Even if you’re not familiar with music by David Bowie, there’s a good chance you like an artist that has been heavily influenced by the late musician. The British singer and avant garde artist passed away this week at the age of 69, but his impact will continue to be felt for generations who found the courage to be their own Space Man.
There are the obvious artists that have been influenced by Bowie over time, including Depeche Mode, Joy Division, and The Smiths, but his impact continues to be felt on newer artists as well. Today we’re looking at some of the artists we can thank Bowie for.
Much will be celebrating David Bowie this Sunday, January 17th with a special 24-hour marathon dedicated to the legendary icon. Featuring two new specials, David Bowie: Five Years, a BBC documentary, and Bowie On Much, a collection of David Bowie videos and interviews, the marathon will begin at 6 a.m. and run throughout the day in honour of the his extraordinary life as a musician and artist.
The godfather’s of grunge often covered Bowie’s song The Man Who Sold The World in concert and later famously played it during their MTV Unplugged Set. In his private journals, Kurt Cobain ranked Bowie’s album The Man Who Sold The World as one of his all time favourites. Bowie said that after the special, young fans would tell him they liked his Nirvana cover.
Not surprisingly, the theatrical Lady Gaga was heavily influenced by Bowie. She told The Hollywood Reporter “When I fell in love with David Bowie, when I was living on the Lower East Side, I always felt that his glamour was something he was using to express a message to people that was very healing for their souls. He is a true, true artist and I don’t know if I ever went, ‘Oh, I’m going to be that way like this,’ or if I arrived upon it slowly, realizing it was my calling and that’s what drew me to him.”
Frontman and solo artist Brandon Flowers credits David Bowie’s Changes as the inspiration he needed to pursue music. Flowers says that he took two classes in college and dropped out after hearing the single from Hunky Dory, which he says is the most important record to him personally. The Killers cover Bowie’s Moonage Daydream in concert and accidentally stole the bassline from Slow Burn for All These Things That I’ve Done.
In a Rolling Stone tribute written this week, Marilyn Manson speaks in depth about David Bowie’s influence on his career. In the touching and emotional letter, Manson, also known for his androgyny in his on-stage persona, writes, “But it wasn’t until my first real stay in Los Angeles, around 1997, that someone told me to take a moment to listen to something other than Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and Hunky Dory. So I went for a dizzying car ride through the Hollywood Hills and listened to ‘Diamond Dogs’. All of my nostalgia, instantly turned to awe. I was hearing him sing about fiction as a mask to show his naked soul. This changed my life forever.”
Madonna was one of the first celebrities to take to Instagram on Monday after learning of Bowie’s death to offer her condolences. While accepting Bowie’s award when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, Madonna talked about her first time seeing Bowie in concert and what it meant to her.
Arcade Fire threw a New Orleans memorial parade for David Bowie today, a fitting tribute for a man who has influenced the Canadian band as much as he has. When Arcade Fire released their 2005 album Funeral, Bowie performed with the band, helping bring attention to the then little-known group. Bowie later performed on 2013’s Reflektor, lending his famous voice to backing vocals. Upon learning of his death this week, the band posted this message on their website: “David Bowie was one of the band’s earliest supporters and champions. He not only created the world that made it possible for our band to exist, he welcomed us into it with grace and warmth. A true artist even in his passing, the world is more bright and mysterious because of him, and we will continue to shout prayers into the atmosphere he created.”