For many people, David Bowie was the archetypical rock star. Bowie had hits across six decades and no fewer than 36 albums, 11 of which hit the number one spot across the world. Bowie was renowned as an improviser and an artist who constantly reinvented himself. Sadly, Bowie passed away back in January of this year, and his death has been marked by numerous artists, some more successfully than others, releasing tribute singles to the great man. Bowie was a multiple award winner across his long career, so it is safe to say that Bowie knows a thing or two about music.
According to the Guardian, Bowie’s longtime pianist Mike Garson has said that Bowie was a huge fan of the young New Zealand singer Lorde. It seems that Bowie wasn’t just a fan of Lorde — apparently he saw her as “the future of music.” Lorde was selected to perform the acclaimed tribute to Bowie at this year’s Brit awards, and Garson said that “she was the perfect choice.”
“David really liked Lorde, and he felt like she was the future of music, and they had a few wonderful moments together. Some of David’s family members and David’s management had some suggestions she’d be the right one. They wanted to bring the next generation in.”
Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, appreciated Lorde’s performance, tweeting afterwards that the tribute was “just… beautiful. Thank you.”
NME report that Garson was effusive in his praise of Lorde’s performance of Bowie’s “Life on Mars.”
“It was an amazing, momentous experience, and she really did justice to him. She was so nervous. She actually said if she didn’t sing the song to David, she couldn’t have gotten through it.”
While Bowie may have passed from us, his musical legacy has not and probably never will. Ultimate Classic Rock reveal that an unreleased Bowie track from 1970 has surfaced and is available as a free download as a tribute to Bowie’s career. The song, called “To Be Love,” was recorded by Bowie in 1970 but was never released. The songwriter and engineer Ron de Strulle uncovered the song, recorded in L.A., and has made it available as a free download at Mind Body Network.
De Strulle apparently cut five demos with Bowie at a time when Bowie’s management was hawking him around the major labels. He reveals that Bowie wanted to create a variety of signature styles that would demonstrate his versatility to the labels.
“David brought ideas and lyrics and we cut some rough tracks. If I played a few bars on the keyboard, he could see the whole picture and he could integrate it into his own work.
“David could pick up an instrument and play anything. He would say ‘I never played this instrument before,’ and then he would cut loose and play. Pure genius.”
Apparently, Bowie’s musical talent even extended to playing the drums. Bowie came up with a rhythm that he thought would be perfect for “To Be Love.” De Strulle says that Bowie loved the simplicity of the songs chords and melodies and said that it “brought Billie Holiday into the 1970s.”
During that trip to L.A., Bowie signed with RCA and went on to release no fewer than 11 albums in 10 years on that label. Many would argue that these were Bowie’s most creative years, and during that decade, Bowie released what are now regarded as seminal albums. Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, and Aladdin Sane were released back-to-back during those early RCA years.
In comparison to Bowie, Lorde has released a solitary album, 2013’s Pure Heroine. It seems barely credible that on the strength of that album, Lorde has won 31 major industry awards from an incredible 82 nominations.
It is clear that Lorde is a very highly-regarded newcomer, but if she is ever to approach the stature of David Bowie in the music industry, she has more than a little catching up to do.
[Photo by Robb D. Cohen/Invision/AP]