Bono Eulogizes David Bowie: ‘He Was So Vivid’
The U2 frontman honored the prolific artist in a lengthy eulogy for Rolling Stone, where he reminisced about the first time he saw Bowie live in a 1972 Top of the Pops performance (“He was so vivid. So luminous. So fluorescent. We had one of the first color TVs on our street, and David Bowie was the reason to have a color TV”), as well as his otherworldly persona (“With Bowie, you had this sneaking suspicion that if you hung around him, you might find some doors into those other worlds”).
Bono described the way Bowie helped him discover other artists: “He opened doors for me into Bertolt Brecht, and William Burroughs — and, by the way, Bruce Springsteen, who he was on very early.”
He also detailed the kind of relationship he shared with the “Rebel Rebel” singer, one that included honest and open criticism between the two: “He took his daughter to a matinee to see Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and he sent me the reasons he didn’t like it. And everything he said was really helpful, because it was in the early days of the show.”
But the most poignant part of Bono’s eulogy comes at the very end, when he describes Bowie’s legacy as an artist, and the way his music had an inexplicable effect on those who felt the full weight of it:
Ultimately, as a songwriter and as a performer, your currencies are thoughts and feelings. Some people may have original thoughts, but the musical landscape is not that unique. Bowie’s musical landscape affected you in a way that is completely different from all the other music around it. You have to close your eyes, imagine you don’t speak English and just feel the songs and say, “What part of me is being played by those notes?” Or “Who else plays them?”
And in his case, the answer is nobody. That part of me is only played by David Bowie. So that part of me is now a void — I have to find other ways to wake it up. But it woke me up when I was 14.
Check out the full eulogy from the magazine’s January 29 David Bowie memorial issue over at Rolling Stone.
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