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David Bowie Tributes
The Quietus , January 11th, 2016 14:44

The music world pays tribute to an icon

Tributes to David Bowie have been rolling in online and via social media all day following the news of his death at the age of 69 after an 18 month battle with cancer. Rough Trade have announced that all profits from Bowie records bought from them this month will be donated to Cancer Research UK.

Further David Bowie tribute features from tQ will follow later in the week while we have today dedicated our homepage to reaching into the archives for a range of past Bowie-related features on the site.

You can find a number of other tributes from musicians and music industry figures below.

Tony Visconti

“He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life - a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn't, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry.”

Brian Eno

"David's death came as a complete surprise, as did nearly everything else about him. I feel a huge gap now.

"We knew each other for over 40 years, in a friendship that was always tinged by echoes of Pete and Dud. Over the last few years - with him living in New York and me in London - our connection was by email. We signed off with invented names: some of his were Mr Showbiz, Milton Keynes, Rhoda Borrocks and The Duke of Ear.

"About a year ago we started talking about Outside - the last album we worked on together. We both liked that album a lot and felt that it had fallen through the cracks. We talked about revisiting it, taking it somewhere new. I was looking forward to that.

"I received an email from him seven days ago. It was as funny as always, and as surreal, looping through word games and allusions and all the usual stuff we did. It ended with this sentence: 'Thank you for our good times, Brian. they will never rot'. And it was signed 'Dawn'.

"I realise now he was saying goodbye."

Pet Shop Boys

“We are all Bowie's children. He inspired us and changed our lives. Love, gratitude and respect always for him and his work. Our truest condolences and sympathy to his family.”

Irvine Welsh

“I'm crying. I think I'm done here. Bowie died as he lived, displaying uplifting, inspirational class. Kept quiet about his illness, released a masterpiece, then checked out.”

Billy Bragg

“Bowie was the only pop star from my schooldays who wasn't dismayed by punk. It inspired him and he inspired it. A truly transcendent artist.”

Anton Newcombe, The Brian Jonestown Massacre

“David was the rare artist that truly searched for that 'whatever it is' until the end of his life – he held a torch high so others including myself might see the paths and possibilities in the dark ahead… He was a special type of artist. Even while he shined so bright, he brought out greatness in others… David provided a foundation to bring some of the most important music of our time – my time – into being."

Kanye West

"David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime."

The Mountain Goats

“David Bowie's music, over the years, has meant more to me than I can say. We have lost someone who imparted comfort and strength to us.”

Iggy Pop

"David’s friendship was the light of my life. I never met such a brilliant person. He was the best there is.”


"RIP David Bowie. A true Inspiration."

Jarvis Cocker, speaking to 6Music

"He was like an umbrella for people who felt a bit different. Bowie was like a like a lighthouse that guided those people and made them feel it was alright to be different, to try things out and dye your hair and wear strange clothes. I think people feel it very personally because he was very important in how people grew up.

"I do think it’s quite amazing that he put this record out and managed to keep it secret that he was ill. People should watch that 'Blackstar' video and listen to that song. It’s like he’s saying goodbye to everybody, he’s controlling it.

"We can all talk about David Bowie. I think the best thing to do on this day would be to listen to him, and to watch films of him and just see what a fantastic artist he was and how many different guises he had, and the incredible amount of work that he did.

"Obviously it’s a sad day that he’s died, but the fact that he managed to stay in control of that image and make another artistic statement when he was obviously ill and knew that he was dying, I think that’s incredible and it makes me feel quite happy that he stayed creative right to the end of his life. I think that can only be inspirational." Listen to Jarvis' tribute here.

Bernard Sumner

"Very shocked and saddened to watch the news this morning and hear about the death of David Bowie. I always looked up at him and thought yeah - he's the real deal, indisputably good, a figurehead for a whole host of musicians I'm sure. We've lost someone unique who can't be replaced."

The Rolling Stones

“The Rolling Stones are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the death of our dear friend David Bowie. As well as being a wonderful and kind man, he was an extraordinary artist, and a true original.”

Gaz Coombes

"This is a dark day. We've lost our most influential figure in British culture and a wonderful man."

Nile Rodgers

"Dearest David, RIP - Your life changed my life. Love Forever."

Annie Lennox

"Legendary immortal… Head bowed to you."

Noel Gallagher

"Ashes to Ashes.The King Is Dead. RIP Big Man."

Michael Eavis, speaking to BBC Radio Somerset

“He played at four in the morning in 1971 and I was there listening to him at first light. It was absolutely brilliant because I’d never heard of this bloke. In the year 2000 he sang 'Heroes', one of the best songs of all time. You’re talking about world class music: Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and David Bowie, there are only three of them in the whole history of pop music and David Bowie is one of those three. We were told a couple of years ago that he would never play live again, so I knew [another Glastonbury performance] wasn’t going to happen, so they must have known he was ill then. But 'Heroes' is the song of all time, and he played 'Heroes' at the end of his set. There’s really nothing quite like that.”

The Human League

"RIP David Bowie, the man who changed the world."

Sir Paul McCartney

“Very sad news to wake up to on this raining morning. David was a great star and I treasure the moments we had together. His music played a very strong part in British musical history and I’m proud to think of the huge influence he has had on people all around the world.

"I send my deepest sympathies to his family and will always remember the great laughs we had through the years. His star will shine in the sky forever.”

Brett Anderson

"I had the pleasure of meeting David several times and he was always so charming and warm. To say he was a great artist is a lumpen understatement; his songs became the furniture of mine and so many people's lives and helped write the book of pop music itself. We are all far poorer without him."

Yoko Ono

"As John & I had very few friends, we felt David was as close as family. Sweet memories will stay with us forever." Read Yoko Ono's full tribute here.

Gerard Casale

"David Bowie was one of the greatest artists of all time. I feel privileged that I ever got to know him. He gave Devo his blessing. He remained true to his art until the end like I wanted so badly for us to do."

James Dean Bradfield

"He was not only a true giant of music but an utter gentleman who was generous as you could ever wish on meeting him - a musical signpost that guided generations past and future."

Ringo Starr

“God bless David Bowie peace and love to all his family.”

Marc Almond

"I can't think of an artist that I've felt as much affected by, who's died. And I spent most of the morning in tears actually.

"You can't overestimate really what an enormous cultural influence he was. And for someone like me, you know, thirteen, fourteen, sort of growing up, the music world then was a very masculine world.

"And for David Bowie to come along and to have this expressive theatricality, it's was like a beacon of kind of hope and light."

Midge Ure, speaking to Radio 4’s Today Programme

“We all look towards what he did. We're all still walking in his slipstream. We're all still many, many yards behind what he was doing. Because he led the way. He was the leader, he was the governor.

“He was consistent in the quality of what he did. Some things he did were more commercially successful than others. But you do get the overwhelming impression that commercial success wasn't his driving force.

“Creativity was. Constantly pushing the boundaries, constantly crossing barriers, you know, invisible walls he just seemed to walk through and move into areas that no-one would expect him to do.”

Peter Gabriel

“He meant so much to me and to so many. He was a one-off, a brilliant outlier, always exploring, challenging and inspiring anyone who wanted to push the boundaries of music, art, fashion and society.

“There are so few artists who can touch a generation as he did, we will miss him badly. Long Live Lazarus.”

Brian May

“I woke up late, after a long night, to shocking news. David Bowie gone. I don’t know if I can react immediately. He was a fearsome talent, and the loss to Music and Culture from his passing is inestimable. In and out of our lives, always challenging and innovative, and … shocking. But this news is hard to take in. I had no idea he was close to death. Would like to have said something …Very sad. Sincere condolences to his family. But what a life. All hail, David Bowie, Star Man, Hero. RIP."

Roger Taylor

“The cleverest and most interestingly brilliant man of our time. What a vacuum he leaves, and how he will be missed.”


“Talented. Unique. Genius. Game Changer. The Man who Fell to Earth. Your Spirit Lives on Forever!”


"'bowie is dead'. The three-word Facebook message — all lowercase — somehow reaches me on a barely-functional wifi network on the jetfoil between Korea and Japan. I get a burst of adrenalin, a surge of horror. Can this be a joke? If it is, it’s in very bad taste. I try to load the BBC News site on my phone. No joy. Try it on the MacBook Air. After much groaning and gurning the headlines finally load. Nothing about Bowie. It must be a hoax. I remember something Iman once said: “David doesn’t believe anything until it’s reported on the BBC.” I make a mental note to unfriend the joker. But then Twitter sputters into life. I manage to get half a page of my feed. One of the tweets is from Duncan Jones, Bowie’s son. It’s true, he says. There’s a photo of Bowie hoisting him onto his back. Duncan is going offline for a while, he says." Read Momus' full tribute here.

John Foxx

"He did everything beautifully - right to the end."

Steve Ignorant

"Something kind of hit me today..... The bloke whose songs got me through bad times and provided the name of a band has gone. Thanks for all the words and music, you were always the Nazz - now you're truly a Starman - off you go my dear Sweet Thing."