On Bowie

This morning definitely did not play out the way I pictured. My alarm went off at 5:30 as it usually does. A minute or two later, as I was still gathering the motivation to get up and make coffee, I got the “school’s closed, stay home” phone call. As I was climbing back into bed, my wife had her phone out and was checking Facebook.

“Oh my god, David Bowie died!”


Equally as surprising as his death was the fact that he had been battling cancer for 18 months. It’s an astounding feat that he was able to keep his health issues a secret in the age of social media. And, he released an album just three days ago. Only his very closest confidants could have seen this coming.

The tributes that have been coming across my feed today have been incredible. There’s no doubt that David Bowie was an amazing artist, somebody whose impact on music will be felt for many years to come. He was also a man who fought for social justice, as evidenced by this challenge to MTV.

On a personal level, I’m touched by his contributions to music education, a legacy that will continue after his death. I’ll also fondly remember the first time I ever heard “Space Oddity”, back in high school. The hauntingly beautiful vocals sucked me in right away. The melodic lines are gorgeous. The entire song is beautiful in its simplicity, it has a timeless quality. It’s been one of my favorite songs ever since that first listen. He took part in some other incredible recordings, but Space Oddity remains my favorite. Plus, how many other musicians could say that one of their songs was performed in outer space?

His art has touched millions. Friends my age all have their own stories of how they were first introduced to Bowie. Even a fair amount of my students know some of his work. Their parents definitely do as well.

The stars look very different today, indeed.


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