The ‘80s: David Bowie

davidbowie2For writers, music critics, record companies, music charts, streaming services, and of course music fans, labels are somewhat of a necessary evil.  Rock, R&B, pop, soul, country, dance—the list goes on and on, as does the need to categorize an artist. David Bowie, however, was an artist who defied labels. Scratch that, he was more than an artist. David Bowie was art, and in the six decades during which he graced us with his presence, he was able to transcend genre, transform style, ooze sexuality, and influence the worlds of art, music, fashion, and pop culture in one fell swoop.

For Bowie, the 1980s began with an ending of sorts. His first album of the decade, Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), would be his last with RCA Records. The album included the tune “Ashes To Ashes,” a song which, in addition to being accompanied by one of Bowie’s captivating music videos, took the top spot on the charts in the U.K. Of course, no 1980s musical playlist would be complete without a track or two from Bowie’s 1983 release, Let’s Dance, the album which teamed him up with producer Nile Rodgers and became a multi-platinum smash thanks to the eternally funky title track as well as the tunes “China Girl” and “Modern Love.” The song “Blue Jean,” from his 1984 album Tonight, hit the top 10 on charts worldwide.

In addition to enjoying the success of 1987’s Never Let Me Down, his 1989 side project, Tin Machine, and a U.S. top 10 cover of Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing In The Streets (a duet with The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger), Bowie also appeared in several feature films during the decade. He took on the role of Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, joined up with singer Sade in the feature film Absolute Beginners, and made an appearance in a German film based on the 1970s drug scene in West Berlin, Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo. He also made a cameo appearance in the 1985 feature film Into The Night, starring Jeff Goldblum and Michelle Pfeiffer, and starred as Jareth the Goblin King in the 1986 fantasy film, Labyrinth.

—Montrose Cunningham

Montrose Cunningham is a Dallas, Texas-based, independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado, with a Master of Science degree in Marketing. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughters, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his release Inertia at, follow him on Twitter @MontroseC and check out his blog, Daddy Rock Star.

One Comment

  1. Todis Fly says:

    I know David and Don are hanging at some funky club in heaven smiling upon us ! Thank you Soul Train for carrying us threw many hard losses in the industry Peace Love and Soul Todis T. Fly …..

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