KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

DAVID BOWIE – We Live For Just These Twenty Years

So much has been written & said in the days since we learned that David Bowie had died, and his impact on fans, fellow musicians & pop culture will be discussed for generations to come. I will just add a few words in remembrance of this amazing artist. For many years I was a casual Bowie fan, owning most of his albums but never fully embracing any of them.  Then I spent a couple of months between November 2011 & February 2012 revisiting his catalog a few albums at a time, and with each successive listen I grew to appreciate his artistry more & more. Although I will likely never be as passionate as the fans who spent their lifetimes with his music as part of their DNA, I expect his impact on me will only continue to grow as I get older. I’ve said to friends on many occasions that the series I wrote on David Bowie’s discography was the most rewarding & enlightening of any artist I’ve covered in nearly five years of blogging (so far), and I’m proud that it continues to be my most popular series as well. I invite you to check out those 9 posts and join in the conversations here:
https://kamertunesblog.wordpress.com/category/david-bowie/

David Bowie - Young Americans (Single)

In his 1975 hit single “Young Americans,” Bowie wrote “We live for just these twenty years, do we have to die for the fifty more?” For a man who was on this earth one year shy of seventy years, he proved that you can live many lives in one lifetime, and those first twenty years are merely a starting point. My heart goes out to his family, friends & colleagues, as well as everyone who has ever been touched by his music. One of those fans, my fellow blogger Bruce Jenkins at Vinyl Connection, has written an incredible set of reflections on how Bowie’s music affected him over the years. I urge you to check out that post here:
http://vinylconnection.com.au/2016/01/12/12-bowie-reflections/

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30 comments on “DAVID BOWIE – We Live For Just These Twenty Years

  1. ianbalentine
    January 13, 2016

    A very heartfelt post, Rich. Your series on Bowie is the reason I delved into his most earliest of recordings, and reexamined his ’80’s and ’90’s output, some of which were real revelations for me (Heathen and Outside, in particular).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ian. I’m glad my journey through Bowie’s discography inspired you to do the same. He has such a deep catalog and anyone who only knows the radio hits is missing some incredibly vital music.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Vinyl Connection
    January 13, 2016

    As your Bowie series pre-dated my entry into the blogosphere, I’ll look forward to checking them out, Rich.
    In the meantime, many thanks for the shoutout.

    Like

    • Hi Bruce. I hope you enjoy my Bowie series if/when you have time to check it out. As for your post, I wanted as many people as possible to check it out. Hopefully I can send a few readers your way.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ianbalentine
    January 13, 2016

    OH, and last night In discovered I had Santa Monica ’72! Score!

    Like

    • How did you “discover” that? Did it just magically appear in your collection? Or did you have one of those old man “when did I buy this?” moments? Hehe.

      Like

  4. ianbalentine
    January 13, 2016

    I have boxes of cd’s I haven’t opened up in ages (as opposed to all my box sets, deluxe versions, collectible stuff that takes up shelf space), but all are digitally backed up on either a hard drive or DVD. Stupid me, I never created a ledger for the DVD’s so if I want to grab something and drag it over to itunes I have to go through each one individually until I find it.

    After Bowie died I wanted to grab his debut for the library and found that AND the ’72 live album. I’ve been listening to that, and the BBC double disc (that you spoke so highly of in your review) non-stop, waiting until Dark Star arrives in the mail.

    Like

    • I’m glad you uncovered those excellent live recordings, Ian. I hope they’ve helped you get through this week.

      Like

      • ianbalentine
        January 14, 2016

        They did, Rich. It’s a tough one.

        Like

  5. 80smetalman
    January 13, 2016

    Great write up Rich! Like you, I’m more of a casual Bowie fan but you’re right. The man was a true artist in the literal sense of the word.

    Like

    • Thanks for checking out this post. I used to be a casual Bowie fan but that changed after spending a couple of months with his discography. Maybe that will happen to you at some point down the road.

      Like

  6. Phillip Helbig
    January 14, 2016

    “We live for just these twenty years, do we have to die for the fifty more?”

    As Neil Peart wrote, we’re only immortal for a limited time. 😐

    Like

  7. Phillip Helbig
    January 14, 2016

    I was never a Bowie fan. An interesting guy, sure, but I could never really get into his music. Somehow, he seemed to be like someone playing a musician rather than a musician, which might have to do with his affected singing style (which probably influenced the singing style of Bryan Ferry—speaking of whom, Jerry Hall is now engaged to Rupert Murdoch; what is this world coming to?!).

    I am also annoyed at the pedestal he is put on. When truly excellent musician and all around nice guy Trevor Bolder died almost three years ago (tempus fugit!), many obituaries mentioned his Bowie connection. Yes, he played with Bowie for a couple of years. He played with Uriah Heep for almost forty.

    Like

    • While I understand where you’re coming from, Phillip, I can’t say I agree with your comments. Bowie assumed so many guises and often appeared aloof, but he had a keen musical mind and was a much better musician than many people might think. As for Trevor Bolder, his impact on popular culture had more to do with his brief time playing with Bowie than his work with Uriah Heep, no matter how good and long lasting they’ve been.

      Like

      • Phillip Helbig
        January 15, 2016

        I guess it is the questions: Good? Influential? Innovative? Popular? Technically challenging? With just yes/no answers, there are 32 categories. For example, Meatloaf was hugely popular but hardly influential. (Interestingly, it seems that Todd Rundgren envisaged Bat Out of Hell as a sort of Bruce Springsteen tribute.) The Incredible String Band, like the Velvet Underground, were not very popular but hugely influential. (Someone said that only 10,000 people bought the first VU album, but they all started bands.)

        Personally, whether or not I think something is good is the most important. This is of course subjective. While additional knowledge might slightly affect one’s appreciation, it rarely makes one like something one doesn’t. (For example, a young Beatles fan might like them even more once he realized how innovative they were.) The press tends to concentrate on influence and innovation. Granted, it is more interesting to write about these, as quality is subjective and popularity is just a number (and technical difficulty matters only to the experts). Bowie was certainly an innovator and very influential, and for that I respect him more than, say, Engelbert Humperdinck (the English crooner, not the German composer (whose heirs objected to the appropriation of the name, for which reason he is billed only as Engelbert (a normal but now—and then—rare name) in Germany)). But in terms of actually liking the music (admittedly subjective), I think I would rather hear some stuff I don’t even own (say, Springsteen or Seals and Crofts) than Bowie. Not that I dislike his music, as I dislike, say, punk, it’s just that it doesn’t do it for me.

        With regard to Bolder: Yes, certainly more influential when playing for Bowie. Certainly worth mentioning in a piece on Bowie. But a little disrespectful in a piece on Bolder himself, whose heart was obviously in Heep whereas Bowie was more of a job. (As the Times wrote in their obituary (via Wikipedia), Bolder “never looked comfortable as a glam-rock mannequin, tottering behind Ziggy Stardust in platform boots and a rainbow-hued outfit of latex and glitter”). He was basically a working-class bloke who bred whippets and didn’t live in London, but in Hull. Far from the Bowie crowd, but fitting in well with Heep. Even though he joined just at the end of the classic phase, he contributed several songs to the repertoire, produced an album, and was an integral part of the band.

        Like

      • All great points (as always), Phillip. And thanks for the first mention of Englebert Humperdinck at my blog.

        Like

  8. mikeladano
    January 14, 2016

    Reading this, I get the feels. And that’s what you really get across. RIP.

    Like

  9. Daddydinorawk
    January 15, 2016

    I’m still kind of in shock.

    Station to Station and Lodger are my two favorite albums but I love bits and bobs from all areas of his career. Backstair is almost perfect. What a swan song. Apparently he had a new album written just before he passed.

    A damn shame.

    Like

    • Daddydinorawk
      January 15, 2016

      Blackstar…obviously.

      😉

      Like

    • I think we’re all still in shock, and the fact that Blackstar is so good makes his death even more poignant. Station To Station might be my favorite with a few others in contention.

      Like

  10. Wayne
    January 16, 2016

    I thought it was an announcement on Blackstar when came on the TV news — and it wasn’t – this one hits hard – not like a little tap on the shoulder that someone is gone – more like a smash to the face. I know I am just a fan – but damn – there will be a post.

    Like

    • Yep, Bowie’s death hit hard, and seemed to affect many people more than expected. Maybe it was the fact that we didn’t know he was ill, or that he had just celebrated his birthday by gifting us with another wonderful album. Whatever the reason, it’s a huge loss. Will be on the lookout for your post.

      Like

  11. Robert Matthew Goldstein
    January 29, 2016

    I loved this look at Bowie’s music. I think the most interesting aspect of his generation was the way it changed the way we think of ‘old’,

    Like

    • Thanks, Robert. That’s a really great point. Bowie’s impact was so huge and incredibly wide-ranging. Sadly, it took his death to really shine a light on how important his life & music were to so many generations.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Matthew Goldstein
        January 30, 2016

        At a more cynical time in my life I said that the only thing the baby boomers did to perfection was adolescence and to prove it they stayed there.

        Getting older has mellowed me and I can see now that the Boomers really did change the world; and as with everything some of those changes didn’t work out; but the ones that did moved us forward as a species.

        Like

      • Well stated, Robert. Nice to know you’ve mellowed a bit with age. It’s better than being bitter, cynical & old.

        Hope you’ve had a nice weekend.

        Best…
        Rich

        Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Matthew Goldstein
        February 1, 2016

        I was at my most cynical during the early days of the AIDS epidemic when it seemed that everything I believed in was dying and or slowly being killed by the strategic negligence of the Reagan Administration.

        I think what mellowed me was that I didn’t self destruct with grief and rage but found new ways to express my ideals…

        I always tell young people who say ‘we can’t change things’ that the last person you can convince of that is a Gay man who came out before Stonewall.

        Thank you for your comment…it made me think.

        Like

      • Thank YOU for your feedback, Robert. Your comments have gotten me thinking as well.

        Liked by 1 person

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