The first Bowie song I remember distinctly was this one. I was at a Halloween party which, like all parties, I was very reluctant to attend. I was 17, and the party was at the very loosely supervised home of one of the guys from the hippie-ish "alternative" high school at which I was wasting my time. And through the thick pall of late-1970s-grade pot smoke and the testosterone roar of many teenage boys angling to impress a handful of teenage girls, I suddenly heard this song.
"Who the hell is that?" I asked my host.
"That's Bowie, man," Luke said, in a tone usually reserved for imparting ancient wisdom. "That's Bowie".
I bought the album the next day, bringing my total record collection up to five LPs (we were kinda poor.)
Over the years I have been to one live Bowie concert (Glass Spider) one live stage play in which he starred ("The Elephant Man" at the Blackstone, back when a trip to Chicago was an adventure) and collected every David Bowie album I could get my hands on, including the weird non-English imports from Wax Trax and Tower. I also had friendships which were deepened because we both really resonated with the music of David Bowie.
One of those friends passed away recently after a long absence from my life: he drowned far away and I found out by entirely by accident. Another vanished over the horizon after a long and difficult struggle with his demons, probably never to be heard from again. As for my records, well I had to part with them along with the bulk of my other material possessions after the Great Recession cleaned me out.
Loss is part of the bargain.
The memories are ours forever, and we have lived long enough to see Bowie's catalogue become digitally immortal and available to all of us, everywhere. - dg