On the occassion of Bowie’s 70th birthday

And the first anniversary of Blackstar, let me discuss the timing of his final album.

Bowie, as we all know, wanted this to be his swansong. His diagnosis inspired much of the album and, as Tony Visconti said, it was a race against time to write it, record it and sort out the logistics of release. No doubt it also took a massive toll on what little health he had left.

Yet there was nothing to suggest Bowie was ill. He was naturally painfully thin to begin with. The greying hair could easily have been put down to old age. The heart issues that had bothered him in the previous decade appeared to have been resolved. The allusions to the afterlife of the title track and Lazarus were dismissed in early reviews as not unlike his adventures into Kabbalah and Christian mysticism in Station to Station. He looked ready to take on the new generation. But deep inside, the wild excesses of the previous generationd had returned to haunt him. The well-documented cocaine and alcohol binges during the sessions for Station to Station and the other two albums in the Berlin trilogy were probably the catalyst, but he enjoyed more than his fair share of tipples afterwards.

But one year ago today, he knew and most likely wished over his candles that death would come soon.


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