Celebrities have offered an outpouring of support in the wake of the news of David Bowie’s passing. Brian Eno, who Bowie famously worked with on the Berlin trilogy and most recently on 1995’s Outside, gave the following tribute:
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.
A number of Bowie’s collaborators and friends have also expressed their sympathies, among them Iggy Pop, Tony Visconti, Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, and Pete Townshend:
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
As John & I had very few friends, we felt David was as close as family. Sweet memories will stay with us forever. pic.twitter.com/WoZsztnm4E
— Yoko Ono (@yokoono) January 11, 2016
Paul McCartney said the following in a statement:
Very sad news to wake up to on this raining morning. David was a great star and I treasure the moments we had together. His music played a very strong part in British musical history and I’m proud to think of the huge influence he has had on people all around the world.
I send my deepest sympathies to his family and will always remember the great laughs we had through the years. His star will shine in the sky forever.
Pete Townshend shared a statement via the Who’s official website:
Woke up to the awful news that my lovely friend David Bowie passed away. I am so deeply sad, but he just completed a radical and audacious new album, and that is a great thing. Personally I am grateful to him for doing it.
For those who were his fans he was a charismatic and exotic creature and still gloriously beautiful even as he approached 70. But face to face he was funny, clever, well-read, excited by the arts, and really good company.
In a Japanese restaurant we once ate tiny live crabs sent over to our table by a businessman fan. David said we must try, out of courtesy. I wouldn’t have done it with anyone else on the planet. Delicious, of course.
He was simply a joy to be around, so good at making everyone feel at ease. I’m sorry to hear it was cancer that got him. I knew he had been ill for several years but didn’t know the details. My thoughts now go to his family and close ones, and to so many of his fans who will be beyond distraught today. We have lost a monumental figurehead of the British arts scene. We have also lost a wonderful clown whose combined sense of mischief and creativity delightedly touched our hearts. David Bowie was my Salvador Dali. He was also one facet of my perfect Ace Face.
The members of Arcade Fire, who performed with Bowie at 2005’s New York’s Fashion Rocks and later enlisted him on “Reflektor,” shared statements. Frontman Win Butler said:
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. I will take to the grave the moments we shared; talking, playing music and collaborating as some of the most profound and memorable moments of my life. 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.
Will Butler wrote:
I met David Bowie when I was twenty-two, and like a baby goose imprinting on some fantastical winged creature, I took him as the model of what I ought to grow up to be. He is my ideal adult human artist.
He wore beautiful cologne. He read all world literature. He took time for everyone in the room. He remembered people’s names. He wore a plain T-shirt to a nice dinner (Owen Pallett writes about that dinner here). He sought out new music and evangelized when he liked something.
Arcade Fire played two songs with him for TV — his song “Five Years” and our song “Wake Up.” Earlier on the show, he sang “Life on Mars,” wearing a wrist bandage and a fake black eye. I saw him build a character and modulate that character with his voice and with small movements. I saw the distance between the artist off stage and on, and that the distance was an artistic creation, too — something to be played with.
I hear him playing with that distance on Blackstar, and it’s stunning and my God it’s heartbreaking. I wanted to see the next twenty years of David Bowie making art.
and Richard Reed Parry offered:
As far as I can tell, David Bowie was the first musician artist (or at least the one visible to us within the last couple of generations) who seemed to do… everything. Songwriting, dancing, painting, album production, acting, fashion, mime, gender bending… the fact of all this genre-combining, I only realize now, has had a truly tremendous impact on me personally as an artist, musician and composer, and obviously an equal and greater impact on so many others inside and outside of so many artistic fields. His methods, aesthetics and overall artistic legacy seems to have enabled so many.
To be living in an era during which the separations and connections between genres and art forms have been blurred to the extent that they have, and to be able to point to singular figures like David who have catalyzed and spawned such marvellous blurring to take place is a very, very special thing.
As many times today as I’ve felt sad about Bowie’s passing, I’ve also been reminded of something Brian Eno wrote: “Encourage new hybrids”. I can think of no one who embodied this ethos more perfectly than David. So long friend, I’m so glad to have crossed your path occasionally. Enjoy your travels.
Here’s R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe…
Right now, it feels as if the solar system
is off it’s axis, as if one of our
main planetary anchors has
lost it’s orbit. That said—I am
certain that wherever Bowie is
now—I want to be there someday.
…and Mike Mills:
I was lucky enough to sit next to David Bowie at dinner at our friend Claude’s home in Switzerland in 1999. He was kind, funny, friendly and shared some fascinating and unusual thoughts on the upcoming millennium, and how he had become a devotee of things digital, doing all his writing and art on his computer. I bought a book/box of digital lithos of him, Eno and the Minotaur of legend. To be able to see the lovely and warm person behind all of that amazing body of work was a gift I will never forget. R.I.P., Starman, and thank you.
Nile Rodgers spoke to Yahoo! and here is a an exerpt:
When people ask me about the most important people in my musical world, one, of course, was my musical partner, Bernard Edwards, with whom I formed Chic. The other was David Bowie.
The Bowie I knew was a man who saw the world in the most unique way. Bowie would see the world we saw, and then he would see another world. The way he would describe something to me was in a visual way, even though we were interpreting it through music. “The Picasso of Rock ’N’ Roll” – that’s how I always referred to him. Any time I’d have to introduce him, I would call him that, and he would get a little flustered, because he thinks a great deal of Pablo Picasso, as do I. But I think that way of David Bowie – that’s how extraordinary he was. And at the time in my life that I was persona non grata, when no one would work with me because of “Disco Sucks,” this guy, who was considered one of the great, innovative rockers, picked a disco guy, who nobody wanted to work with, to collaborate with, and we wound up making the biggest record of his career, Let’s Dance.
Revisit Bowie’s legacy in our countdown of his albums.