When news broke earlier this month that David Bowie had decided to retire from performing, many saw it as Bowie's career winding down with a wimper rather than the scream that it deserved. Where lesser acts like KISS and Motley Crue view retirement as one more seemingly endless big-dollar victory lap, the Thin White Duke's farewell to concert performance was done quietly and respectfully.
There was no heavily-hyped farewell tour in support of a hastily assembled Greatest Hits album to add to the multitude of other hits packages already in the marketplace. No, Bowie just let his agent know that he was done touring. Period. End of discussion.
Fans, of course, took the news hard, jumping to the conclusion that Bowie's recording career was also over even though there had been rumblings of a new album. The appearance of a new song in the TV series "The Last Panthers", which debuts today on SkyTV in the UK, further fanned the flames.
By the way, don't worry, US fans, the show will debut in the US next Spring on the Sundance Channel.
As for Bowie's rumored new album, consider it a rumor no more as Bowie's own official website confirmed the news yesterday, saying "It can now be confirmed that ‘Blackstar’ is the forthcoming single and album from David Bowie." While they would not confirm that the sound of the album is heavily influenced by German kraut-rock pioneers such as Neu! and Can, it is confirmed that the album will be released on Bowie's birthday, January 8, 2016.
Coming only two years after the release of the remarkable return-to-form that was The Next Day, Bowie's latest effort all but confirms that saying adios to the logistical planning and physical rigors of touring has certainly set his creative juices flowing.
While Bowie, at his worst, was still an iconic figure in the concert arena, his albums will be remembered long after the memory of any great Bowie gig has faded and perhaps nobody realizes this more than Bowie himself.
If not touring means we get truly inspired new Bowie music every two years or so. we at The Shit will consider this a win/win because in today's music industry, we could use all the great new music we can get, no matter who makes it.
And while there are those who opine that Bowie's popularity is largely visual and that, by maintaining a lower profile, the impact of his new music is much less, there is also the school of thought that touring does not mean Bowie will not continue to be a master at the visual. After all, artists have long viewed the video format as one that could potentially remove the need for touring altogether.
In Bowie's case, it can be argued that he has yet to fully maximize the potential of his video presentation, but, with the immediacy and power of today's technology and the freedom of not touring, one would think that for Bowie, the sky is still the limit.
HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW BOWIE?
After all, the man has undergone more costume changes and musical personas than Cher and Lady Gaga put together. His career now spans six decades. So, maybe even you are curious about finding out where you stand among Bowie buffs. Take our intensive career-spanning Bowie quiz and find out!