bowie favWhether you recognize him as the ethereal spaceman Ziggy Stardust, or the mischievous goblin king Jareth from the 1986 cult classic, “Labyrinth,” David Bowie defied cultural norms and established himself as one of the greatest performers of the past century. With two Grammys, an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and even a constellation named after him, Bowie’s legacy will live long past his recent death and his fame will permeate our memories forever.

On Jan. 10, “the stars looked very different” as the world lost a music, film, fashion and cultural icon in Bowie. Succumbing to an 18 month battle with liver cancer, Bowie never outwardly showed his pain and frustration, releasing the critically-praised “Blackstar” two days before his death and also on his 69th birthday. The world was took by shock as many expected a musical comeback by Bowie for 2016, but instead were subject to painful sorrow. Many celebrities took to Twitter and other social media to express their grief such as Lorde, Madonna, Brian Eno and Conan O’Brien. Even Arcade Fire and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band threw a parade to commemorate the legacy that shut down New Orleans.

With a career spanning back to 1962 at the age of 15, Bowie displayed an uncanny knack for music as a performance art; this fully took prominence in 1972 when Bowie adopted the persona of Ziggy Stardust as well as the release of the seminal album, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” From there on, Bowie had adopted various personas throughout his musical career to compliment album releases such as the Thin White Duke, Major Tom and Aladdin Sane.

His fashionable eclecticism has cemented Bowie not only as a rock deity, but a sexually-complex individual as well as a political staple against the themes of fascism of the post-Cold War era. Spiritually, Bowie transcended our modest world and aligned himself in the upper pantheons of divine simplicity, often blurring the lines between god and man amongst his fans. His whole life was a constant illuminating beacon of reinvention that worked to his favor and added fuel to the fiery passion that kept his fan base coming back for more each time he adopted a new persona.

I remember the first time I heard Bowie; I was around nine and was experimenting with music when I found “Rebel Rebel” on loop on my iPod. At the time, I never truly understood the mythology behind the voice, but his instrumental layering and vocal intensity was just so passionate that I simply could not pry myself away from that distorted progression and addicting chorus even today. From there, I immersed myself in exploring the mythos of Bowie and understanding the complexity of the sexual and political intensity behind his lyrics.

As I write this article, I still find difficulty in accepting the passing of my favorite glam rock icon almost three weeks ago. Though his earthly compass has faded away, his eternal spirit will forever live on with me and countless other fans who were blessed enough to be testament to each masterpiece he graced us with. As best summarized by “Ziggy Stardust,” “He played it left hand/But made it too far/Became the special man.”

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