We've all suffered a devastating loss with the death of our own beautiful Goblin King on Jan. 10, and, to be honest, I still haven't figured out how to cope. I think looking back at David Bowie's first hit single might help, though. It's sure to only make me feel sadder, especially when juxtaposed with Bowie's last public performance, but part of honoring the late singer is about really celebrating just how long and incredible his career was. Because, here's the thing — many of you reading this, myself included, may not have been alive during a time when David Bowie wasn't famous. He's changed his persona and his style more times than I can count, but he's been a constant, benevolent, wickedly creative presence in the background of my whole lifetime. Until now.
But, instead of crying into my pillow all day about how there will never be another Bowie album, which, let me tell you, is exactly what I feel like doing right now, I'm gonna squeeze into a Ziggy Stardust-style space suit, hop into my time machine, and go back to the very beginning. And it's a staggeringly long way back! We're headed all the way to 1969, when David Bowie's song "Space Oddity" first put him on the map in the U.K. by cracking the top five on the Singles Chart. It starts with that now-iconic phrase, "Ground control to Major Tom," and there's our little baby-faced, spiky-haired boy, changing the game forever with everything from his look to his sound. Check out the video below for a serious blast from the past.
Incredible, right? He's really on a different level. But, even though "Space Oddity" is technically Bowie's first hit, his popularity didn't cross over into the United States until a few years later with 1975's "Fame," which, along with the entire album Young Americans, seared him into our collective consciousness forever. Here's that delightful strutting Gumby performing "Fame" live on Soul Train, with pure waves of joy coming off him.
Oh, man. So hard to watch, now that he's gone, but it's also so incredible that four and a half decades later, this genius was still churning out his art and loving life and staying true to himself and his creativity. David Bowie had it from the beginning, with "Space Oddity" and "Fame."