I know the Starman may have just died last night, but can we all agree that was terrible?
If I told you that two icons of rock and roll were going to duet on a Motown classic, you'd be all in, right? But if I told you the collaboration happened in 1985, you might pump the brakes.
I mean, seriously, were the '80s good to any of our '60s and 70s rock heroes? Dylan? Any of the Beatles? Neil Young? Bad decades all around.
Those were dark days, my friends.
But I'm here to talk about Bowie, not deride the '80s.
Looking over Bowie's career, there are lots of things one could celebrate. Many people this morning have focused on his transcendent weirdness and ability to reinvent himself.
What I think I'll always remember about Bowie is his how good he was as a collaborator and a producer.
The very presence of Bowie seemed to bring out the best in people.
If not for his 1972 album "Transformer," and particulary "Walk on the Wild Side," I'm not sure what Lou Reed's legacy would be to the average rock fan.
Of course, he was one of the main forces behind the Velvet Underground, but with Bowie and Mick Ronson producing, Reed gave us his most recognized solo work with "Transformer."
I heard Bowie tell the story once of the saxophone solo at the end of "Walk on the Wild Side." They were recording in London, and they needed someone to play the solo, so they called in Ronnie Ross, who was well-known in the London jazz scene.
Ross had also tutored Bowie (whose real name was David Jones) on the saxophone when he was a kid.
So Ross comes in, plays the solo and as he's preparing to leave, Bowie says, "Thanks, Ron. Should I come over to your house on Saturday morning?"
Finally recognizing the androgynous man in front of him, Ross was amazed, ""I don't %$*^@ believe it! You're Ziggy Stardust?"
It's probably fair to say that Bowie saved Iggy Pop's career. While Iggy never exactly got over his self-destructive ways, his friendship and collaboration with Bowie seems to have given him direction in the '70s and '80s.
And the album "Lust for Life," particularly the title track and "The Passenger," are among the very best things Iggy ever gave us.
Is there a better Bowie collaboration than this one?
Not much to say, except that I love the way this is essentially an argument between the pessimistic Bowie and the optimistic Mercury.
And now we've lost them both.
Not the first time I've written about this one.
It just shows how Bowie was pretty much open to anything. (But I think we knew that.)
Bowie and Bing Crosby? On a Christmas song?
It's just so absurd that it works.
Rest in peace, David Jones. You made quite an impact.