Sunday, January 17, 2016

234.5 - RIP: David Bowie

RIP: David Bowie

We have an RIP this week. This is one you all know about, but I couldn't let it pass without mention.

The genre-defining, gender-bending, creative artist - which I think is a better description than "musician" - David Bowie died on January 10 after an 18-month battle with cancer. He was 69.

So much has been written and said about this, about him and his career, that I won't even try to cover the same territory. Instead I'll tell two stories about him I recall.

One, and surprisingly one not often mentioned in the articles I checked out, was his turn on Broadway as the lead in the play "The Elephant Man" in the fall of 1980.

David Bowie
I recall that when it was announced that he was doing it, it was derided by critics as just a publicity gimmick. But after they saw him on stage as he portrayed the so-called Elephant Man without prostheses or extensive make-up, using only contortions of body position and movement to suggest the deformities, the critics were "Sunuvagun, the guy can act!"

To which I could only respond "Anybody who's gone through as many personalities in so short a time as he has, of course he can act."

The other was a Bing Crosby Christmas special in 1977, on which Bowie was a guest.

The "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" duet they did still pops up every Christmas. But what I remember was learning that Crosby, who was 73 at the time, had absolutely no idea who David Bowie was - but decided after working with him that "the kid's pretty good."

He was that. RIP, David Bowie.

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