David Bowie took the rock world by storm in the early 1970s. His rebellious, artistic persona and imaginative songwriting captivated listeners around the globe.
The charismatic singer challenged the ideas surrounding fame, identity, and society through characters like Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke. Sadly, Bowie died in 2016 at the age of 69. But his fans can still experience the magic he created through his songs thanks to a massive yearly tour.
Join us to learn more about this annual tribute to the Thin White Duke.
About David Bowie
David Robert Jones was born in London, England, on January 8, 1947. His interest in art and music formed at a young age. David played in several bands during and after high school before releasing his first single as a solo artist. The musician took inspiration for his stage name from James Bowie and his famous knife.
Bowie released his first hit single, Space Oddity, just before the launch of the Apollo 11 spacecraft. It eventually reached number five on the U.K. music charts. He achieved international stardom two years later with his Ziggy Stardust persona. He also produced albums by up-and-coming stars Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, cementing his place in the rock world.
Five of Bowie’s albums went platinum in the U.S. And 11 of his records hit the number-one spot on the U.K. charts.
Over his career, Bowie collaborated with dozens of famous performers. John Lennon, Luther Vandross, and Mick Jagger were just a few of his musical allies. He also starred in dozens of movies like The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Labyrinth, and The Prestige.
Bowie sold over 100 million records during his career, making him one of the best-selling artists in history. He’s currently the 21st century’s best-selling vinyl artist. He joined the ranks of rock royalty at his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1996.
Aside from one ten-year break in the early 2000s, Bowie wrote and performed music from the 1960s until his death from liver cancer in 2016.
What is the Celebrating David Bowie Tour?
Saddened by his passing, some of the Thin White Duke’s friends and fellow musicians hosted a tribute concert in March 2016. The Celebrating David Bowie Tour kicked off its first run a year later.
The Celebrating David Bowie Tour gathers some great, well-known musicians, including Bowie’s former bandmates and collaborators, each year. The concerts feature tribute sets, usually taken from a specific era in the artist’s career. Although the tradition started in San Francisco, the show travels internationally. Previous tours made stops in 17 countries on five different continents.
Dozens of celebrities have joined the tours since 2017. Sting, Todd Rundgren, and Seal are just a few of the veteran participating musicians. But the 2023 edition is shaping up to be the biggest yet.
The 2023 tour will focus on Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust period and the later part of his career. Tickets range from $30 to $250 and up, depending on seating. The U.S. tour starts in Houston, Texas, in April and ends with a final stop in Tacoma, Washington, in early May.
Who is Peter Murphy?
Peter Murphy is best known as the lead singer of the post-punk band Bauhaus. Nicknamed the Godfather of Goth, Murphy had a soft spot for music from his earliest years. He and his childhood friend Daniel Ash started Bauhaus in 1978. The band was especially successful in the U.K., where their cover of Ziggy Stardust charted at number 15.
The singer was tapped to perform on the 2023 Celebrating David Bowie Tour. Adrian Belew, one of Bowie’s former guitar players, will also join Murphy on all the concert dates. Musicians from bands like A Perfect Circle, Devo, and Spacehog round out the lineup. Murphy said he was surprised by the opportunity to join the tour, describing it as “enticing.”
David Bowie’s Greatest Songs
David Bowie wrote great songs at every stage of his career. However, the Thin White Duke didn’t just write songs; he inhabited them. Despite his long list of hits, a few of this musician’s tracks rose above the rest.
Bowie released Changes in 1971. The song was a single from his album Hunky Dory, which came out the same year. The star described the first draft of the track as “kind of a throwaway” song. However, his younger fans connected with the tune’s sympathetic lyrics.
Changes is about personal transformation and identity. Bowie wrote the song during a period of change in his own life. In the early 1970s, he and his first wife, Angela, were preparing for the birth of their son Duncan. He’d also just started writing songs on the keyboard, which opened up a new world of possibilities for his work.
This song appeared on the 1972 concept album Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Although the track wasn’t released as a single, it reached number 17 on Billboard’s Hot Rock Singles chart after Bowie’s death.
Bauhaus released a successful cover of Ziggy Stardust in 1982 that charted at number 15 in the U.K. Other bands like Def Leppard and Hootie & The Blowfish have also covered the song.
Ziggy Stardust was a character and stage persona Bowie inhabited for nearly two years. Vince Taylor, whom he met in the late 1960s, was the inspiration behind Ziggy, an androgynous rock god from an alien planet sent to save Earth from destruction. However, Ziggy fell victim to his ego and fame, eventually dying a tragic death.
Playing Ziggy onstage took a toll on Bowie’s own mental health. He retired the character in the summer of July 1973, explaining that the persona clouded his sense of identity.
Heroes debuted in 1977 as the lead single from Bowie’s album of the same name. Former Roxy Music keyboardist Brian Eno co-wrote and co-produced the track. The rock star recorded the song at a studio in West Berlin, as he was living there at the time.
The song’s inspiration came directly from Bowie’s time in the city. In an interview, the musician said he’d witnessed a couple kissing by the Berlin Wall. So he imagined a forbidden romance between two lovers, one from each side of the Wall. The song’s fictional lovers are so committed to each other that they meet every day despite the threat of death.
Bowie performed the song at a famous 1987 concert held on the west side of the Berlin Wall. Citizens in East Berlin gathered on the other side, singing the tune loudly enough for everyone on the western side to hear. The musician described it as one of the most emotional performances of his life.
Is the Celebrating David Bowie Tour Worth It?
David Bowie left his mark on the rock world through his uplifting, powerful songs. His work shaped the sound of today’s music and inspired generations of new musicians.
The star’s death was a tragic loss for his friends and fans, but his music lives on. Thanks to the Celebrating David Bowie Tour, music lovers can continue experiencing the Thin White Duke’s magic.
Do you plan on attending one of the stops on this tour? Let us know in the comments.
Sunday 30th of April 2023
Kelli Flanagan please notify me by messenger/Facebook
Monday 1st of May 2023
Kelli, if you'd like to see the posts on Facebook, you can go here and 'Like' the page. https://www.facebook.com/greatoldiesmedia Thank you!
Monday 17th of April 2023
Will the tour be coming to Sydney…?
Monday 17th of April 2023
It looks like they're sticking with the US this year, but here's their website so you can keep an eye on it. https://celebratingdavidbowie.com/