction to Bowie inspired me to go back and listen to his older classics. He had a singular sound that was ever-evolving, and a clear, unshakable love of art, creativity and beauty that could not be denied. (I also had pictures of him and Iman, one of my favorite models, on my bedroom wall before they got together and married!)

Hearing about his death has left me numb. I always said that when he left us I would take a day to grieve; alas, being on the road for work, I cannot. But I am consoled and inspired by knowing that he left behind an incredible body of work that we can always turn to in good times and bad.

Rest in peace and thanks for reminding little girls and boys everywhere that we can all be Heroes.

Kim Cooper:

Bored in junior high and having just seen David Bowie in "The Man Who Fell To Earth," I told a few kids that I'd come to their planet to find water because mine was dying. Somehow, over a few days gossip, this was interpreted as planet Earth was on the verge of destruction, and it was my fault. Mass terror swept the campus, and next thing I knew I was hiding with a classmate in a freestanding bathroom in the middle of the school playing fields as a riot swirled, comprised of kids who apparently wanted to kill me to save the world.

Rescued by teachers, crowd dispersed, I was marched to the principal's office and suspended for several days. I didn't really understand why--because I said I was from another planet?--but a few days out of school was a treat, not a punishment.

This happened in Hollywood, California, which is a hick town, whatever you may have heard. But I love it, and David Bowie, too. Thanks for showing me the power of storytelling, Starman. It's no game.

Jessica Ritz:

As a 14 year-old, I thankfully thought camping out overnight at the Roxy to see David Bowie with his new Tin Machine outfit was the COMPLETELY reasonable, obvious thing to do. (41 year-old me thinks it sounds insane.) Bowie in his double-breasted suit had the crowd in the palm of his hand, the Sales brothers rocked the rhythm section, and even if this wasn't among the more heralded chapters in his career, it's the rare few who create so darn many stellar ones.

Lynda Dorf:

I am so sad to hear of David Bowie's passing. Hours of listening to Ziggy Stardust with the Norris Brothers and Mark Messore in the late 70's and Andie Bodie too!

My Grandfather managed David Bowie's fan club and when he died at 69, he sent our Grandmother Julie one of the most beautiful notes of condolence. He was a master, a true artist in so many ways outside of music. Influenced the art I love, some crazy fashion moments in late high school and the poetry I read and loved as well.

His rendition of Little Drummer Boy with Bing Crosby will forever, like Michele Husak, be my all time favorite Christmas song.

Our son Max Dorf got to learn his music intimately through ‪#‎schoolofrock‬ playing Space Oddity, Changes, John I am Only Dancing, Heroes, Let's Dance, Rebel Rebel and I'm Afraid of Americans.

RIP. You were a true star and I wish, as he did for our family, that my family, especially my Aunt could return the kindness of the words he shared with ours. A seminal artist gone way too soon. Have not felt this sense of cultural or musical loss since Jerry Garcia's passing in 1995.

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