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R.I.P. David Bowie & George Martin

by on 2016/03/12

George MartinDavid Bowie

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I was unexpectedly stunned by the recent deaths of David Bowie and George Martin. I had no idea the former was ill, nor imagined the latter would ever really be gone.

When Bowie died I was gearing up for my winter term at university. I had just enough time to mourn his passing the best way I knew how: playlisting. To an earlier set I’d compiled years ago, I added a whole two more. I even got to DJ a party — well, indirectly — with a custom Bowie Partie mix (covers and collaborations) and another Onlie Bowie (solo singles).

Even setting aside his appeal, and him reminding me of an old friend, he’s influenced dozens of artists I love, like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Flight of the Conchords, Nine Inch Nails, Pet Shop Boys, Tears for Fears, and so many more. Where would we be without him?

Or I suppose you might ask, “Where are we now?”

My personal favourite, however, might be his appearance on Ricky Gervais’ Extras. YouTube has taken it down, but it’s really worth seeking out for a few minutes of brilliant hilarity.

As for George Martin, well that was an odd bit of timing. I had just done a presentation the very day before he died, in which I mentioned him twice specifically. It was a class discussion breaking down the creation of “Free as a Bird” (which he chose not to produce for the surviving Beatles). One of my older instructors said to me, “Why couldn’t you have just discussed Donald Trump instead?”

The deaths of these men I much admired had me poking around on our blog, and I realized we had mentioned them several times, even more than the five selections below. My reviews for Duck Soup and Eternal Sunshine both reference George Martin stories, and he appears extensively in Beatles documentaries.

For David Bowie’s part, he actually appears in several forms, which is probably appropriate for such a chameleonic figure: whether acting as Twin Peaks’ Agent Jeffries, as a dedication in the Breakfast Club, or the patron saint of C.R.A.Z.Y.

(In fact, his son makes a contribution too, in the form of directing Moon.)

With midterm assignments whirling all around me, it’s especially hard to find time, but if anything makes for a worthwhile celebration, it’s the legacy of these two men…


All Together Now (2008)All Together Now (2008)

* * * * *

“[M]y senses of time and critical focus dissipated, until the whole coalesced into something more than the sum of its parts . . . Minutiae slipped away, unmissed, enshrouded by other wonderings. How might George Martin feel about losing his hearing, or outliving his young charges?”


The Breakfast Club (1985)The Breakfast Club (1985)

* * * * *

“A quote from David Bowie’s “Changes” opens the picture, succinctly establishing a tone of disparagement, divisiveness, self-awareness, self-actualization and, of course, an argument from a fashionable authority.”
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C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)

* * * * *

“In his teenaged years, [Zac] explores various interests — girls, drugs, and karate — but is drawn into a music-centric life. He has lucid daydreams and can only escape his confinement with the sound of Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and the Cure.”


Imagine: John Lennon (1988)Imagine: John Lennon (1988)

* * * * *

“[A] biographical documentary assembled from stills, films, and videos spanning forty years of life. It intersperses its tale with new and vintage interviews, musical performances, both with and without the Beatles, using archival recordings of Lennon himself to serve as the narration.”


Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)

* * *

“We see a clutch of new faces in that first half hour, including David Bowie, Jurgen Prochnow, and Harry Dean Stanton, but this tale isn’t [just] theirs. We quickly move along to Laura’s final days, a year later, in the small town of Twin Peaks.”
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