The Collective Remembers David Bowie (1947-2016)

The world is a darker place this morning with the loss of iconic grandad of glam, David Bowie. The Starman passed away on Sunday, January 10 after an 18-month battle with cancer, only 2 days after his 69th birthday and the release of his 25th studio album, Blackstar.

While we can in no way encompass all the reasons we love David Bowie, his music and his inspiration, in a single post, we have compiled a list of ten Bowie moments that have touched our lives.


(updated 1/12/16*)

*The City of Angels mourns David Bowie all month with special events. See here for more details. 

1) Hunting for Diamond Dogs

Right after high school, I became obsessed with glam rock, specifically, David Bowie. His is actually the only discography (besides NIN) I worked really hard to complete, and at the young age of 19, I was on the hunt for one of his more obscure albums to go with the more popular ones I already had, like Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. Diamond Dogs was notoriously the most difficult to find, and, even after I had most of the earlier stuff (the 1976 release David Bowie, was easier to find), I could never get DD (this was before the internet, ok). I remember trolling through Penny Lane, the local record store near my college in Pasadena, California, searching for Diamond Dogs on CD. The shop girl told me they didn’t have the album and wouldn’t get it in for ages. Well, my best friend had a tape player in her VW bug (our favorite mode of travel those days) and I had one in an old stereo system at home, so, I purchased a used copy of the album on tape, along with a CD copy of Station to Station. Both were glorious, dark and so perfect. I never did buy the CD and I still have the tape…somewhere.  –Diva

2) Bowie on Film

We all know that Bowie was a space alien, but his films confirm it. The Man Who Fell From Earth is so strange, and quiet and long, not an easy watch at all. Same goes for The Hunger, the go-to vampire movie before vampires were a thing. That being said, both are totally avant garde films that, if you’ve seen them, you know that these movies helped define Bowie’s otherness not only as a musician and an actor, but as an occupant of our planet. –Diva

3) David Bowie and Bing Crosby sing “Little Drummer Boy”

I am a sucker for Christmas music, and this duet is one of my favorite holiday tunes. It’s old meets new, classic meets modern and an iconic performance by two legends. I especially love the additional lyrics and the meaning behind this beautiful tune. It is on my holiday playlist from now until always. –Diva

4) Golden Years

It’s difficult to pick just one Bowie song, but if you were to twist my arm, I would have to say that “Golden Years” is my favorite. I vividly remember seeing A Knight’s Tale as a preteen, and watching Heath Ledger dance his way into my heart along with that very song. I asked my teacher who had sung it, and he replied, “That’s Bowie. Don’t you know Bowie?” I didn’t know enough to be ashamed that I didn’t know Bowie, but the next time we were in the computer lab, I looked him up. I was surprised to realize that he’d sung so many songs that I had heard, namely “Heroes.” Afterwards, I listened to as much Bowie as I could get my hands on, but “Golden Years” stayed with me all through high school and college. It was my anthem, in a way, a part of my awakening to the beauty of glam rock, and I can’t ever forget it. –The Collected Mutineer

5) The Dissonance Tour

Holy shit. When my two favorites, Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and David Bowie came together in 1995 to create music, I about died! The tunes they created together are haunting, the beats are strong with that signature NIN feel, but with Bowie lyricism and harmonies that are guaranteed to blow you away. Go listen to my favorite collaborative song by this pair, “I’m Afraid of Americans” (1997). –Diva

6) Modern Love

This song played at my wedding, I danced to it with my daughter before she could properly dance, and it’s the one my mom posted to my FB page this morning when she found out one of my idols had passed away. And now I’m crying again. –Diva

7) Labyrinth

“You haven’t truly appreciated Bowie until you’ve seen him embody Jareth the Goblin King.” That’s what a very dear friend told me before forcing me to watch Labyrinth, and he was right. The film is deliciously weird in all the right ways, and I’m about to go rewatch it right now. –The Collected Mutineer

8) The Rebel’s Rebel 

My favourite thing about the late rock legend is that he fucking destroyed stereotypes. He was open about his sexual relationships with men and women, and as for gender norms, who the fuck has time for that when you’re busy pioneering a new trend in rock and roll? In fact, he says it best in his song “Rebel Rebel”: You’ve got your mother in a whirl/She’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl/Hey babe, your hair’s alright./Hey babe, let’s go out tonight./You like me, and I like it all.

This song became my anthem when I was going through puberty and figuring out that I wasn’t like everyone else in my small Christian school, and Bowie taught that it was totally okay to be a rebel. –The Collectress

9) “Where Are We Now?”

Three years ago almost to the day, I was so excited that Bowie was returning to music after an almost a decade-long hiatus. Today as I listen to his song, “Where Are We Now,” I realise that he had written his own elegy, and the haunting melody that lingers in my mind long after the song has finished. The song strongly reminisces about his Berlin years (think Low and Heroes), and many would argue that “Where Are We Now” is the song about a man looking back at the end of his career. This is the beginning of Bowie’s farewell to an industry that he shaped and defined, and it is with a heavy heart that I keep it amongst my Bowie favourites. –The Collectress

10) Blackstar and “Lazarus”

David Bowie released his last album on Friday, his birthday, and passed away surrounded by family on Sunday. The album feels like a farewell to the fans, and contains all of the power and poise expected in a Bowie album. Yet, this feels different. Even in the throes of cancer, Bowie recorded and produced music, even going so far to create a music video for the song “Lazarus”, who, if you know your biblical lore, was raised from the dead by Jesus Christ himself. The video is terrifyingly beautiful and typical Bowie, causing fans to wonder what amazing things the Starman will get up to in the afterlife. –Diva