David Bowie is not active in music at the moment, but this year he has inspired three movies, a ballet and much more, including both Tommy Lee and the 2012 Pulitzer Prizewinning poet, an assistant professor at Princeton.
Professor Tracy K. Smith’s book of poetry, Life on Mars, won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Now that’s cred! The book’s title of course named after Bowie’s hit song from the Hunky Dory album.
She calls Bowie the ‘Pope of Pop’ and credits him with inspiring her:
“What was so powerful about Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust era to me was the sense
that the imagination is capable of creating a whole new world
and a whole new sense of self and
I really have always just been so grateful for that.
I wanted to find a way of acknowledging that in my work”
Bowie will never die. Nothing will come for him in his sleep
Or charging through his veins. And he’ll never grow old,
Just like the woman you lost, who will always be dark-haired
See also the link at the bottom of the post to read the full poem.
David Bowie’s work has inspired three movies this year, Hunky Dory (named after his 1971 album as pictured above) is set in 1976. Minnie Driver stars as a teacher, who with her high school students, stages a production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest with rock and pop music. (Yes, the producers claim that the movie was dreamed up before Glee.)
The movie uses Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ and ‘Life on Mars’. The director wanted ‘Memories of a Free Festival’ in the closing sequence of the movie, but Bowie declined permission. Apparently, he felt that two songs were enough.
Director Marc Evans said, “I hope people see the film, get into the music and it makes them go back to get the original track.”
Other music used in the movie includes Pink Floyd, Beach Boys and Nick Drake.
The second new movie is director DJ Chen’s Young Dudes named after the hit song, ‘All the Young Dudes’, which Bowie gave to British band Mott the Hoople
The film features slackers who are preparing for an apocalypse and has the Bowie song as its theme.
And announced for future release is a movie called Ground Control to Major Tom, the title being the first line of Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’.
It will be directed by Seth Gordon, the director of 2011’s hit comedy Horrible Bosses.
Also, in the forthcoming sci-fi movie Prometheus (prequel to 1979’s classic Alien), one of the stars, Michael Fassbender, has an android character named David, based in part on David Bowie. The movie also stars Oscar-winner Charlize Theron.
In novels, award winning novelist Steve Erickson in his new book These Dreams of You has one of his characters possibly conceived by Bowie in his Berlin apartment in the late Seventies.
Bowie’s influence extends also to ballet. Ballet Nouveau Colorado in Denver last month produced Rock Ballets, a collection of three ballets, one of which was set to Bowie’s music.
The designer, Sir Peter Blake, has honored Bowie by including him in a 2012 re-creation of his sleeve for The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album.
Turning to music, the magnificent Shirley Manson has said that this month’s comeback album, Not Your Kind Of People, by the re-united Nineties band Garbage is inspired by David Bowie, Siouxsie Sioux and the Cocteau Twins, who had “built my musical fabric”.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers covered Bowie’s ‘Suffragette City’ on an EP released last week to mark their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
British rock star Paul Weller is not a household name in the States, but in Britain he and his bands have had a staggering 28 Top Ten albums.
Earlier this year, Weller named one of his new-born twins after David Bowie. Did he call him David? No, he named him Bowie!
So does Professor Smith. Here’s a link to her poem, Don’t You Wonder, Sometimes? (the title is the first line of Bowie’s ‘Sound And Vision’).