Guest post: Today is David Bowie birthday. He proved to be too good for this world.

[A guest post by Gilles LeBlanc that first appeared with Toronto Mike. -AC]

Were he still with us, Bowie would have turned 74 today. Has he really been five years since he died?

Remember how everyone thought Madonna was the queen bee for “reinventing” herself every album cycle? She learned that $#!% from the original music shapeshifter, creating distinct personalities throughout the ’70s that should really be treated as individual artists.

And even though his health effectively forced him to stop touring in 2004, he literally kept releasing music until the day he died – I recall having Blackstar sent to me digitally the day it came out, thinking “cool, I’ll give this a listen next week”, only to then have the alternative world he effectively created turn on its head in mourning.

If Neil Young is the Godfather of Grunge and Iggy Pop the Godfather of Punk, Bowie has to be considered the Davy Crockett of the wild frontier that is alternative before the term ever came into being. Along with The Velvet Underground’s. But more than an artifact to pretend to admire in a museum, Bowie’s catalogue embraces the unknown and its endless possibilities, along with what for a long time was considered sexual deviancy. More than a few people found the courage to love and celebrate who they are through Bowie’s different stages.

We don’t need more tragedies in this already crazy world to appreciate hearing the full version of “Heroes” again with its message of hope and overcoming barriers. We miss you, Mr. Bowie. Here’s to the spirit of your music living on forever.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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