I was introduced to David Bowie through my mother who used to play his albums, first vinyl then CDs, while she cleaned the house. She was a huge Bowie fan and he was her first real concert; she saw him as a teen when his Diamond Dogs tour stopped by what was then called the O’Keefe Centre. When I was a little kid, Bowie scared me. His music was OK though as a child, I preferred the more electronic sounds of New Order, Pet Shop Boys and Frankie Goes to Hollywood (my mother was more into Bowie’s ’70s albums). But those albums covers, they kind of freaked me out. And then I saw Labyrinth. Yep, Bowie was a scary dude.
When I was 13, I discovered what is now my favourite band, Nine Inch Nails. David Bowie is a huge influence on Trent Reznor (what I would give to have attended the tour they did together) and through NIN I educated myself on Bowie and discovered how talented and how important he was. I quickly learned that without Bowie, many of the groups that I loved simply wouldn’t exist. After that, Bowie went from being scary to being a musical hero.
Like many people my age (yes, millennials), one of my greatest musical regrets is never seeing Bowie live. He last toured in 2004, when I was a poor university student. I remember that I considered buying a ticket but decided that I just couldn’t afford it then and that I’d catch Bowie on his next tour. That was a mistake.
But while I never saw Bowie live, I do have a bit of a connection to him: I once worked for him. OK, it was indirect and minimal but still, it happened. For many years I worked creating websites, social media accounts and online content for bands. Over a year before the release of his 2013 album The Next Day, my employer got a new client: David Bowie. We were thrilled to be working for such an icon even though we were told that there was no plans for Bowie to tour again, or even release new music.
Our focus was to create a legacy-oriented site that somehow captured Bowie’s history and influence. While our designer created something that was stunning, Bowie’s camp ultimately decided to keep his existing site (I don’t believe Bowie ever saw the proposed redesign). It was disappointing, especially so when The Next Day was released a few months later. But hey, at least it was a Bowie connection. And the experience caused me to rediscover so many great songs.
What Bowie song is best is a very debatable topic and one I don’t have an answer for. But I do know which one is my favourite: “Golden Years.” Here it is, one more time.