But everything that made Bowie my hero — it’s all there in “Young Americans,” from 1974, a song of almost bottomless compassion. He belts it in his tortured Elvis voice, over grand glam-funk, a pushing-thirty limey rock star full of yearning and affection (and lust, lots of that) for the young Americans he sees around him. He wishes he could be as real and open-hearted as they are, but those kids are the song that makes him break down and cry. Especially the two lovers on the road, all the way from Washington, who pose a question anyone can relate to: “We’ve lived for just these 20 years — do we have to die for the 50 more?” Bowie’s answer was no, and he proved it — he kept expanding and mutating right up to the edge of 70, celebrating his 69th birthday with an album that lived up to all the restless spirit he’d chased his whole career. He assured his fans we didn’t have to give up on life, didn’t have to play it safe, didn’t have to fall into a rut — and he proved it was possible in his own music. (If he says he can do it, he can do it — he don’t make false claims.) When I saw him live for the last time, at Madison Square Garden in 2003, he did three songs from Outside, a forgotten (and frankly awful) 1995 album he was fully aware nobody liked. Yet he was just obeying his code: a whole career without a predictable moment. What a trip to be a fan of his. Thanks, David Bowie.
Pitchfork: Throughout his five-decade career, David Bowie left an unprecedented mark on rock’n’roll and kept the world guessing with his constant sonic and aesthetic metamorphoses. He pioneered the idea of outlandish personas for artists, beginning with the titular alien from his breakthrough 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. After widening the scope of art-rock with his Berlin trilogy in the 1970s, Bowie embraced new wave in the 1980s, then flirted with industrial rock in the 1990s. With the jazzy Blackstar, released a few days before his death in 2016, the Starman bid farewell the only way he could: with a masterwork.
Wikipedia: After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single "Ashes to Ashes", its parent album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), and "Under Pressure", a 1981 collaboration with Queen. He reached his commercial peak in 1983 with Let's Dance; the album's title track topped both UK and US charts. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including industrial and jungle. He also continued acting; his roles included Major Jack Celliers in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), Jareth the Goblin King in Labyrinth (1986), Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (2006), among other film and television appearances and cameos. He stopped touring after 2004 and his last live performance was at a charity event in 2006. In 2013, Bowie returned from a decade-long recording hiatus with The Next Day. He remained musically active until he died of liver cancer two days after the release of his final album, Blackstar (2016).
RollingStone: One of the most original and singular voices in rock & roll for nearly five decades, Bowie championed mystery, rebellion and curiosity in his music. Ever unpredictable, the mercurial artist and fashion icon wore many guises throughout his life. Beginning life as a dissident folk-rock spaceman, he would become an androgynous, orange-haired, glam-rock alien (Ziggy Stardust), a well-dressed, blue-eyed funk maestro (the Thin White Duke), a drug-loving art rocker (the Berlin albums), a new-wave hit-maker, a hard rocker, a techno enthusiast and a jazz impressionist. His flair for theatricality won him a legion of fans.