- 10 Jan 20
A dominant artistic force for five decades, David Bowie meant so many different things to so many different people. On the fourth anniversary of his death, we revisit our 2016 tribute to Bowie – talking to the Irishman who served as his musical director, Gerry Leonard, and recalling the Hot Press interviews with everyone from Morrissey and Nile Rodgers to Chris Hadfield and Brandon Flowers, in which his talents were celebrated.
It’s arguable as to who had the busier Christmas: Santa or the Grim Reaper. In the space of five extremely depressing days, we lost Lemmy, John Bradbury from The Specials, celebrated Northern Irish musician Mudd Wallace and Natalie Cole. Hopes of 2016 bringing a respite were cruelly dashed at 6.30am on Monday January 10, when it was announced on his website that David Bowie had died at home in New York following an 18-month battle with cancer that only the most innermost of his circle had been privy too.
Irrational hopes that the short message – “David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family” – was the work of some sickfuck hacker were quickly dashed when his son, Duncan Jones, messaged a few hours later: “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true.”
So, that was it. The catsuited guy who at a shade after 7.45pm on July 6, 1972 had changed my life by performing ‘Starman’ on Top Of The Pops with the equally exotic Spiders From Mars was dead. Both the adult and nine-year-old me, whose somewhat monochrome existance had suddenly switched into Technicolour that summer’s night, felt like they’d been punched in the gut.