For over fifty years David Bowie has taught us many things, about fashion, the birth of Ziggy Stardust, and about being innovative. He told us to dance and he told us he was afraid of Americans. He told us to turn and face the change but most of all he told us we could be heroes. If just for one day. And David Bowie knows because David Bowie had heroes too, he had people that inspired him when he was growing up. Maybe he didn’t want to be them but he certainly wanted some of what they had. He wanted to be recognized and appreciated for what he did. He wanted us to pay attention and he made us sit up.
Who at some stage in their life wasn’t affected growing up with people like that around you? We were all kindred spirits, we had heroes and our heroes had heroes too. And if we had some for a day we had others for eternity.
But most of all we had them. When I wrote my book it occurred to me, what would it be like if you had never had them to miss them? I honestly can’t imagine that, I don’t know where my path would have led me because so much of my life was shaped around the people and the music and the people who shared the same liking of music.
And what about the rest of you? Did you have heroes when you were young, did you have people who made a difference to your life? Did they inspire you, did they make you want to be better at what you did? I’m inspired by the words some of the people I admire have said over the years. I remember Bruce Springsteen saying that when he was young he loved Elvis Presley and it inspired him to want to be a musician. But he also said that wasn’t enough, if he was going to do this he wanted to be GREAT at it, he wanted to be the best. He didn’t just aspire to be Elvis, he wanted to be even better than Elvis. While Bruce built an irrefutable career off of the back of his inspiration that itself acted as a catalyst for me. The time came for me to explore ‘the artist,’ to look back at what I saw to be the ingredients of greatness, and to see them develop into what they became. For the most part, I was impressed, mighty impressed and I saw it as the perfect time to inspire others about what the meaning of greatness is.
Today everyone wants to teach everyone else how to be a RockStar. Next, we’ll be having RockStar webinars. Real Rock Stars deserve their rightful recognition because they have earned it and it should not be by people who think they know. How could you teach someone to drive a car if you’ve never sat behind the wheel yourself? Being a true Rockstar isn’t a course you teach, it’s a lesson in greatness. And being around those people it’s easy to see how the effect rubs off on others. Greatness is everlasting, it’s not a passing fad. It’s about creating a legacy.
David Bowie told us then that we could be heroes. He was just making us aware of what we could achieve. He was never our teacher, always our muse. Even as his life was drawing to a close he prepared for his death and made it a celebration of his life.
His swan song was to leave us with a magnificent final album, a testament to his resilience. His work wasn’t done and completing the album was his farewell gift to us.
I thought David Bowie was deserving of my first post by way of an introduction. There will be more to come but for now, there’s an overwhelming desire to reach for that album that opened my eyes to a truly unique artist. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars could have been released fifty years ago or fifty years from now and it would still sound just as good. That in itself is a unique achievement.
And as he told us….. ‘I don’t know where I’ll be going from here but I do know it won’t be boring.