Tuesday, January 12, 2016

DAVID BOWIE: A Personal Tribute to a Rock Legend

A Personal Tribute to a Rock Legend

I was totally shocked and
super-bummed yesterday
morning to learn of the
passing of David Bowie
 the "Picasso of Pop."

As a Midwestern church boy coming of age during the mid '70s, my personal introduction to the music of David Bowie occurred during his chart-busting post-Ziggy Stardust, pre-Low era. In fact, as a geeky tween who "praised and worshiped" all too frequently at the alter of rock and roll (i.e. the record department) located within my local Sears and Kmart stores, the first Bowie album that I can recall ever seeing was his 1974 classic, Diamond Dogs. Yet, despite my undeniable naivete, even I could recognize that the "person" on the Diamond Dogs album cover was pretty darn cool-looking. The first Bowie song that I remember hearing on the radio remains my all-time favorite from his impressive and seemingly endless catalog — 1975's "Young Americans." Okay, you've really gotta cut me some slack on this. I was a 12-year-old kid, growing up in an extremely conservative home in Springfield, Missouri — a region where sex before Sunday wasn't even legal until 1981. As a result, I remained completely behind the pop culture "eight ball" throughout my formative years. However, to this day, I still rank such "plastic soul" treasures as "Young Americans," "Fame" and "Golden Years" among Bowie's absolute best.

Diamond Dogs served as my personal formal
introduction to Bowie's music back in 1974.
The one aspect of Bowie's artistry that I admired most over the years was his uncanny ability to always remain in front of the pop culture "eight ball"  reinventing his image and redefining his music constantly. And since I first began fronting my own Florida-based bands in the mid '80s, I've always looked to Bowie's impeccable example as the blueprint for creating my own ever-changing rock personas and musical styles.

In recent years, I've been going back frequently and revisiting Bowie's extensive back catalog, only to rediscover time and again that his most brilliant gemstones are actually the songs lodged in between the iconic hits. Yes, the older I get, the even greater appreciation I have for Bowie's greatest contribution to pop culture — his well-crafted songwriting. In fact, at age 53, I've written the best songs of my life in just the last year or so. I continue to have David Bowie's music to point to as a primary source of personal inspiration.

-Christopher Long
(January 2016)

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