by Cameron Smith / Female First
5th March 2013
David Bowie is making his return to the album charts for the first time in a decade and to celebrate we look at the crater like impression he left on the world of music and why his return means so much to so many.
Not to start of this piece with a bit of hyperbole, but Bowie literally changed the face of music. The music world was shifting to a younger demographic after the rise of The Beatles and The Who, but Bowie took eccentricity to new levels, clad in incredible and audaciously androgynous outfits that looked like something not from this plain of existence.
It opened musicians up to try new and exciting things. Without Bowie, there would have been no Culture Club or Adam And The Ants. The impact is still being shown today, where else would Lady Gaga gotten her ideas from?
This style changed not just music, but culture in general. More outlandish outfits started to be seen both on the catwalk and out on the high street and more and fathers up and down the country were desperately trying to get their sons to not put on makeup.
His musical contribution was just as enormous, with his experimentation with instruments, electronica and conventional led to sounds that simply hadn’t been heard before. Along with The Beatles, Bowie goes down as one of the all-time great musical innovators.
Looking back on his music, the incredible factor is that while it’s clearly aged, the songs themselves are fairly timeless, as proved by Nirvana when they took ‘The Man Who Changed The World’ and with barely any alterations, made it cutting edge once more. ‘Heroes’ is timeless, as are ‘Space Oddity’ and countless other songs of his that he recorded in the seventies.
This was his halcyon period, with hit album after hit album filled with brilliant tracks that would not only fuel the army of fans that he’s chalked up over the decade, but also the creative juices of everyone around him.
Unfortunately this would benefit them much more than him and the following decades would not be kind to Bowie. With no real breaks from recording and a lack of creative direction change it meant that he got caught in a slump that eventually lead to his retirement and a real fall from grace.
Despite this though, there is excellent reason for Bowie to be so revered. Without him, we wouldn’t have many of the artists that rule the musical lands today. We might have been stuck with corduroy instead of silver spandex and hairspray to the max. We might not have even had the sexual revolution we had in the world of entertainment.
Thankfully, his comeback isn’t a damp squib, with ‘The Next Day’ a real return to form for Bowie, as not only is it the first album he’s released in ten years, but it’s easily the best he’s released in triple that time, easily supplanting Heathen as the best thing he’s released since 1983’s Let’s Dance. He might not be dying his air orange and claiming he’s from space, but Bowie could still influence the world of music at the ripe old age of 66.
We can’t think of anyone else we’d want leading the charge.
David Bowie – The Next Day is out Monday 11th March