Two days from now will mark one year since David Bowie died, marking the start of what would be a dreadful 2016 in terms of many of our most-loved artists passing on. I don’t want to say that he was responsible, but this meme has been making the rounds for close to a year now too:
— Vanessa Clark (@FoxxyGlamKitty) November 15, 2016
Today, however, we mark what would have been The Thin White Duke’s 70th birthday – and what better way to do so than with a brand new Bowie track that was just released today?
Bowie recorded No Plan – a song from his musical Lazarus, before he died, as part of a four-song EP that was also released today and features songs from the show, including the title track Lazarus (for which you may remember the haunting music video – more on that below), No Plan, Killing a Little Time, and When I Met You.
The video was directed by Tom Hingston, and features a number of Bowie references. See if you can pick them out:
Some more details are being shed on Bowie’s final years in a new documentary, David Bowie: The Last Five Years, directed by Francis Whately. It aired last night on BBC Two, and follows Bowie through his 2003 A Reality tour, as well as the making of his final album, Blackstar.
In the documentary, Johan Renck (who directed the video for Lazarus) revealed that Bowie discovered his cancer was terminal just three months before he died, while he was still working on that particular video. Renck explained that he wasn’t made aware of the diagnosis until they’d already finished shooting the video, which heavily features death and rebirth symbolism – so the diagnosis was not the inspiration for the video.
From The Huffington Post:
Despite the imagery that suggests Bowie was contemplating his own mortality through his music ― the video begins with the singer in a hospital bed with gauze covering his eyes ― the director denies that the music video had anything to do with his illness. The Guardian reports that Renck created the vision for “Lazarus” a week before learning of Bowie’s diagnosis.
“David said: ‘I just want to make it a simple performance video,’” Renck recalled. “I immediately said, ‘The song is called Lazarus, you should be in the bed.’ … To me it had to do with the biblical aspect of it … it had nothing to do with him being ill.”
Bowie kept his illness a secret from almost everyone around him in an effort to protect his family and continue work on his final album. According to the Guardian, the singer was making a sequel to “Lazarus” just weeks before his death.
“I don’t find it strange he kept his illness so private,” the documentary’s director, Francis Whately, told the Guardian. “He’d had his life picked over for 40 years and he thought he had said everything he wanted to say, there was nothing more.”
If that Bowie documentary sounds right up your alley, here’s a trailer for it:
The trailer doesn’t give a whole lot away about what its content is, but it certainly grabbed my attention. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can see more clips HERE.
And might I recommend celebrating the man’s birthday by slipping one of his albums onto the turntable? I can’t think of a better way to honour him.