David Robert Jones, known professionally as David Bowie, was an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, painter and actor.
8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016.
Picture credits: The Australian
David Bowie confronted his deep fear of death to complete the play and album that would be his final work, a close collaborator who had been sworn to secrecy about his cancer said last night.
The stage show Lazarus opened in New York a month ago, with a frail Bowie attending the opening night, while his album Blackstar was released on his 69th birthday on Friday, two days before his death.
Tony Visconti, who produced the album, described it as Bowie’s parting gift. Ivo van Hove, who is directing Lazarus, said the show was the artist’s last testament.
One of Britain’s greatest rock stars, with an artistic career spanning more than half a century, Bowie is thought to have been ill with liver cancer for 18 months.
Van Hove told The Times that he had been sworn to secrecy about Bowie’s failing health and did not even tell his own partner about it. “David told me, ‘We have to work together very intensely for the next year and I want you to know, if I cannot be there, why that is.’ It was a very intense time because he sometimes was very ill and in treatment but he came as much as possible to rehearsals. He was, at the end, very fragile — physically, not mentally.”
Van Hove said that he and Bowie went on stage after the opening night at the New York Theatre Workshop on December 7 to receive the audience’s applause. The Belgian director added: “I was very aware that this perhaps would be the last time I would see him. He was really weak and when we came off stage he had to take a seat. Then he said, ‘Let’s make a second one now’, so he still had mental energy to go on.
“I could see the tears behind his eyes, because he was not a man to show off his emotions. He was really in deep fear.
“I felt he was not in a death struggle but a struggle for life — he wanted to live on. He has a daughter of 15 and he really wanted to go on, but it was physically not possible.”
Bowie died yesterday in New York surrounded, a statement said, by his family — his wife, the model Iman, their daughter Alexandria ‘Lexi’ Zahra Jones, 15, and his son Duncan Jones, the film-maker. As the news of his father’s death spread on social media, Mr Jones tweeted confirmation: “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true”.
The songs on Bowie’s last album can now be seen as a foretelling of his death. Lazarus opens with the line “Look up here, I’m in Heaven”, and the video shows a blindfolded Bowie on his deathbed. The video for Blackstar depicts an astronaut lying dead on a moonscape in a possible reference to the demise of Major Tom, one of his best-known creations.
Visconti said: “He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way.”
Bowie had also sent cryptic messages to some of his oldest friends and musical partners. Brian Eno said he had received an email a week ago saying: “Thank you for our good times, Brian. They will never rot”. Eno added: “It was signed ‘Dawn’. I realise now he was saying goodbye.”
Bowie, who was born David Jones in Brixton, south London, in 1947, had an extraordinarily innovative career, constantly experimenting with new styles and characters and influencing film, fashion and visual art. The power of his music was reflected in a tribute from the German Foreign Office acknowledging the role the song Heroes had in highlighting the scar created by the Berlin Wall. In a tweet, German diplomats said: “Good-bye, David Bowie. You are now among Heroes. Thank you for helping to bring down the Wall.”
Mick Jagger, the lead singer of the Rolling Stones and a longtime friend, tweeted: “David was always an inspiration to me and a true original. We had so many good times together. He was my friend, I will never forget him.”
Van Hove said the last song on the new album, I Can’t Give Everything Away, was about the privacy he craved. “He was saying, let me have some secrets, and being very sick was one of his last secrets.”
By Sean O’Neill
With many thanks to The Australian
Above: David Bowie as Nikola Tesla in "The Prestige"
David Bowie sings "Try Some,Buy Some" written by George Harrison.He was very fond of this song.
Below: Tribute to David Bowie at the BRIT Awards.
The Top 10 David Bowie Movie Performances:
The Genius of Nicola Tesla
Is the David Bowie 'Constellation' A Stellar Hoax?
MC Escher: An Enigma Behind an Illusion
Elizabeth Taylor Quotes
Dwight Yoakam Names His Top Five David Bowie Songs
Vinyl: Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese's Mini-series
David Bowie ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’ Video Released
Why David Bowie's "Labyrinth" Is So Memorable
David Bowie’s Rejected ‘The Gouster’ Album To Be Released
David Bowie's Personal Art Collection Auctioned Off For $30 Million