5 ways David Bowie rocked pop culture

David Bowie has left his corporeal being, leaving behind a trail of stardust over popular culture and the world


Legendary glam-rock icon David Bowie has left this world. At about 2.50pm (SGT) on Jan 11, Bowie’s death was announced in a sombre post on his official Facebook page:

January 10 2016 – David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer…

Bowie was 69 years old, and his departure has shaken the world of rock, electronic music and popular culture. His impact is indelible and lasting — here’s a trip down memory lane with a recap of the waves he’s made in pop culture and the world.

1. Ziggy Stardust: The famous androgynous alter-ego

Following years of experimentation after his debut, Bowie resurfaced in 1972 with the flamboyant androgynous alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust, accompanied by the album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”.

This daring re-emergence shocked many by “[challenging] the core belief of the rock music of its day”, wrote biographer David Buckley. Although the persona was short-lived, it created what Buckley calls “perhaps the biggest cult in popular culture”, and marked Bowie’s brand of reinvention and musical innovation.

2. Labyrinth: Headlining a film featuring his songs

In 1986, Bowie added a large-scale feature film to his portfolio; one that would go on to become a cult classic. He starred as Jareth the Goblin King in Labyrinth, directed by Jim Henson (creator of “The Muppets”) and produced under Lucasfilm (of Star Wars fame).


Despite its poor performance in theatres, Labyrinth was a success on home video and later on DVD, and had a strong cult following as well. 

Bowie said, “Every Christmas a new flock of children comes up to me and says, ‘Oh! You’re the one who’s in Labyrinth!'” For Labyrinth, Bowie recorded five songs: “Underground”, “Chilly Down”, “As the World Falls Down”, “Within You” and the catchy “Magic Dance”.

3. Under Pressure: Two diamonds shine together

Just like a diamond, Bowie shone under pressure when he emerged from uneven commercial successes in the late-1970s with “Under Pressure”, his collaboration with rock band Queen.

The song was Bowie’s third UK No 1, was played live at every Queen concert until the end of its touring career in 1986 and continues to be played, sampled and covered today.

4. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: An icon inducted

In 1996, Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was likened to a “musical chameleon” by music reviewer Brad Filicky. He not only altered his own style to fit trends but also dictated and influenced fashion and pop culture.

Biographer Thomas Forget added, “Because he has succeeded in so many different styles of music, it is almost impossible to find a popular artist today that has not been influenced by David Bowie.”

Bowie was also named one of GQ’s 50 best-dressed English men in 2015.

5. Blackstar: His latest album released on his birthday four days ago

On his 69th birthday on Jan 8, Bowie released “Blackstar”, or what some have taken to call his “parting gift”. It is the legend’s 25th and final studio album, and its title track, released as a single Nov 20, 2015, was used as the opening music for the television series “The Last Panthers”.

“Blackstar” received immediate acclaim from music industry critics.

Listen to “Blackstar” the single here:

We raise a glass to one of the greatest legends of our time. Rest in peace, David Bowie.

By Pamela Chow