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Debbie Harry and David Bowie
Debbie Harry and David BowieCourtesy of Debbie Harry, Photography by Chris Stein

We spoke to musicians about David Bowie’s everlasting impact

Debbie Harry: ‘I can’t say enough things about David Bowie to show how much I love him’

Rarely does one person affect so many people in different ways, but when David Bowie passed away unexpectedly yesterday, everybody had a different story to tell about how he impacted their life personally. Whether his shock of orange hair and earrings made you embrace your inner weirdness, whether his laidback attitude to sexuality and gender made you assured in your own, whether his music offered you happiness in hard times or whether his unabashed kindness permeated your own interactions, Bowie’s impact was unique and universal at the same time. Like Stevie Mackenzie-Smith wrote yesterday: “You don’t have to be an artist or a creative to love Bowie because he transcends labels, age or class; you just have to have a heart.” But what about the musicians who grew up listening to each of Bowie’s wild and wonderful 25 albums? How did he impact the music that surrounds us today? Here is what just a few of those musicians had to say about the Starman’s impact on their own lives:


“David Bowie's impact on me was, and is, monumental. This is so cheesy but I don't know if I loved a celebrity / musician anymore than David Bowie, he is my Michael Jackson my Beyonce – as a teenager, I studied his life, from his miming to his time at Warhol’s factory to Ziggy Stardust and beyond. I know David Bowie trivia, details about his marriage with Angie Bowie, Ava Cherry, Iggy Pop…at one point, as a teenager, I even day dreamed about going on a date with him. As a fan, I truly loved David Bowie ­– he is one of the most important and original artists of the 20th century.”


“He was the artist who had the most influence on me, both musically and personally. His courage and fearless creativity was a model to follow. I didn't know him well, but I will always love him. He was supportive, and lent his help, when it meant the most. There will never be another like him, and the world will not be the same without David Bowie.”


“David Bowie’s influence has been present in every piece of music or art I have ever made....I am so sad, and the world seems a lesser place without him….but I somehow feel he is not leaving us…but going to take his place among the brightest stars in the universe.”


Emre: “David Bowie’s Hunky Dory has been on repeat in my head since I was 15 years old. Come to think of it, so has Let's Dance and Heroes and Low and The Next Day. Never the same, always the best”

Mikey: “It’s official – my biggest music regret is not buying a second-hand ticket for Bowie’s concert in Melbourne. That was in 2004, and I still think about it all the time. One of my first memories is of Bowie in hot pants holding a sphere discussing the whereabouts of Jennifer Connelly’s little brother. He's amazing in that he’s influenced someone in someway in every decade from the 60s and will continue to influence future generations.”

Whole band: “Goblin King! Goblin King! Wherever you may be. RIP.”


“David Bowie was such a beacon of courage for so many – myself included. He gave me the courage to play guitar in a dress and lipstick aged 12 at my school talent show. Since that moment I never cared again if people thought I was ‘different’ because of how I looked or acted. His legacy extends so far and wide beyond his unbelievable musicianship. We really have lost such a beautiful, daring and staggeringly unique human being. It truly is devastating. Thank you for walking the earth with us, Bowie X.”


“Thank you. I am forever grateful for your magic and power! We all want to be Bowie in one form or another.”


“In NYC there is a yearly Bowie Ball when local musicians all perform a Bowie song. It happens every year and this next one will be a sad and extremely heartfelt evening for everyone. Who doesn’t love Bowie? A visionary artist, musician, actor, a completely renaissance man who has given us a long list of songs like “Heroes”, “Rebel Rebel”, “Young Americans”, “Diamond Dogs”, “The Jean Genie” and many, many more, and some memorable film performances like The Man Who Fell to Earth, Basquiat, Labyrinth, The Hunger.

I can’t say enough things about David Bowie to show how much I love him. When the Low album was out and Iggy Pop was about to tour, David played keyboards in Iggy’s band.  They asked Blondie to open for them, and as they say, the rest is history.  Without this visionary and his friend Iggy Pop, where would Blondie be today?  Silly question and one that can’t be answered really, but there is no doubt in my mind that Bowie played a big part in our future successes. As for now, love you David Bowie. Xx”