It turns out even Ziggy Stardust is mortal. David Bowie is dead, after a battle with cancer.
Besides creating some truly amazing music, Bowie was a master of reinvention, collaboration and survival. He had an incredible career. Heck, Changes was already iconic when it became an epigraph in The Breakfast Club. That was in 1985.
He was a true entrepreneur. He launched an Internet service provider in 1998, and was among the first established musicians to use the Internet to distribute a new song in 1996 (no mean feat before widespread broadband access and standard file types). He created his own record label, sold $55 million in bonds backed by the promise of his future royalties, and launched a low-commission art gallery website that featured student-artists' work.
Heck, without him there'd be no Twisted Sister--but that's someone else's story.
Bowie's often said he communicated more through his music than through his lyrics. With that, here are 13 phrases and quotes to remember him by.
1. On positivity:
"I've never responded well to entrenched negative thinking."
2. On life and priorities:
"As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three. How long? And what do I do with the time I've got left?"
3. On reinvention:
"I re-invented my image so many times that I'm in denial that I was originally an overweight Korean woman."
4. On music and expression:
"There, in the chords and melodies, is everything I want to say. The words just jolly it along. It's always been my way of expressing what for me is inexpressible by any other means."
5. On the divine:
"That's the shock: All cliches are true. The years really do speed by. Life really is as short as they tell you it is. And there really is a God - so do I buy that one? If all the other cliches are true... Hell, don't pose me that one."
6. On death:
"Confront a corpse at least once. The absolute absence of life is the most disturbing and challenging confrontation you will ever have."
7. On family:
"I'm very at ease, and I like it. I never thought I would be such a family-oriented guy; I didn't think that was part of my makeup. But somebody said that as you get older you become the person you always should have been, and I feel that's happening to me. I'm rather surprised at who I am, because I'm actually like my dad!"
8. On creativity:
"I think it all comes back to being very selfish as an artist. I mean, I really do just write and record what interests me and I do approach the stage shows in much the same way."
9. On fame:
"Fame can take interesting men and thrust mediocrity upon them."
10. On the journey:
"I don't know where I'm going from here but I promise it won't be boring."
11. On audiences:
"All my big mistakes are when I try to second-guess or please an audience. My work is always stronger when I get very selfish about it."
12. On shyness:
"I was painfully shy, withdrawn. I didn't really have the nerve to sing my songs ... I decided to do them in disguise. ... Rather than be me -- which must be incredibly boring to anyone -- I'd take Ziggy in, or Aladdin Sane or The Thin White Duke. It was a very strange thing to do."
13. The one that's just my favorite:
"Don't you love the Oxford Dictionary? When I first read it, I thought it was a really really long poem about everything."