David Bowie was a true artist who found a way of constantly re-inventing himself. His career, spanning over six decades, was ever changing and evolving. As one of the most influential artists ever he will not be forgotten, he leaves behind a legacy.
With 25 studio albums, 9 live albums, many collaborations, and over 100 singles under his belt, it would be impossible to pay tribute to them all.
So here are some of his notable works:
Space Oddity (1969)
The second studio album (originally titled David Bowie, then Man of Words/Man of Music), combined many different sounds and genres. Some say it was advanced for its time, mixing sounds of folk and psychedelic rock. The album was influenced by Bowie’s experimentation with mixed media, Tibetan Buddhism, acting and other eccentricities. Ultimately it paved way for songs like ‘Cygnet Committee’ and perhaps one of his most famous songs to this day, ‘Space Oddity’.
Hunky Dory (1971)
The fourth album from David Bowie brought singles such as ‘Changes’ and ‘Life on Mars’. It was the beginning of Bowie’s true rise to fame having just returned from America after being signed by RCA Records. TIME magazine has named it one of the 100 best albums of all time. Hunky Dory was truly one of the most pivotal albums in Bowie’s career.
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
The immediate follow up album to Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall… was the musical emergence of fictional rock star, Ziggy Stardust. The album is one for the history books, touching on themes of drugs, sexuality, rock ‘n’ roll to create a masterpiece. Well known singles include ‘Lady Stardust’, ‘Ziggy Stardust’ and ‘Suffragette City’.
Aladdin Sane (1973)
Inspired by his experience of touring America, in April 1973, Aladdin Sane was released. As seen on the album cover, with the famous red and blue lightning bolt painted on his face, a new “character” was born. As an evolution from Ziggy Stardust, Bowie calls Aladdin Sane “Ziggy goes to America.” Overall, it has sold an estimated 4.6 million copies worldwide. Notable singles include ‘The Jean Genie’ and the cover of The Rolling Stones‘ ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’.
Diamond Dogs (1974)
By this time disco had taken over the airwaves, Diamond Dogs burst onto the scene as a total contrast to the genre. The album represented angst and chaos because thematically, the songs were about George Orwell‘s famous novel 1984. This was Bowie’s most political album and received mixed reviews. Single ‘Rebel Rebel’ however performed well on the charts.
Young Americans (1975)
During the mid-70s David Bowie’s fascination with R&B/soul music grew. This is evident throughout the album Young Americans making way for a single of the same title that encorporated rhythmic, soulful beats. The single ‘Fame’ would follow and was the first of his songs to reach #1 in North America. Bowie also covered The Beatles’ ‘Across the Universe’ with backing vocals and guitar provided by John Lennon himself.
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (1980)
This fourteenth studio album from Bowie kicked off a new decade with singles; ‘Ashes to Ashes’, ‘Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)’ and ‘Fashion’. The album plays with more guitar synth and explores with a more commercial sound. Soon after, David Bowie would go on to record the song ‘Under Pressure’ with Queen, appearing on their 1982 album Hot Space.
Let’s Dance (1983)
At the height of David Bowie’s stardom, selling 7 million copies worldwide, this is his best-selling album. It featured pop hit ‘Modern Love’, Iggy Pop cover ‘China Girl’ and title track ‘Let’s Dance’. The album combined blues-rock with dance-y beats to create a hybrid sound that would achieve mainstream success. Bowie admits that after this album he ran out of creative momentum, with follow up albums coming up short.
Black Tie White Noise (1993)
In the late 80s, Bowie’s career started to suffer with not-so favourable reviews of a string of previous albums. After reaching #1 on the UK charts, Black Tie White Noise proved to be a refound success. The album is refreshing, using inspiration from his wedding to wife Iman as the foundation. Singles such as ‘Miracle Goodnight’ and ‘Jump They Say’ would launch Bowie into a new era of music.
This is Bowie’s twenty-fifth studio album released on his 69th birthday: January 8th, 2016. Unfortunately two days later would mark his tragic death. This album is being dubbed his ‘swan song’ to fans, his final piece of art. Blackstar is one of the most evolved Bowie albums, venturing far from his normal sound. It has been receiving universal acclaim among critics, marking a beautiful end to his legacy.
Rest in peace, David Bowie.