THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 00:04
CELEBRATING THE ECLECTIC CAREER OF DAVID BOWIE
Illustration by Rose Feduk
This Tuesday, musician/actor/all-around badass David Bowie will release his 24th studio album The Next Day. To commemorate the oeuvre of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most celebrated and respected artists, I have compiled a list of my favorite Bowie moments. This list includes live performances, commercials, acting gigs, and anything else I can think of. The only criterion is the event or activity has to be captured on film. Once this stipulation is met, everything is fair game. Now that all the formalities are through, I hope you enjoy this list. And for those of you who don’t know who David Bowie is…what the hell is wrong with you? Were you raised in an orphanage or something?
“Space Oddity” Music Video (1969):
This video is a trip. Bowie’s stellar song was loosely based off of Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and was Bowie’s first commercial success. This promotional video was aired in the United States to raise awareness for Bowie’s first international tour. It worked. This put Bowie in the spotlight. He became a rock demigod. Please keep in mind that this video came out years before MTV did. No one at this time could fathom the important role that the music video would play for future musicians. But then again, Bowie always was a trendsetter.
Soul Train Performance (1975):
For those of you unfamiliar with Soul Train, it was a musical variety show that mostly showcased emerging and some already successful African-American artists. The show ran from 1971-2006. In 1975, Bowie performed “Fame” and “Golden Years” on Soul Train. Why is this significant? He did this when the idea of “plastic soul” or “blue-eyed soul” (basically euphemisms for white musicians trying to cash in on the musical style of the time) was perceived as inauthentic. Bowie went on stage and did his thing. The audience loved it and later that year, Bowie’s songs topped the R&B charts. You want to know the coolest part? He lipsynched. And it wasn’t even a good lip-synch. It was possibly the worst lip-synching in the history of music performances. Well, second worst. Beyonce takes the crown for that one.
The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976):
Good reader, if you have read my previous articles (no one has) then you know I love me some sci-fi. In this 1976 cult classic, Bowie plays an orange-haired alien who has just landed on earth. The alien is a pretty smart dude who has all these patents on cool inventions. He makes a lot of money in order to transport himself back home. I try to avoid spoilers, but in the movie we discover that David Bowie does not have a penis. He has weird Ken Doll genitalia. That, along with the soundtrack, makes the movie worthwhile.
’80s Pepsi Commercial:
In this 1980s Pepsi commecial, David Bowie plays a mad (mad for more Pepsi) scientist working on some invention that creates a superwoman. The scientist inserts some photos into a scanner and unknowingly spills his Pepsi on his keyboard. The high fructose corn syrup causes the computer to malfunction and explode. Then, out of the pod exits Tina Turner. Luckily, “Modern Love” was playing in the background, so instead of killing him she joins him in a duet. It is scienti"cally proven that the only thing that can stop a Pepsi-blooded singing superwoman is the power of David Bowie’s music. (A few years ago, I tried the same experiment. However, instead of spilling Pepsi, I spilled Royal Crown Cola. The result was Nicki Minaj. Since that incident, I have never been able to forgive myself for the evil I have brought upon the world.)
What do you get when you mix Bowie, Jim Henson’s puppets, and George Lucas’ money? You get one weird-ass ’80s musical. This movie has jams that make you want to “dance magic dance.” Bowie plays Jareth the Goblin King alongside a young (she was 16), yet beautiful Jennifer Connelly. For those unfamiliar with Jennifer Connelly, she was the pretty lady from Requiem For A Dream (2000). We all remember that final scene with the doubleended dildo. If you haven’t seen Requiem, watch it. Stoned, if possible. The whole movie is intense, especially the music. This movie will scar you for life. A single mention of this movie and I forget what I’m doing. Where was I? Oh yeah, watch Labyrinth. Stoned, if possible. As a matter fact, watch every item on this list stoned.
Zoolander is one of my guilty pleasures. I try to be a cinematic elitist but the truth is inescapable: sometimes I just like to laugh my ass off at dumb humor. Bowie steals the show with what could be one of the greatest cameos ever. If you’re really eager, fast forward to the scene. Then after you watch it, rewind. Watch it again and rewind. Repeat this until you have completely memorized that clip. Do it! !at’s an order!
The Prestige (2006):
I don’t know much about science. I mean, I’ve taken science classes, but my understanding of science goes so far as “fire is hot.” That’s it. However, The Prestige, directed by Christopher Nolan (The Batman trilogy and Memento), cast Bowie as madman genius and scientist (What is it with Bowie and mad scientists?) Nikola Tesla, which was my first exposure to the scientific genius. To this day I still don’t know much about Tesla, except that he has a coil named after him and that David Bowie gave him one hell of a portrayal. And judging by the way the State of California is handling the public school system, I’m probably ahead of the curve.
There you have it, my list of my favorite Bowie moments. Just a token of my respect for one of the greatest musicians to ever bless us with his presence. Here’s to another 24 albums from Ziggy Stardust, or The Great White Duke, or Halloween Jack, or whatever the fuck Bowie is calling himself nowadays. This guy has more names than Diddy. Like I said earlier, Bowie has always been a trendsetter.