Hours before David Bowie would have turned 70, a new video was released for one of his final songs, “No Plan.” The video for “No Plan” off of Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, makes reference to his role in the feature film The Man Who Fell To Earth and uses an eerie instrumentation that Blackstar was renowned for.
Bowie passed away on January 10, 2016, from liver cancer. The prolific musician died just two days after his 69th birthday, which also marked the release of his 25th full length album, Blackstar. The video for “No Plan” was released mere hours before Bowie’s 2017 birthday. If Bowie were still alive, he would be 70 years old.
“No Plan” is one of many releases in remembrance of David Bowie’s life and achievements. In addition to the music video, a new documentary about the decade-spanning pop icon debuted on BBC2 on Saturday. David Bowie: The Last Five Years explores the last five years of Bowie’s career and his battle with liver cancer.
David Bowie: The Last Five Years offers intimate insights into the artist’s life, his dedication to his final album, Blackstar, and his first stage play, Lazarus. The Guardian reports that the documentary also reveals the surprising news that Bowie did not know he had liver cancer until three months before he died. Even after the star’s diagnosis, Bowie remained hopeful about his recovery, but kept the cancer news private. Bowie only told his closest friends and family members about the diagnosis.
Blackstar has been considered Bowie’s magnum opus by many fans and critics since its release in January, 2016. The first video released for the album, “Lazarus” offered a dark, artistic look into the mind of Bowie. At the time, the public didn’t know that Bowie was dying, but “Lazarus” had a melancholy tone that featured Bowie in a hospital bed singing, “Look up here, I’m in heaven.”
According to the director of “Lazarus,” Johan Renck, the video was not intended to be a nod to Bowie’s death or a message to his fans.
“David said: ‘I just want to make it a simple performance video,'” said the director. Renck said that he came up with the idea for “Lazarus” a week before Bowie heard his cancer diagnosis and had decided on the imagery to reflect the biblical connotations of “Lazarus.”
“I immediately said ‘the song is called Lazarus, you should be in the bed.’ To me it had to do with the biblical aspect of it… it had nothing to do with him being ill,” Renck explained about Bowie’s song “Lazarus.” “I found out later that, the week we were shooting, it was when he was told it was over, they were ending treatments and that his illness had won.”
In addition to debuting David Bowie: The Last Five Years, BBC4 will also broadcast rarely seen performances from Bowie. There is also a planned listening party for the public to enjoy their favorite Bowie albums.
The documentary, David Bowie: The Last Five Years is a continuation of 2013 documentary by Francis Whately. David Bowie: Five Years, the original documentary, examined Bowie’s major achievements between 1971 and 1983. Director Francis Whately decided to show Bowie’s final years because even as the artist was getting older, Bowie continued to throw himself into his work.
“This period hadn’t been explored by anybody so it was very interesting territory,” Whately said. “In some ways he seems to have worked harder in that period than at almost any other time, except the beginning of the 1970s when he was producing Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dory, and Aladdin Sane.”
Bowie’s death at the beginning of 2016 was considered one of the most monumental losses in the music world. Although the renowned performer has been gone for almost a year, his music lives on with “No Plan” and his previously released albums.
[Featured Image by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images]