David Bowie performs on stage on the third and final day of 'The Nokia Isle of Wight Festival 2004' at Seaclose Park, on June 13, 2004 in Newport, UK. GETTY IMAGES/Jo Hale.
David Bowie performs on stage on the third and final day of ‘The Nokia Isle of Wight Festival 2004’ at Seaclose Park, on June 13, 2004 in Newport, UK. GETTY IMAGES/Jo Hale.

The music world lost a legend last night, when David Bowie died following an 18-month battle with cancer.

Bowie (born David Jones) took the stage name David Bowie in 1966, releasing his eponymous debut album David Bowie in 1967. Just before that record came out, Bowie released a novelty single called ‘The Laughing Gnome’, which would actually peak at #6 on the UK charts several years later, capitalizing on Bowie’s mainstream success in 1973. It sounds nothing like his later work, but then, Bowie was reinventing himself constantly.

In 1969, Bowie released his second album. This one was…also called David Bowie. Later reissues of the album changed its name to Space Oddity, the name of the opening track on the record. One that would become as iconic as Bowie himself.

In 1970, Bowie released the record that would later be identified as the moment ‘glam rock’ began. The Man Who Sold The World was much heavier than his previous work, and took him in a whole new direction.

Bowie’s next album, 1971’s Hunky Dory, was his greatest to date – it has been listed on many lists of the greatest albums of all time, including getting the #107 spot on Rolling Stone‘s ‘500 Greatest Albums’ list. It featured the classic ‘Life on Mars?’ and though the lead single ‘Changes’ didn’t make the top 40, but has gone on to become one of Bowie’s most-loved classics.

In 1972, Bowie changed musical directions again, releasing an album that would also feature prominently on the ‘greatest albums of all time’ lists – including the #35 spot on the Rolling Stone list – a loosely-defined concept album about Bowie’s alter-ego, The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars would catapult Bowie to international stardom, featuring songs like ‘Starman’, ‘Moonage Daydream’, ‘Ziggy Stardust’ and the iconic ‘Suffragette City’.

Bowie’s next album, Aladdin Sane, was a true follow-up to Ziggy Stardust – The character of ‘Aladdin Sane’ (a pun on the phrase A Lad Insane) was really a continuation of the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ personality from the previous album. Aladdin Sane also makes several appearances on ‘greatest albums of all time’ lists, and produced the classic song ‘The Jean Genie’.

Bowie followed up Aladdin Sane with Pin Ups, a collection of cover songs from bands like The Who, The Kinks, and The Yardbirds. Then in 1974, he released an album that would hold the #1 spot in Canada for two weeks – Diamond Dogs was a concept album based on the George Orwell novel 1984, and is considered to be the last of Bowie’s glam era. The song ‘Rebel Rebel’ became a tour fixture for Bowie for years to come.

His next big change in musical direction led to the soul-music-influenced Young Americans album in 1975, which started a brand-new musical chapter for Bowie with songs like the title track and ‘Fame’ – one of the songs that has frequently been named as one that changed the path of rock and roll.

In 1976, Bowie made his first foray into the world of acting, starring in the science fiction film The Man Who Fell to Earth. A still from that movie became the cover of his next album, Station To Station, which produced his last great ‘character’ on an album, the Thin White Duke. It also gave us the great track ‘Golden Years’.

In 1977, Bowie began collaborating with Brian Eno on a series of projects that would end up being called ‘The Berlin Trilogy’ – The albums Low, Heroes and Lodger were released between 1977 and 1979, and gave us the avant-garde single ‘Heroes’ , from what are considered by many to be some of Bowie’s most under-rated releases.

In 1980, Bowie released his final album for the RCA label. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) became a return of sorts, at least in terms of commercial and financial success, as the album hit #1 in the UK and sold well in the US as well thanks in large part to the classic ‘Ashes to Ashes’.

Bowie’s next album featured three majorly successful singles. The title track of Let’s Dance hit #1 all over the world, while ‘China Girl’ and ‘Modern Love’ have become staples of his catalogue.

Through the early-to-mid-eighties, Bowie was introduced to a whole new group of fans thanks to his acting work as the Goblin King in the movie Labyrinth (and his soundtrack to the same movie), and collaborations with other greats. He teamed with Mick Jagger to record a cover of the Martha & The Vandella’s classic ‘Dancing In The Street’ and with Queen to record ‘Under Pressure’

Bowie would end up with twenty-five proper studio albums, culminating with Blackstar, which was just released this past Friday on his 69th birthday. While Bowie’s legacy is immeasurable, here is a brief overview of his influence:

Okay, that last one might have been a bit of a stretch. Thanks for the music and memories, David Bowie!