DAVID BOWIE: Irish celebrities honour star who was ‘everything under sun’

Irish tributes have poured in to David Bowie — a true music icon.

After a career spanning over half a century, the man who made classic albums such as Station to Station, Hunky Dory, Low, andThe Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, to name but a few, died aged 69 after battling cancer for the past 18 months.

U2 posted a photo of Bowie with Bono on the band’s Twitter account. The caption simply read: “Planet Earth is blue — Bono” — a nod to Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’, and acknowledging the sadness felt around the globe at the passing of the musician.

Speaking to Ryan Tubridy, Gerry Leonard, who worked with Bowie for around 15 years and on three of his albums, said he hadn’t known he was ill and was “shell- shocked” by his passing.

“It was amazing to meet David. I feel very much like he was the master and I was the apprenctice. He had a huge influence on me. Meeting somebody like that was like one of those things that changes your life,” he said.

“He was an incredible artist. He lived like an incredible artist, and he made incredible art. I got to witness some of that by his side and I feel very privileged and just really sad. I am just shell-shocked.”

Mr Leonard said Bowie stood out as being an artist who was ahead of his time who never rested on his laurels but always wanted to push musical boundaries.

“It was like he could see everything in slow motion, what we were all doing and following and he was already moving on. He didn’t stay too long at the party. He was already at the next party,” he said.

“He was one of the best bosses I ever had — prbably the best boss. He knew what he wanted to do but he didn’t micro-manage things.”

Radio DJ Dave Fanning, who interviewed Bowie on numerous occasions, said it was almost impossible to quantify the cultural impact he has had.

“I mean, he was everything under the sun with every different album,” he said. “He completely and absolutely changed [music]. Never brought out two albums the same, always went into different kinds of music.”


RIP #Bowie Bigger and greater than any rock star. #davidbowie

A photo posted by Dave Fanning (@fanningrte) on Jan 11, 2016 at 4:37am PST

The DJ said Bowie was the biggest male star of the 1970s but had hits which spanned across more than five decades.

“Without a doubt, the biggest male person in the 1970s was David Bowie because everything he did, it wasn’t just real Bowie freaky fans and that, it was much bigger than that,” he said.

“When hits in the charts meant something, he had loads of hits. And then he kept going with them afterwards. And then he went into the 80s with ‘Ashes to Ashes’ and all of that. To be honest he lost his way in certain 90s albums but he was still the man.”

Mr Fanning said Bowie’s appearance on Top of the Pops in 1972, performing ‘Starman’, has been singled out as one of the five seminal moments in the history of rock and roll.

“David Bowie wasn’t a rock star, he was way, way, way above that,” he said. “He’s always completely defied expectations in terms of anything he was expected to do.”

Broadcaster and writer John Kelly described Bowie as a “remarkable” artist who would leave a lasting legacy on culture and art.

“He changed the culture, you know,” he said. “And he changed art. And he lead art and he lead culture. And he also followed it very successfully as well. He was a great man for figuring out what the zeitgeist was about to be and becoming it himself. He was quite a remarkable, remarkable artist.

“And I think a lot of younger people nowadays listening to music and the way it’s presented to them and so on maybe haven’t experienced in their own time an artist of this sort of calibre.”

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