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Awesome / David Bowie

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  • "Under Pressure" from the Freddie Mercury tribute concert...performed by Bowie and Annie Lennox. Chills guaranteed every time.
  • His 1996 set at the BRIT Awards. Michael Jackson was on the same bill with "Earth Song", so as the show's closer — and pushing fifty to boot — Bowie, with backup from Pet Shop Boys on "Hallo Spaceboy", had no choice but to unleash his full powers of awesomeness in a three-song medley. Not only did he sing live (Jackson did not), he did it all in a darling pair of heels. And that's why we love 'im.
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  • These words in the song "Quicksand": "I'm not a Prophet or a Stone Age man, just a mortal with potential of a superman." Awesome.
  • "Heroes". Just "Heroes".
    • To give an example of the awesomeness of the "Heroes" album, John Lennon is quoted that his mission when writing Double Fantasy was to make something half as good as "Heroes" was.
    • "Heroes" also prominently features Robert Fripp of King Crimson on several tracks, which is impressive because he hadn't played professionally for three years before Bowie recruited him. Bowie essentially brought Robert Fripp out of retirement. Aside from his amazing work on the title track, he also nailed the guitar part for "Beauty & The Beast" in one take (while jet-lagged no less).
  • From 1971 to the end of 1977, the man made ten albums. It's impressive enough for a mainstream artist (who would have to juggle all that with touring) to make that much music in that period of time, but eight of them are some of the greatest albums of all time.
    • Alongside all this — and producing material for artists such as Lou Reed and Iggy Pop (co-writing and performing on both of the latter's 1977 albums and touring with him that year as his pianist) and making The Man Who Fell to Earth — he would deal with a crumbling marriage (with a toddler-aged son caught in the middle), substance addictions that damaged his health and sanity, money problems, and a drawn-out split from manager Tony DeFries during this period. He wouldn't fully move past all of these problems until the early 1980s. Far too many musicians have died for fewer problems than these, and yet he not only lived through it but accomplished so much of worth...
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  • "Life on Mars." With the combination of weird, surreal lyrics, bombastic keyboard and guitar work, soaring, triumphant chorus, and beautiful string section, it's an absolute winner.
  • The complete surprise of The Next Day. One of the biggest names in rock music records a comeback album after a decade and somehow manages to keep it completely under wraps until the sudden, unexpected announcement? Bravo.
    • In the UK, both "Where Are We Now?" and The Next Day topped the iTunes Singles and Albums Charts respectively upon release. The latter did this just through pre-orders.
    • When The Next Day was actually released, it went to #1 on iTunes in 64 different countries, and to #1 in physical sales in 12 countries. This is particularly impressive given how little promotion he's done for it — there's been no interviews (though collaborators such as producer Tony Visconti talked to the press) or live performances/talk show appearances. He's just brought out a string of videos.
    • Complementing the Moment of Awesome, everyone regards this as one of the best comeback albums ever around the world, and fans demanded tours and concerts for it.
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  • A regular live song is "Waiting for the Man" by Velvet Underground. Bowie first heard the song when his manager brought back an early acetate copy of their debut album (before the album's release in the US), and taught it to his band, who then started playing it at gigs. Not only was Bowie the first person to cover the VU, he did it before the original album was even released.
  • In May 2013, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded a music video for "Space Oddity" from the International Space Station, the first music video ever to be shot in space, before his return to Earth. With surprisingly good singing, slightly revised lyrics, and shots of the planet Earth in the background as Hadfield takes 'a last glimpse of the world', the song takes on new, emotional, beautiful meaning.
    • And then Bowie tweets Hadfield "Hallo Spaceboy"!
  • His Dying Moment of Awesome: After battling cancer for 18 months and keeping it a complete secret from everyone, he released the Blackstar album, an insanely dense puzzle box for the fans to pick apart as they remembered him, dying just two days later.
    • And after recording that, he kept working. He made demo recordings of five additional songs, and called his producer Tony Visconti a week before his death saying he wanted to make another album. The fact that he kept working until the very end is even more of a Dying Moment of Awesome. Of course, it also makes his death even more of a Tear Jerker.
    • Blackstar débuted at #1 on the charts in a wide variety of countries worldwide, many of them (including the U.S.) countries in which Bowie had never had a #1 album before.
  • Four days after Blackstar's release, it was already the second highest user-rated album of all time on Metacritic. By five days after its release (January 13, 2016), it was the highest rated.
  • He criticised MTV for not giving enough attention to black and minority artists. This was in 1983, mind you.
    • Check it out here. David basically becomes the interviewer and clearly is not impressed by Mark Goodman's attempts at explaining the lack of black artists, but he remains as polite and level-headed as ever.
    • In a similar vein, part of the reason why he chose to shoot the video for "Let's Dance" in the pub of a small town (Carinda) in country New South Wales was to call attention to the racism faced by Australian Aborigines. He also called Australia one of the most racially intolerant countries in the world, also in 1983.
  • Just a week after his death, he got his own constellation. How's that for a real Starman?
    • A week after that, NASA discovered evidence of a new planet in our solar system. In the words of Bowie's main page here, "you do the math."
  • After never getting a Grammy Award for his music during his lifetime (his only wins were for the "Jazzin' for Blue Jean" video and a Lifetime Achievement Award) Blackstar racked up five a year after his death.
  • The ultimate (possible) fate of Major Tom: journeying to a far-flung solar system, his body dying and becoming an object of worship by the natives, his soul joining with an alien sun and ascending to Godhood. Just like David himself...


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