David Bowie, without question, was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.
As a songwriter, he habitually stretched himself to depths beyond anything that was being tried by his contemporaries—sometimes with great commercial success, and sometimes without.
Today, even the material that was panned initially by critics, is seen in a different light. The genius of the less accessible albums may have been misunderstood at times, but it will never be ignored. Some might say there were times when the audience just had to catch up.
David Bowie died suddenly two days after his 69th birthday—which was also the day of his final album release “Blackstar.” The album, according to those close to him, was created specifically as his swan song—his final artistic gift to the world. Always the consummate artist, he left the Earth as dramatically as he had inhabited it.
January 8, 2020, would have been his 73rd birthday. Let’s take a moment to celebrate the thoughts, words, and musings of one of the most talented and enigmatic performers of this age.
Here are 12 of my favorite Bowie quotes:
“Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”
“Once you lose that sense of wonder at being alive, you’re pretty much on the way out.”
“All art really does is keep you focused on questions of humanity, and it really is about how do we get on with our maker.”
“Nobody reads anymore, nobody goes out and looks and explores the society and culture they were brought up in.”
“I’m terribly intuitive—I always thought I was intellectual about what I do, but I’ve come to the realization that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing half the time.”
“There, in the chords and melodies, is everything I want to say. The words just jolly it along. It’s always been my way of expressing what for me is inexpressible by any other means.”
“I really like to understand the society that I’m living in and how it works and functions and what people are thinking. You know. You can’t be a writer in any other way, I think. You have to sort of know where you are to write.”
“On the other hand, what I like my music to do to me is awaken the ghosts inside of me. Not the demons, you understand, but the ghosts.”
“Talking about art is like dancing about architecture.”
“Music has given me over 40 years of extraordinary experiences. I can’t say that life’s pains or more tragic episodes have been diminished because of it, but it has allowed me so many moments of companionship when I have been lonely and sublime means of communications when I have wanted to touch people. It has been my doorway of perception and the house that I live in.”
“For me, often, there’s such a cloud of melancholia about knowing I’m going to have to leave my daughter on her own. I don’t know what age that is going to be, thank God. It just doubles me up in grief.”
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”