Bowie’s Lasting Legacy

Anna Marketti ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Music Editor

As music finds a home in so many of our hearts, it is improbable, impossible, and unimaginable that our favorite musicians may ever truly die. With the news of the space oddity himself David Bowie’s passing, we find ourselves scrambling for some inkling of relatability, some kernel of remembrance we can own and, therefore, be able to include ourselves in mourning.

The news of the Parisian terrorist attack on Le Bataclan resonated deeply in the hearts of music fans because we could see ourselves in that venue that night. In the same vein, we feel the deaths of our beloved musicians so strongly because the music speaks to us. This includes everything that accompanies it: the sense of community and belonging, the emotional melodies, and, particularly in Bowie’s case, the acceptance of whoever, whatever, whenever.

David Bowie and his music strove to normalize “weird”. With his costumes and invented personas, Bowie was more than just a British pop star. He embraced counterculture in his music, both lyrically and sonically. Whether your first foray into Bowie World was via 1986’s Labyrinth, or through one of his many albums, you most likely felt mystified by his work. And with a changing style on each album, it’s hard not to find yourself connected to at least one portion of his career.

Any prolific artist no doubt also inspires imitation, through lovingly crafted covers and non-diegetic placement of their work. From Clueless to The Martian, to The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Bowie’s work has found itself on the soundtracks of some of our favorite movies. In Life Aquatic, we hear some of his most popular songs translated into Portuguese, giving them a new life and tone.


Some of his songs are best known via their covers, and Nirvana’s “The Man Who Sold The World” is no doubt a prime example. For many, Nirvana’s version of the song was their first introduction to it, probably before David Bowie even crossed their minds. This just goes to show the lasting impact his music has had his songs were our favorites before we even realized they were his.


And while Bowie has collaborated with myriad other artists in his time Brian Eno, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and John Lennon, to name a few. In fact, though Lennon and Bowie are best known for their work together on “Fame”,  America’s first hit Bowie single, Bowie has actually worked with Lennon to cover a Beatles song. Bowie’s take on “Across The Universe” makes the song even more ethereal, as if that was possible.


One of my favorite homages to Bowie, however, would have to be by astronaut Chris Hadfield performing “Space Oddity” while aboard the International Space Station. That’s right, Ziggy Stardust found himself realized in space. Images of Earth pass by in the background as Hadfield floats around in zero G, strumming his guitar and singing the song. It provides “Space Oddity” with an extra touch of enchantment that the glitter and glam of the Ziggy era sometimes fell short of.


There are countless other homages to Bowie found in popular culture, and so many ways we choose to remember him on an individual level. So we at Emertainment Monthly invite you to share your favorite experience with Bowie be it a song of his, a music video, the use of his music somewhere, whatever in the comments.



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