David Bowie quotes

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David Bowie

Birthdate: 8. January 1947
Date of death: 10. January 2016
Other names: Bowie

David Robert Jones , known professionally as David Bowie , was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry and is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, with his music and stagecraft having a significant impact on popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at over 100 million records worldwide, made him one of the world's best-selling music artists. In the UK, he was awarded ten platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and released eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and nine gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Born in Brixton, South London, Bowie developed an interest in music as a child, eventually studying art, music and design before embarking on a professional career as a musician in 1963. "Space Oddity" became his first top-five entry on the UK Singles Chart after its release in July 1969. After a period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with his flamboyant and androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The character was spearheaded by the success of his single "Starman" and album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which won him widespread popularity. In 1975, Bowie's style shifted radically towards a sound he characterised as "plastic soul", initially alienating many of his UK devotees but garnering him his first major US crossover success with the number-one single "Fame" and the album Young Americans. In 1976, Bowie starred in the cult film The Man Who Fell to Earth, directed by Nicolas Roeg, and released Station to Station. The following year, he further confounded musical expectations with the electronic-inflected album Low , the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno that came to be known as the "Berlin Trilogy". "Heroes" and Lodger followed; each album reached the UK top five and received lasting critical praise.

After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single "Ashes to Ashes", its parent album Scary Monsters , and "Under Pressure", a 1981 collaboration with Queen. He reached his commercial peak in 1983 with Let's Dance; the album's title track topped both UK and US charts. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including industrial and jungle. He also continued acting; his roles included Major Jack Celliers in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence , Jareth the Goblin King in Labyrinth , Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ , and Nikola Tesla in The Prestige , among other film and television appearances and cameos. He stopped touring after 2004 and his last live performance was at a charity event in 2006. In 2013, Bowie returned from a decade-long recording hiatus with The Next Day. He remained musically active until he died of liver cancer at his home in New York City, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of his final album, Blackstar . Wikipedia

„I've come to the realisation that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing half the time“

—  David Bowie

"Sermon From the Savoy", New Musical Express (29 September 1984)
Context: I'm terribly intuitive—I always thought I was intellectual about what I do, but I've come to the realisation that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing half the time, that the majority of the stuff that I do is totally intuitive, totally about where I am physically and mentally at any moment in time and I have a far harder time than anybody else explaining it and analysing it. That's the territory of the artist anyway: to be quite at sea with what he does, and working towards not being intuive about it and being far more methodical and academic about it.

„As long as there's me
As long as there's you“

—  David Bowie

"Where Are We Now?" (2013)
Song lyrics, The Next Day (2013)
Context: Where are we now?
Where are we now?
The moment you know
You know, you know
As long as there's sun
As long as there's sun
As long as there's rain
As long as there's rain
As long as there's fire
As long as there's fire
As long as there's me
As long as there's you

„Turn and face the strange changes.“

—  David Bowie

Song lyrics, Hunky Dory (1971)
Source: Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
Turn and face the strange.

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„Though nothing, nothing will keep us together
We can beat them, forever and ever
Oh, we can be heroes just for one day.“

—  David Bowie

"Heroes", written with Brian Eno
Song lyrics, "Heroes" (1977)
Context: I, I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins
Like dolphins can swim Though nothing, nothing will keep us together
We can beat them, forever and ever
Oh, we can be heroes just for one day.

„It's an odd feeling, like something else is guiding you, although forcing your hand is more like it.“

—  David Bowie

Livewire interview (2002)
Context: Strangely, some songs you really don't want to write. I didn't like writing "Heathen". There was something so ominous and final about it. It was early in the morning, the sun was rising and through the windows I could see two deer grazing down below in the field. In the distance a car was driving slowly past the reservoir and these words were just streaming out and there were tears running down my face. But I couldn't stop, they just flew out. It's an odd feeling, like something else is guiding you, although forcing your hand is more like it.

„Nevertheless, I still don't know what the voice is saying, or even what language it's in.“

—  David Bowie

Livewire interview (2002)
Context: It's odd but even when I was a kid, I would write about "old and other times" as though I had a lot of years behind me. Now I do, so there is a difference in the weight of memory. When you're young, you're still "becoming", now at my age I am more concerned with "being". And not too long from now I'll be driven by "surviving", I'm sure. I kind of miss that "becoming" stage, as most times you really don't know what's around the corner. Now, of course, I've kind of knocked on the door and heard a muffled answer. Nevertheless, I still don't know what the voice is saying, or even what language it's in.

„It's odd but even when I was a kid, I would write about "old and other times" as though I had a lot of years behind me.“

—  David Bowie

Livewire interview (2002)
Context: It's odd but even when I was a kid, I would write about "old and other times" as though I had a lot of years behind me. Now I do, so there is a difference in the weight of memory. When you're young, you're still "becoming", now at my age I am more concerned with "being". And not too long from now I'll be driven by "surviving", I'm sure. I kind of miss that "becoming" stage, as most times you really don't know what's around the corner. Now, of course, I've kind of knocked on the door and heard a muffled answer. Nevertheless, I still don't know what the voice is saying, or even what language it's in.

„How many times does an angel fall?
How many people lie instead of talking tall?“

—  David Bowie

"Blackstar"
Song lyrics, Blackstar (2016)
Context: Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar) How many times does an angel fall?
How many people lie instead of talking tall?
He trod on sacred ground, he cried loud into the crowd
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar, I’m not a gangster)

„So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test.“

—  David Bowie

Changes
Song lyrics, Hunky Dory (1971)
Context: Still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild.
A million dead-end streets and
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet.
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test.

„Those who feel me near
Pull the blinds and change their minds“

—  David Bowie

Song lyrics, Cat People (Putting Out Fire) (1982)
Context: See these eyes so red
Red like jungle burning bright
Those who feel me near
Pull the blinds and change their minds.

„Music has given me over 40 years of extraordinary experiences. I can't say that life's pains or more tragic episodes have been diminished because of it. But it's allowed me so many moments of companionship when I've been lonely and a sublime means of communication when I wanted to touch people. It's been both my doorway of perception and the house that I live in.“

—  David Bowie

Commencement Address for the Berklee College of Music, at Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts (8 May 1999) https://www.berklee.edu/commencement/past
Context: Music has given me over 40 years of extraordinary experiences. I can't say that life's pains or more tragic episodes have been diminished because of it. But it's allowed me so many moments of companionship when I've been lonely and a sublime means of communication when I wanted to touch people. It's been both my doorway of perception and the house that I live in.
I only hope that it embraces you with the same lusty life force that it graciously offered me.

„Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)“

—  David Bowie

"Blackstar"
Song lyrics, Blackstar (2016)
Context: Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar) How many times does an angel fall?
How many people lie instead of talking tall?
He trod on sacred ground, he cried loud into the crowd
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar, I’m not a gangster)

„Strangely, some songs you really don't want to write.“

—  David Bowie

Livewire interview (2002)
Context: Strangely, some songs you really don't want to write. I didn't like writing "Heathen". There was something so ominous and final about it. It was early in the morning, the sun was rising and through the windows I could see two deer grazing down below in the field. In the distance a car was driving slowly past the reservoir and these words were just streaming out and there were tears running down my face. But I couldn't stop, they just flew out. It's an odd feeling, like something else is guiding you, although forcing your hand is more like it.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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