David Bowie, Legend, Has Passed Away

yes, it is true.

Courtesy of RCA Records

The worst part of working in the entertainment industry is moments like this; the moments when your phone goes off at a quarter past two on Eastern Standard time, buzzing incessantly because, well, have you heard the news? We all want to get the story up, to be the first with a pithy memory or to remark on how iconic a creative is, how truly they shaped this world, how you can't imagine a future generation not knowing their discography. That's the dark side.

However, the bright side about writing about music, art, and culture is that we get to think, professionally, about the effect a talent has on the entire world. We get to consider their legacy, see the younger stars they influenced, write about the way they will be remembered. These are the gifts David Bowie, who passed away tonight at age 69 of a quiet, private battle with cancer, has given the world. Bowie had just released new music on his birthday (justnot even four days ago, making his song "Lazarus" particularly poignant in its title and meaning) , which was probably made during his struggle. In so many ways, that is such a fitting end to the legacy of one of the greatest musical talents to have ever lived: To face death on his own terms, leaving behind yet another musical odyssey for us to explore.

To end this, let's read a tweet from David's son Duncan Jones, and reflect on the lyrics to "Space Oddity." (New York Times)


Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills 
and put your helmet on

Ground Control to Major Tom
Commencing countdown, 
engines on
Check ignition 
and may God's love be with you

Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Liftoff

This is Ground Control 
to Major Tom
You've really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it's time to leave the capsule 
if you dare

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating 
in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do

Though I'm past 
one hundred thousand miles
I'm feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much 
she knows

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit's dead,
there's something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you....

Here am I floating 
round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do.