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Day 359 | Blackstar at the Proms

I’m a little conflicted about including a cover of a Bowie song I already included, albeit nearly a year ago, in the final week of this tribute. I’m including it first because it is beautifully done and is the first cover I’ve heard of this particular song. Second, this has been the year of Blackstar.  Of all the many celebrities who died this year it seems the extended global mourning has been most constant and wide-ranging for Bowie.  This is in part because of the album, and to a lesser degree the song, “Blackstar.”  Blackstar is not simply great (it usually shows up as one of the top three albums of the year on every list I have seen), but it was Bowie’s “parting gift” and rumination on dying.  The quality of Bowie’s stagecraft has always been inseparable from the quality of his music.  What if he did Ziggy in jeans, a tee shirt and short, natural-colored hair?  What if he released The Next Day with great fanfare instead of a surprise after ten years in the wilderness? What if Blackstar was released five years ago? In each case, the quality of the music would have held up. But the full impact of what Bowie was trying to do would have been diminished.  Bowie crafted Blackstar fully conscious that he did not have long to live.  He packed the music, the videos, and even the album cover with mysteries and ambiguities designed to be puzzled over for a long time.  It all worked.  Today, long after Mozart and Cole Porter passed from the earth, it is pretty easy to hear their music performed and interpret add by others.  The same is and will be true for Bowie.  “Blackstar” will be part of that interpretation- as demonstrated maybe first here, at the Proms

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