David Bowie was known as the Thin White Duke to some. Or Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the Starman, or simply Bowie. Regardless of what he was called, the multi-talented artist’s various nicknames were always coupled with the word “legend.”
Bowie, who died at the age of 69 after a battle with cancer, was one of the most influential music artists of the past 50 years.
His passing has been noted by many artists and celebrities (and even world leaders) who took to social media to share their sadness and recall his impact on contemporary music.
MESSAGE FROM IGGY: “David’s friendship was the light of my life. I never met such a brilliant person. He was the best there is. – Iggy Pop”
— Iggy Pop (@IggyPop) January 11, 2016
“David’s death came as a complete surprise, as did nearly everything else about him. I feel a huge gap now.
“We knew each other for over 40 years, in a friendship that was always tinged by echoes of Pete and Dud. Over the last few years – with him living in New York and me in London – our connection was by email. We signed off with invented names: some of his were mr showbiz, milton keynes, rhoda borrocks and the duke of ear.
“About a year ago we started talking about Outside – the last album we worked on together. We both liked that album a lot and felt that it had fallen through the cracks. We talked about revisiting it, taking it somewhere new. I was looking forward to that.
“I received an email from him seven days ago. It was as funny as always, and as surreal, looping through word games and allusions and all the usual stuff we did. It ended with this sentence: ‘Thank you for our good times, brian. they will never rot’. And it was signed ‘Dawn’.
“I realise now he was saying goodbye.” — Brian Eno
— Madonna (@Madonna) January 11, 2016
In NYC there is a yearly Bowie Ball when local musicians all perform a Bowie song. It happens every year and this next one will be a sad and extremely heartfelt evening for everyone.
Who doesn’t love Bowie? A visionary artist, musician, actor, a completely renaissance man who has given us a long list of songs like “Heroes,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Young Americans,” “Diamond Dogs,” “The Jean Genie,” and many, many more, and some memorable film performances like The Man Who Fell to Earth,Basquiat, Labyrinth, The Hunger.
I can’t say enough things about David Bowie to show how much I love him. When the Low album was out and Iggy Pop was about to tour, David played keyboards in Iggy’s band. They asked Blondie to open for them, and, as they say, the rest is history. Without this visionary and his friend Iggy Pop where would Blondie be today? Silly question and one that can’t be answered really, but there is no doubt in my mind that Bowie played a big part in our future successes. As for now, love you David Bowie. xx
What a honor, what a soul. David Bowie, Spirit of Gold. RIP.
— Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) January 11, 2016
David Bowie was a true innovator, a true creative. May he rest in peace —- #RIPDavidBowie
— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) January 11, 2016
David Bowie. Our greatest, gone and here forever. A world’s heart breaks. #Bowie
— Alison Moyet (@AlisonMoyet) January 11, 2016
“David’s fearlessness at headlong swan-diving into the unknown was astounding, inspiring, and freeing. For me to experience that daring creative spirit first hand was pure magic and a great gift. Even at 68, his true passion for creativity and daring artistry, brought him to yet another new edge. Who else continues to make such penetrating music for such a long span of time? He created a universe all his own.” – Maria Schneider
There will never be another David Bowie. R.I.P.
— UK Music (@UK_Music) January 11, 2016
Oh my God not David Bowie
— Diane Warren (@Diane_Warren) January 11, 2016
I don’t want to hear about the stupid fashion at the Golden Globes who gives a fuck I want to play David Bowie records. Unreal
— Diane Warren (@Diane_Warren) January 11, 2016
I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of re-invention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) January 11, 2016
“A piece of my heart has broken. Not only was David a passionate supporter of my career but more importantly a very…
“David Bowie was one of the band’s earliest supporters and champions. He not only created the world that made it possible for our band to exist, he welcomed us into it with grace and warmth. We will take to the grave the moments we shared; talking, playing music and collaborating as some of the most profound and memorable moments of our lives. A true artist even in his passing, the world is more bright and mysterious because of him, and we will continue to shout prayers into the atmosphere he created.”
Oh this is terrible news. We lost an extremely important and influential artist. David Bowie has been a huge inspiration and will be missed.
— LINDA PERRY (@RealLindaPerry) January 11, 2016
— Equity (@EquityUK) January 11, 2016
RIP to a true legend. David Bowie pic.twitter.com/hAfuRb67nv
— Randy Jackson (@YO_RANDYJACKSON) January 11, 2016
The entirety of my David Bowie gestalt begins and ends with this movie right here. Peace Out! pic.twitter.com/g8pfQvFEeD
— Lupe Fiasco (@LupeFiasco) January 11, 2016
I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) January 11, 2016
He never seemed of this earth. Now he’s left it. He bent rules, gender, genres, and our minds. RIP David Bowie. One. Of. A. Kind.
— josh groban (@joshgroban) January 11, 2016
I feel like the wind has been knocked out of me – I was not ready for this. RIP Bowie.
— Al Yankovic (@alyankovic) January 11, 2016
David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 11, 2016
It feels like we lost something elemental, as if an entire color is gone. #DavidBowie
— Carrie Brownstein (@Carrie_Rachel) January 11, 2016
RIP David . I loved your music. I loved you. One of the greatest performance artists to have ever lived. #sorrow
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) January 11, 2016
RIP David Bowie – someone who was connected to the source
— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) January 11, 2016
David Bowie, you will be sorely missed. Bowie’s “Changes” and the Ziggy story songs were a major influence for me. pic.twitter.com/N1nkD9h82W
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) January 11, 2016
Nearly brought to tears by sudden news of @DavidBowieReal David Bowie’s passing RIP
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) January 11, 2016
So much love to @DavidBowieReal ‘s family right now. what a great loss.
— sia (@Sia) January 11, 2016
So bummed 2 hear about David Bowie passing. I have loved him since I saw The Labyrinth as a kid! Great music & a super innovative artist!
— Kelly Clarkson (@kelly_clarkson) January 11, 2016
Rest in peace, David. pic.twitter.com/9Kv9yM9igh
— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) January 11, 2016
RIP DAVID BOWIE. Thx for showing me that you can live many lives inside one lifetime. A lot of hope in that. Ps, You remind me of the babe.
— hayley from Paramore (@yelyahwilliams) January 11, 2016
rest in peace David Bowie .
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 11, 2016
— Brian Eno (@dark_shark) January 11, 2016
As I get older my respect 4 Bowie grows.He transcended every genre & generation during his career-We lost a good one pic.twitter.com/WcuyypsOGc
— The Squadfather (@diplo) January 11, 2016
Bowie was one of the bravest artists of the century. A true Icon
— ADAM LAMBERT (@adamlambert) January 11, 2016
“We are all Bowie’s children. He inspired us and changed our lives. Love, gratitude and respect always for him and his work. Our truest condolences and sympathy to his family. Neil and Chris x” — Pet Shop Boys
David Bowie was a huge influence on me throughout my life. The original star-man returned to the stars…
— florence welch (@flo_tweet) January 11, 2016
Thank you for everything you brought us. RIP David Bowie xx
— florence welch (@flo_tweet) January 11, 2016
— Peter Gabriel (@itspetergabriel) January 11, 2016
— Nile Rodgers (@nilerodgers) January 11, 2016
“Seriously, what could you say to the man who changed everything, and made anything possible?” – John Taylor https://t.co/9b5S5Og3vT
— Duran Duran (@duranduran) January 11, 2016
RIP David Bowie. Thank you for the music. Our hearts and prayers are with your family and friends at this time. pic.twitter.com/X4qYdeChZe
— Venture Bros. Blog (@VentureBrosBlog) January 11, 2016
Even the age he died at is cool
— Joe Randazzo (@Randazzoj) January 11, 2016
Please could every radio station around the globe just play David Bowie music today – I think the world owes him that.
— Eddie Izzard (@eddieizzard) January 11, 2016
Something kind of hit me today ….. The bloke whose songs got me through bad times and provided the name of a… https://t.co/qCVaXBj0UG
— Steve Ignorant (@steveigs) January 11, 2016
Pat Metheny on collaborating with Bowie:
“Working with David Bowie on “This Is Not America” was an incredible experience. I had written the song as the main theme for the score for “The Falcon and the Snowman”. After traveling to Mexico City where the filming was taking place and watching Sean Penn and Timothy Hutton do a few scenes, I went back to my room and the whole piece came very quickly.
Later while in London recording the score, John Schlesinger, the director of the film, suggested a collaboration with David Bowie for a version of the song to go over the final credits. David came to a screening of the film and I sat near him as he saw the picture for the first time. He had a yellow legal pad on his lap and was writing constantly. At the end of the film, he had a list of maybe 30 (brilliant) song titles that he had thought of while watching. One of them was “This Is Not America”, a line from the film.
David took the music with him and a month later the core of my band and I traveled to Montreux, Switzerland to join him in his studio to record the single. In the meantime, David had taken my original demo, added an additional drum machine part and while keeping the form and big chunks of the original melody, added an additional vocal line on top of the “A” section to which he had written those haunting and evocative lyrics. To me his words make “This is Not America” one of the greatest protest songs ever.
Watching him do his vocal was something I will never forget. I can only say that it was masterful – kind of like the feeling I have had whenever I have had the chance to be around a great jazz musician who carried a one-of-a-kind type presence that filled every note that came out of them. He was really fast. He asked if any of us could sing (we couldn’t/can’t!), so he did all the background vocals himself, kind of transforming into what seemed to be two or three different people as he did each part.
Throughout the whole experience, he was kind, generous and contrary to so many aspects of his various public personas, very normal and straight-ahead. My main impression was that he was extremely professional about everything that he did, that he really wanted to do a great job with the tune and to get a great singing performance and track down as quickly and spontaneously as possible.
And it doesn’t surprise me at all that his last recording includes some of the best contemporary players in New York, especially the fantastic Donny McCaslin. During our time together he expressed a real appreciation and knowledge of this music and saxophone players in particular. He carried the kind of broad view of music and art that was inspiring to me as a collaborator and a fan. I feel very lucky to have had the chance to be around him.”
Joe Elliott, of Def Leppard, on being a fan of Bowie:
“I heard the news today oh boy …. And I can’t believe what I’ve heard …. David Bowie is dead. He’s been a massive part of my life since I first heard Starman in 1972. So many of us came in at that moment, myself, Bono, Boy George, Morrissey, Gary Kemp, Jim Kerr, Brett Anderson, Pete Murphy, Gary Numan, millions of fans, all very different from each other but all with one thing in common, the belief that a true rock & roll alien had landed on earth & he was ours. I own every record he ever made, he was plastered all over my bedroom wall as a kid, he was my very first bootleg, his CDs take up 2 whole shelves in my collection. I have personally recorded over 25 of his songs either on my own, with Leppard or with the Cybernauts. I met him 2 or 3 times & always found him charming & engaging. It is said, never meet your heroes, they will let you down. Bullshit. He was open, funny, a good listener !! & when myself & Phil joined David on stage with Queen, Mick Ronson & Ian Hunter at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Gig in 1992 it became one of the most memorable musical moments of my life. I can’t believe he’s gone. A huge whole has opened up in my heart & it feels like my youth has been further ripped away from me. At least I have a lifetime of his music to comfort me, as we all have, as he left behind one hell of a legacy. The Starman waiting in the sky waits no longer. Rest in Peace David Bowie and thank you for giving us believers something to believe in.”
Ian Hunter, frontman for Mott the Hoople, which had a top 40 hit with the Bowie-written song “All the Young Dudes”:
“David wrote some wonderful songs. I was lucky enough to sing one of them — and it changed my life. My heart goes out to his wife, son and daughter. R.I.P. David.”
“It’s hard to know exactly what to say when you hear of someone’s passing. I know that I have certainly lost one of my life-time Rock and Roll theatrical comrades in David Bowie. We both started in theatrical Rock N Roll at the same time, and in some cases we challenged each other to go farther and push the envelope. The loss of David Bowie will be hard to swallow for everyone. He leaves behind a rich history of musical and cultural experimentation and invention that will rarely be seen again, if ever. He was one of a kind. The man that fell to Earth has gone back to the planet that he came from. Condolences to his family and fans.”