All of the press coverage of the death of David Bowie got me to thinking about the era’s that he spanned in my life. While many may have only known his later works, I was at least around during all of his performing years and witness to the various transformations that he made as a performer.
Bowie was apparently classified originally as a folk and blues singer when he started in the mid-1960’s. He quickly morphed into what might be called an early version of fusion in the 1970’s during which he explored the combinations of a wide variety of emerging trends and sounds in his albums. That set the stage for the emergence of his Ziggy Stardust persona at the end of the 1970’s and into the 1980’s. Never one to stand pat with a character for too long, he then morphed through a number of new stage personas. There is a definitive web presentation of the 12 stages of Bowie’s stage life to be found at – http://flavorwire.com/377128/a-journey-through-the-12-ages-of-david-bowie/3
Some of Bowie’s most creative work occurred in the 1970’s as he explored the fusion of various music styles, some of which were just emerging at the time. Bowie himself was transitioning and maturing in his musical style. Near the end of that era he created the Ziggy Stardust persona and his career took off at a whole new level. Here are some of his works from the 1970’s – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/david-bowie-70s-album-tracks/
The 1980’s were commercially successful for Bowie but his work during that era is considered to be of vary uneven quality. A compilation album of his best work from the era was releast late in the 1980’s – http://www.allmusic.com/album/best-of-david-bowie-1980-1987-mw0000577331
Scott Parker did a good review of Bowie’s work during the 1990’s, an era when he tried to get back to his roots, with mixed success. Bowie was also an Internet pioneer and in 1998 launched Bowienet in an early attempt to reach out directly to his fans – a precursor to where the music industry ended up going. During this era Bowie took on the persona of the Thin White Duke and played in or collaborated with several bands. He also experimented with new sounds that presaged the alternative rock sound. Rolling stone has 20 of the songs of that era that, as they put it, only hardcore fans might know – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/20-insanely-great-david-bowie-songs-only-hardcore-fans-know-20140811/heathen-the-rays-20140811
There is a great deal of information about David Bowies life and performing career at the UK WikiPedia site – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bowie. It’s an interesting read and will probably give you a new appreciation for the longevity and influence that Bowie had in the music industry.
Before leaving Bowie had a long battle with cancer and had time to reflect on death and the afterlife, which are themes in his last album – Blackstar – which was released right before his death. The Lazarus track is considered to be his parting gift to his fans and to reflect how he was approaching his eminent death.
Whether you were a David Bowie fan or not, his influence was and will be felt on the music industry from some time to come. He was an innovator as well as a performer and led the way on several musical tends. He will be missed, but he will also be remembered.