During one of the many interviews I gave the day we heard that David Bowie died, I remarked that his death was different from Elvis, Lennon, Cobain and Jackson. “At 69, he wasn’t exactly old,” I said, “but as one of my friends said, he was definitely of ‘actuarial age.'”
What I was trying to say, I think, was that we’re entering an era when we’re going to see more and more of the legendary rock gods shuffle off this mortal coil. They won’t die of drug overdoses, assassinations or suicide but of natural causes. Of old age. To get all Wagnerian about it, this is Götterdämmerung, the twilight of the gods. Better get used to it, I guess.
Neil McCormick writes in The Telegraph:
With David Bowie’s final curtain-call, we are witnessing the end of an era, as the original stars of the explosive rock culture that convulsed the world in the second half of the 20th century are slowly extinguished. We are entering the Twilight of the Rock Gods.
Deaths of the famous compel us all to contemplate the meaning of our own lives and times, and the deaths of rock stars carry a very particular sting. Its most iconic figures – those great, symbolic archetypes of an age whose art, lifestyle and spirit was substantially defined by the egotistic and energetic values of youth – have turned into old men.
Whatever your reaction to Bowie’s death (the most elegantly stage-managed exit in pop history), we can be sure of one thing: that there is more of this to come. And for a while, at least. I don’t want to tempt fate – indeed, I try not to even think about it – but when Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards eventually shuffle off this mortal coil, we may have to mark the entire rock and roll era over. Who knows what forces of collective shock and sadness that will unleash.