The entertainment industry lost one of its most talented and eccentric entertainers on January 10, 2016. Unbeknownst to fans and much of the entertainment industry, David Bowie was diagnosed with cancer and endured an 18-month battle. In a world where few secrets are kept and speculations abound, his death came as a huge shock when news flooded the media of his death.
Starting his musical career with his birth name David Jones, the famous singer decided to change his last name to Bowie to avoid confusion with Davy Jones, the lead singer of the Monkees. However, this wasn’t the only change he made during his career. He had several alter-egos, including Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, and the Thin White Duke. These egos often personified the type of music he performed, which ranged from rock, heavy metal, and psychedelic folk, to pop. But his singing was only part of his musical talent. He also played a number of instruments, including the guitar, keyboard, saxophone, drums, cello, and more.
With such a wide range of musical talent and his ability to continuously reinvent himself, David Bowie became one of the most successful music artists of all time. At the time of his death, he had 26 studio albums, record sales of approximately 140 million, and a net worth of $230 million. He was also rewarded with gold and platinum albums in the United Kingdom and the United States, and silver albums in the United Kingdom. In addition, he received numerous awards and nominations including Grammy awards and MTV video music awards. He was a smart businessman as well, selling rights to future royalties of his back catalog of songs for $55 million in 1997.
While he spent nearly 50 years as a singer, he was more than just an acclaimed musician. He also starred in films, television shows, and Broadway performances. True to his nature, he preferred to play unusual characters that showcased his dramatic and eccentric presence. His ever-changing appearance, musical range, and acting stints made him an entertaining icon. He was mysterious, theatrical, and talented, making him less than mundane and giving him opportunities to delve into new territories frequently.
Perhaps one of Bowie’s greatest achievements came shortly after his death. Bowie’s album Blackstar, released on his 69th birthday and just two days before his death, was the first album of his to reach number one on the charts in the United States. Sales of his last album skyrocketed, selling 43,000 copies just one day after his death, with streams of his songs soaring by 2,700%. All his albums moved to the iTunes’ top 100 two days after his death. In addition, his death spurred the sale of movies he starred in such as Labyrinth and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.
The increase in sales and an album climbing the charts often occurs following the death of an entertainer. Fans mourn the death of a famous person such as David Bowie by buying his work. This is one way to keep him “alive” and within reach. It is also what keeps David Bowie’s value strong. While his value will naturally decline over time since he is no longer around to create new work, it will not cease as his work will be available for years to come. Fans will continue to hear his music on the radio, remember his flamboyant character and performances, and cherish his talent.