Following the shocking news in the early hours of Monday morning, classic rock legends took to social media to offer David Bowie tributes for the legendary performer who died of previously undisclosed cancer at 69. (Read Best Classic Bands’ news story here.)
Paul McCartney (Facebook): “Very sad news to wake up to on this raining morning. David was a great star and I treasure the moments we had together. His music played a very strong part in British musical history and I’m proud to think of the huge influence he has had on people all around the world.
“I send my deepest sympathies to his family and will always remember the great laughs we had through the years. His star will shine in the sky forever.” – Paul
Peter Gabriel (Facebook): “I was shocked to learn of David Bowie’s death this morning. He meant so much to me and to so many. He was a one-off, a brilliant outlier, always exploring, challenging and inspiring anyone who wanted to push the boundaries of music, art, fashion and society. There are so few artists who can touch a generation as he did, we will miss him badly. Long Live Lazarus.” – pg
More from Gabriel: “’Heroes,’ for me, was always one of the great Bowie tracks. It is heroism in the face of oppression and desperation; it’s something triumphant despite the desperate situation.” – pg
U2 (via Facebook): “Planet Earth is blue” – Bono
Longtime collaborator Brian Eno (via BBC News – edited): “David’s death came as a complete surprise, as did nearly everything else about him. I feel a huge gap now. We knew each other for over 40 years. Over the last few years – with him living in New York and me in London – our connection was by email. “We signed off with invented names: some of his were mr showbiz, milton keynes, rhoda borrocks and the duke of ear.
“I received an email from him seven days ago. It was as funny as always (and) ended with this sentence: ‘Thank you for our good times, brian. they will never rot.’ And it was signed ‘Dawn.’ I realise now he was saying goodbye.”
Tony Visconti, who produced the just-released ★ (Blackstar) album with Bowie (via Facebook): He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry.
Dave Davies of The Kinks (Facebook): I am so terribly shocked and stunned by the passing of David Bowie today. We were friends in the early days and I have followed his amazing and inspirational career eversince. A genius, and an artist and innovator who has influenced so many people deeply and profoundly on many levels. Emotionally, creatively, Spiritually. His work will resonate long into the future and the planet is a much richer and fertile place because of his presence here. God Bless you David. You will be dearly missed but we have your music as supreme legacy for us and our children. May your Spirit soar through the heavens going ever forward with grace, Light Love and beauty. Love Dave
Chris Difford of Squeeze (Facebook): “Without David Bowie in my life I may not have had the courage to start writing songs, and without that courage I may not have placed an advert in a sweet shop window for a guitarist to join a band. Bowie unlocked the youthful dreams I had of being me. He gave so many teenagers the right to wear their pulling pants every day of the week, people of all persuasions. He turned me on and sharpened my pencil.”
Chris Stein of Blondie (Facebook): RIP David Bowie. Here’s a wonderful photo of Debbie & David by Chris Stein.
Madonna (@Madonna): I’m Devastated! This great Artist changed my life! First concert i ever saw in Detroit! R.I.P. #rebelheart
Brian May of Queen (full tribute at his website): All hail, David Bowie, Star Man, Hero. RIP. Bri
Annie Lennox (via Facebook): Legendary immortal… Head bowed to you
The Rolling Stones (Facebook): The Rolling Stones are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the death of our dear friend David Bowie. As well as being a wonderful and kind man, he was an extraordinary artist, and a true original.
The Doobie Brothers (Facebook): Devastated to hear about the loss of a legend…. David Bowie was an innovator and a pioneer. We are so sad to see him go. There’s no doubt he will be remembered throughout time.
Lenny Kravitz (Facebook): I just woke up and I’m blown away by the news. This man changed my life. I’d have to write a book to describe what he meant to me. I would not be here without his influence on my life. The fact that I got to know him and make music with him is a blessing from God in the highest order. What he gave the world with his art is immeasurable. My deepest condolences go out to the family. Rest sweetly dear David. #RIPdavidbowie
Columbia Records, which released Bowie’s four most recent studio albums (Facebook): We are deeply saddened by the loss of David Bowie. It was an honor and a privilege to release his music to the world.
Eric Clapton (Facebook): “Sweet dreams old sock”…..ec
Rush (Facebook): Woke up to the news of David Bowie leaving this world. Crushed is the right word. He was a monumental artist… immortal. We used to play Suffragette City in our bar days… RIP David Bowie
Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran (Facebook – edited): “David was a pioneer, an inventor, a space traveler, a superhero, a truly astonishing songwriter and a friend. It’s hard to imagine that any artist will ever leave more musical and cultural treasure behind. Thank you for letting us share your journey DB. We’ll miss you more than you’ll ever know.” – Nick Rhodes, London, January 11, 2016
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull (Facebook – edited): Bowie resurrected himself on many occasions, such was his strength; a strength born of restlessness and the urge to move on. The most inventive, original and very British of artists, perhaps, since the late ’60s. David Bowie. Art Pop supremo. RIP.
Sheryl Crow (Facebook): Thank you David Bowie for sharing your divine gift with all of us. You will always be beloved by those you have inspired. #RIPDavid
Huey Lewis (Facebook): Very sad. He was an innovator… one of the pioneers of rock and roll theatre, with a very earthy musical bent. Always artistic, he definitely pushed the envelope and paved the way for all performance artists. – Huey
Author J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling): I wish he could have stayed on earth longer. RIP #DavidBowie
Nils Lofgren (@nilslofgren): Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes. Look out you rock and rollers. RIP #DavidBowie
Jimmy Page (Facebook): David Bowie was an innovator, a unique artist with a vision that changed the face of popular music. He is greatly missed. Rest in peace, David. JP
Peter Frampton (Facebook): I am in shock hearing this news about David. He was a dear friend and mentor to me. He gave me help when I most needed it. My thoughts are with his wife and children on this very sad day.
Ozzy Osbourne (Facebook): I just can’t believe it. I am in total shock about David Bowie’s passing. It’s crazy. Never in a million years did I think that we would loose such an amazing guy so young.
I guess I thought he would live forever. I’m at a loss for words right now. Wow.
Mick Jagger (Facebook): David was always an inspiration to me and a true original. He was wonderfully shameless in his work. We had so many good times together. He was my friend, I will never forget him.
Ian Hunter (Facebook): “David wrote some wonderful songs. I was lucky enough to sing one of them – and it changed my life. My heart goes out to his wife, son and daughter. R.I.P. David.”
Ian Hunter-January 11, 2016
Bruce Springsteen (Facebook): Over here on E Street, we’re feeling the great loss of David Bowie. David was a visionary artist and an early supporter of our music. Always changing and ahead of the curve, he was an artist whose excellence you aspired to. He will be sorely missed. – Bruce
Iggy Pop (@IggyPop): “David’s friendship was the light of my life. I never met such a brilliant person. He was the best there is.” – Iggy Pop
Brian Wilson (Facebook): I was shocked to hear today about David Bowie and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I was honored when David recorded “God Only Knows” – he was a great artist and will be missed. – Love & Mercy, Brian
Pete Townshend (via The Who’s website – edited): I am so deeply sad, but he just completed a radical and audacious new album, and that is a great thing. Personally I am grateful to him for doing it.
For those who were his fans he was a charismatic and exotic creature and still gloriously beautiful even as he approached 70. But face to face he was funny, clever, well-read, excited by the arts, and really good company.
He was simply a joy to be around, so good at making everyone feel at ease. I’m sorry to hear it was cancer that got him. I knew he had been ill for several years but didn’t know the details. My thoughts now go to his family and close ones, and to so many of his fans who will be beyond distraught today. We have lost a monumental figurehead of the British arts scene. We have also lost a wonderful clown whose combined sense of mischief and creativity delightedly touched our hearts. David Bowie was my Salvador Dali. He was also one facet of my perfect Ace Face.
Pete Townshend, 11 January 2016
Elton John (Facebook): “I am still in shock. Never saw it coming. My deepest condolences to Iman and the family. An amazing life. An amazing career.”
Joe Walsh (Facebook): David Thanks for showing us all how to do it. Rest in peace.
Joe Perry (via Aerosmith’s Facebook): Blew my mind when I got the news about DAVID BOWIE. I was on a plane when news broke. Heartbreaking… One of the most creative, inventive artists of our generation. History will put him in the same class as Dali, Pollock, Hemingway, and of course The Beatles, The Stones and Jimi. His music will live on forever. The world is worse with his passing. – Joe Perry
Elvis Costello (Facebook): 10th January 2016 “The right words would be written in ink on card, not to be seen suddenly and brutally, like the news. In acknowledgement, the lights on this particular, peculiar little theatre will be lowered for a while. With deepest gratitude and respectful condolences to the family and friends of a truly great artist, beautiful melodist and elegant gentleman.”
Keith Richards (Facebook): “I’m deeply saddened by such a sudden shock. David was a true original in everything he did and, along with many others, I’m going to miss him. Another goodbye to another good friend.”
Sting (Facebook): “Trudie and I were totally captivated by his energetic charm, his extraordinary music, his art and his unique spirit. We will never forget him.”
Best Classic Bands Founder Greg Brodsky: When I was working at Atlantic Records, we released a record by Adrian Belew who was serving as the musical director for Bowie’s Sound+Vision stadium tour. A colleague and I went to see him at the Skydome in Toronto. Knowing how difficult it would be to grab a taxi afterwards, we made our way out as Bowie began his encore. Once outside, we easily flagged down a cab. We entered our hotel’s lobby and headed for the elevator. As the door was closing, a voice with a distinctly British accent politely asked: “Could you hold the door?” In walked the Thin White Duke! When we picked our jaws up off the floor, we told him we had just been at his concert and asked him how he had arrived so quickly. “The old limo at the stage entrance trick,” or something to that effect. We shook his hand and have since wished we had a camera to commemorate our brush with the greatness that was David Bowie.
Best Classic Bands Editor Rob Patterson: In the fall of 1977 I started writing a syndicated music column that appeared in hundreds of daily newspapers, giving me a potential readership as large as any music scribe of the time. One of the first offers from a publicist was a half-hour chat with Bowie, who had just released his Heroes album.
More than 40 years later, his impact and allure from the moment Bowie opened his hotel suite door – himself, no publicist or assistant – still feels so immediate, so bracing. Some stars gin up their charisma; Bowie carried his in spades in his back pocket. Face to face his chiseled handsomeness was a thing of wonder; his permanently dilated right eye like a pool inviting you to dive in. I’d never previously met a more visually compelling human, drenched as he was with charm that was utterly magnetic.
And it all just surged as I and my photographer followed him in down the hall, demurred having any beverages – David Bowie pouring me a coffee? – and he sat down on a pure white couch, perched on the edge as if to invite any and all questions. He spoke of how characters like Ziggy Stardust had threatened to subsume his very soul, and how his anonymity in Berlin had helped Bowie to come to know, love and trust his true self.
Soon Bowie was laying sprawled on the couch, pondering notions with such delight that it comes as no surprise that his carrying musical and popular culture into myriad new vectors and realms was all but like breathing for him. I’ve yet to meet a human so charming and compelling since then. We’ve been fortunate to live in his times.