Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Remembering Bowie and the song that contributed to bringing down the Berlin Wall

Requiescat in pace David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), a.k.a David Bowie  
David Bowie at the Berlin Wall in 1987 (Getty Images)
Still shocked by the passing of this musical icon whose music was first a part of the sound track of my adolescence and continued on through to the present. At the same time impressed by his example in preserving his privacy while at the same time leaving a final piece of art reflecting on the mortal challenge that he faced in the end.

However it was the message sent by the German Foreign Office that brought back for me the power of one of my favorite Bowie songs: "'Heroes'".  Co-written by David Bowie with Brian Eno in Berlin in 1977 the song delivers a powerful message precisely because it is not a political song but one about two lovers by the Berlin Wall.
"I, I can remember
Standing, by the wall 

And the guns, shot above our heads
And we kissed, as though nothing could fall
And the shame, was on the other side
Oh we can beat them, forever and ever
Then we could be heroes, just for one day"
Ten years later Bowie's performance of "'Heroes'" on June 6, 1987 at the German Reichstag in West Berlin was considered by some to be a catalyst to the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall two years later. In 2002 he returned to the German capital then unified and sang the song again.

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