Graphic by Marian Hill

This past week celebrated the coming and going of one of music’s greatest icons, David Bowie. The English musician celebrated his final birth two days before his death, but he did not leave us with nothing. To commemorate this time, the final piece of music released under Bowie’s name “No Plan.” The EP and short album serve as conclusion to his career, one that addressed his death head on. His final productions “Blackstar,” “No Plan” and both accompanying music videos, bring up the idea of Bowie’s mortality and ending being clear to all though it was hard to admit.

Mercury Records

Born David Robert Jones, the legend had small beginnings with bands that never made it too far. It is interesting to see the progression of his song-making record. His first solo album, which can still be found on Spotify, is simply called “David Bowie” and was release in 1967. The tone is whimsically British, with songs like “Uncle Arthur,” “Please Mr. Gravedigger” and “Maid of Bond Street.” Nevertheless, it serves a precursor to the kind of lyrical and storytelling genius Bowie would some day prove to be in later productions with Radio Corporation of America (RCA), the record label he stayed with for most of his career.

Photo by Masayoshi Sukita

Bowie’s level of production and creativity on his music videos were always phenomenal. Starting off with “Life on Mars?” — which is one of his greatest hits and featured in Wes Andersen’s “Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” — the music video is simple and that is what makes it great. The only thing on screen is David Bowie’s blue suit and blue eyelids, and both the song and the music video are staples of his career.

The music video “Fashion,” a prelude to his “Blackstar” music video, is another iconic creation but not so popular. It can come off as a little jarring because of the strange seizure-like dance moves, but the deeper story behind the surface is something to behold. “Loving the Alien,” his song that critiques religion, is otherworldly and makes abstract religious references through marriage ceremonies and extraterrestrials. Other honorable mentions go to the last three music videos he made, “Blackstar,” “Lazarus” and “No Plan.” If one was not sad enough about the death of David Bowie, watching these video will make grief sky rocket.

RCA

David Bowie cannot be described as just the career he had. He was, and will always be, never less than a legend. To learn about him is to learn about the radical movement of art, life and thought through the creative process of one man to represent generations of humanity.