I was alone in my living room back in Essex when I first heard the news David Bowie had died. My Dad & Brother left early for work, so when I switched on the TV and saw the headline on BBC news, I felt cold.
My head was lead-heavy all day. I couldn’t concentrate properly at work, so I listened to Lauren Laverne’s special broadcast on BBC Radio 6 about the icon and tried not to cry. I thought about my Mum, who has loved him most of her life. As a teenager, she ran off to Milton Keynes with her friend to see him live, then got stranded and had to sleep at the train station. There’s not many people who are worth that kind of effort.
I’d only just got in to Bowie (even though friends had been recommending him to me for years) and I felt like my efforts to finally understand and love him had blossomed too soon. For months after the news, I’d get tearful when I got pissed up and heard ‘Let’s Dance’ playing out in a club or a bar. I felt silly for having such a strong reaction to the death of someone I’d never met, and who’s music I’d only been listening to for two years.
When someone like Bowie has such life-affirming appeal, it’s hard not to attach yourself to his ideas and his art. He has a song for every occasion, every emotion, every moment; even those gin-soaked few seconds in night clubs when you lose yourself and realise you still miss him.
Fortunately, his diverse and extensive discography means there’s always plenty of tracks to listen to, dance to, and be comforted by. Here are my favourites…
Lady Grinning Soul
The opening piano gives me goosebumps every time. I still pirouette around my room regularly to this. Aladdin Sane is probably my favourite Bowie album.
I’m Afraid Of Americans
An apt title and a belting chorus. The video shows Bowie being pursued by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, who helped him remix the track.
The red hair, the red trousers…got me (and my Mother) in a whirl.
Still makes me tremble like a flower.
I defy anyone to not feel better after listening to this. I played it after I handed in my final Open University assignment and felt infinite.
Life On Mars
Still hooked on this piece of cinematic, sweeping, blue-eyeshadow wearing glory.