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David Bowie: Sound and Vision

"And I'm floating in a most peculiar way And the stars look very different today" I am floating in a daze of disbelief after hearing the news that David Bowie, not only one of my favorite musicians, but an absolute artistic visionary and role model has died. Bowie truly had Sound and Vision! I discovered Bowie through pop radio as an adolescent with “Under Pressure,” his collaboration with Queen, and his hits from the “Let’s Dance” album like “China Girl,” “Modern Love,” and of course, “Let’s Dance.” A few years later, I bought a used copy of Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” album. That album, released in 1972, mesmerized me, and is an absolute masterpiece from start to finish. After that I sought out every Bowie album from the 70’s and I especially loved “Hunky Dory” and “Aladdin Sane,” which bookended "Ziggy Stardust," with all three featuring guitarist Mick Ronson. During this same era, Bowie also revived the career of Iggy Pop and the Stooges by getting Iggy a record deal and producing the “Raw Power” album. Bowie also produced Lou Reed’s “Transformer” album, which featured Mick Ronson as well. Bowie has too many great songs, collaborations, and creative mutations to go into while I’m trying to catch my breath from the news of his death, but his work with Brian Eno while living in Berlin resulted in the albums “Low,” “Heroes,” and “Lodger,” all of which have great songs and sonic textures. While in Berlin, Bowie also collaborated with Iggy Pop on my two favorites of his non-Stooges albums, “The Idiot,” and “Lust For Life.” Every time I’m in a creative rut, I think…"what would David Bowie do?”… and I know the answer is always that he’d be fearless and keep moving. The guy wrote one of his great songs, “Sound and Vision,” about creative block!!!! I named one of my London art shows with the marriage of art and music as the theme, “Sound & Vision,” inspired by Bowie’s song, and command of both mediums. Z-Trip did an amazing mix to go with the show; you can listen to it here. I have so much that David Bowie’s creations have made me feel and think, that it is hard for me to focus right now. I’ll end with a quick story about Bowie’s impact in my home. Two years ago we took in a scruffy Chihuahua Terrier mix found at a gas station in Compton. Our two daughters Vivienne and Madeline, who were 8 and 6 at the time, suggested we name him Bowie, “because everyone in the family LOVES David Bowie!” I felt proud in that moment, and our scruffy Bowie is strong evidence of David Bowie’s appeal, and one of my small successes as a father, turning my kids on to a great artist. Thank you for the tremendous creations and inspirations David Bowie, you've had many faces, but you are one of a kind! -Shepard unnamed-1 David Bowie Retired Stencil, 2007
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