I'm not going to pretend that there are words I can write that will do justice explaining the importance of David Bowie. You'll read a hundred articles on his life, music, legacy and death but none will suffice. All you need to have is his music and what it meant to you.
I was eight years old in 1981, just starting to discover the joys of music and what it did for my soul. Ok, maybe it took a few years to understand the "soul" part but I knew I liked music a lot and wanted to listen to as much of it as possible. I heard music on my mothers radio and record player in my house on most days but I really starting learning about music in the Brooklyn, NY basement of my friend Jimmy's house on E 64th St. Jimmy had two older brothers who were always listening to very loud, very cool music. From what I remember it was mostly The Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones. I also heard Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden in this basement and although I'd come to view those bands as some of my all time favorites, at eight years old and in Catholic school, I think I was just scared to death at first!
There was one day that stood out over all others though. It was the day that instead of hearing the Dead or the Stones, I heard David Bowie. More specifically I heard "Space Oddity" and it changed my life. I don't know if it was the subtle darkness, the melody, the calming sound and feel or the images the song was creating, but it sounded and felt like nothing I'd heard before. It turned me on to a brilliant world of music by Bowie and all of the artists he influenced to this day. It allowed me to like punk, metal, r&b, rock and roll and other genres that you're not supposed to like at the same time. It opened my musical mind with no possibility of closing it. And for that, all I can say to David Bowie is Thank You and enjoy the galactic trip you're now on.