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Ground Control To David Bowie: Remembering An Icon

Remembering the great David Bowie: the man, the music, the icon.

People gather next to tributes placed near a mural of British singer David Bowie by artist Jimmy C, in Brixton, south London, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. Bowie, the other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship, nonconformity, striking visuals and a genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust, died of cancer Sunday aged 69. He was born in Brixton. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

People gather next to tributes placed near a mural of British singer David Bowie by artist Jimmy C, in Brixton, south London, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. Bowie, the other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship, nonconformity, striking visuals and a genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust, died of cancer Sunday aged 69. He was born in Brixton. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

David Bowie seemed ageless. An icon beyond the space and time he sang about. A pop artist who was always new, always changing. But he knew otherwise, finally. David Bowie died Sunday at 69 after a fight with cancer. He left new music that speaks directly to the death he faced. And a life’s work that speaks to much more. This hour On Point, beyond boundaries.  We’re looking at the life and work of David Bowie.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Peter Doggett, music critic and cultural historian. Author of the book “The Man Who Sold the World.” (@peter_doggett)

Tim Riley, professor of journalism at Emerson College. Author and rock culture expert. Author of “Hard Rain,” “Lennon” and “Fever.” (@triley60)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Guardian: David Bowie: the man who thrilled the world — “Almost from the start, Bowie’s career raised questions to which a definitive answer seemed elusive. If he was, as he loudly claimed in 1971, gay, then what was the deal with the very visible wife and the son he’d just written a touching little song about? If he was, as hedramatically announced from the stage of the Hammersmith Odeon in July 1973, retiring – either from music, or from live performance, or from the character of Ziggy Stardust – then what was he doing back onstage in London three months later, belting out The Jean Genie in full Ziggy drag?”

New York Times: David Bowie Dies at 69; He Transcended Music, Art and Fashion — “Mr. Bowie wrote songs, above all, about being an outsider: an alien, a misfit, a sexual adventurer, a faraway astronaut. His music was always a mutable blend: rock, cabaret, jazz and what he called ‘plastic soul,’ but it was suffused with genuine soul. He also captured the drama and longing of everyday life, enough to give him No. 1 pop hits like ‘Let’s Dance.'”

Slate: Why David Bowie’s Androgyny Was a Rare, Precious Gift — “Bowie leaned wholeheartedly into the contradictions he embodied in his gender and sexuality: A man in a dress and makeup isn’t necessarily gay, see, and a man who marries one of the world’s most dazzling female supermodels isn’t necessarily straight. He wasn’t quietly androgynous, nor genderless, smack in the middle of butch and femme. Bowie was flamboyant about both his masculine and feminine sides; he was all of the things at once, flying in the face of easy definitions.”

Playlist

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