R.I.P., David Bowie
I’m on the run this morning and the full-on tribute to David Bowie will have to wait until this week’s episode of Sound Opinions, but here are the first two things that popped into my head as tributes to remember the musical giant: A “Great Albums” column that I wrote for the Sun-Times in 2002 celebrating Heroes (and the so-called “Berlin Trilogy” with Brian Eno in general) and my favorite-ever homage to the musician from The Flight of the Conchords.
As I said when I spoke at the MCA’s Bowie exhibit, and as I’ve noted in writing and on the radio (to some significant blowback) through the years, I’ve never believed Bowie was an innovator. He merely was rock’s best synthesis, mining the underground for strains of interest, and bringing them to a mainstream audience via one of his never-ending chameleon-like strange ch-ch-ch-changes. But that’s “merely” in quotation marks: Nobody ever did that better or made it look easier, it marked him forever as rock’s most efficient postmodernist, and damn, he sure left a legacy of a lot of great music, startlingly original or not.