Recently I saw someone pose the question of what was the best Saturday Night Live musical performance. Someone answered it was David Bowie in 1979. I watched the video and was blown away. There are 3 songs on that video and the first, “The Man Who Sold the World” is the best. As I told my wife, he took a song from 1970, brought it to 1979 and performed it like it was 1983.
I’m more familiar with Nirvana’s cover of the song so I went to Spotify and I listened to the original Man Who Sold the World album. I was surprised that most of it (but not the title track) was like early metal along the lines of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. It was not a side of Bowie I had heard before. I was impressed that this was released in 1970. He wasn’t responding to these sounds; he was innovating along with the rest of them. This is what was so unique about Bowie. As he repeatedly reinvented himself he wasn’t following the trends, he was helping create them. He was a singular talent and I’m sad that he’s gone.