Bearing flowers, lipstick and glitter, fans around the world Tuesday paid tribute to rock icon David Bowie a year after his shocking death.
Bouquets of flowers appeared once again outside the New York apartment where Bowie spent his final years, recreating the festive and communal scene that emerged after he passed away on January 10, 2016.
Sabrina Rosneck, a student from Detroit who came to New York for a Bowie anniversary concert, slipped a letter into the makeshift memorial outside The Starman’s Soho home.
“I leave him a card whenever I come to New York. I feel like he sort of understands people and he kind of understood me even though he didn’t know me, so I just want to update him on my life and how it’s going,” she said.
Like many fans, Rosneck credited Bowie — who constantly reinvented himself in a half-century career that spanned from glam rock to electronica to disco — with helping people accept themselves.
Aurelio Ayala III, who flew to New York from Seattle, said that discovering Bowie transformed his youth in Texas, where he dyed his hair orange in the rocker’s honour and didn’t look back.
“He allowed me to express myself the way I wanted,” the 56-year-old said on the sidewalk outside Bowie’s apartment, between the building’s dumpster and slushy snow.
“Living in Texas you are looked upon if you’re a little different. I never really cared — and to this day, I don’t care.”
– Tribute concerts around the world –
Bowie died from an undisclosed battle with cancer two days after releasing his last album, “Blackstar,” a work of hard-driving jazz that won glowing reviews.
Columbia Records on Sunday released three additional tracks from the “Blackstar” sessions in a digital EP to celebrate what would have been Bowie’s 70th birthday.
Bowie’s veteran producer Tony Visconti, one of the few people to whom the rocker had confided his illness, said he has “been through every stage of grief in the past 365 days.”
Visconti, writing on Facebook, recalled that Bowie had been “so much stronger, more positive and bursting with creativity” when making “Blackstar.”
“Our team, the band, the technicians and everyone who visited us in the studio kept shooting glances at each other — is this really happening?” he recalled of the final recording sessions.
“He was a legend in his lifetime and he will be a legend until the end of time. But he was my friend, too. I miss him dearly.”
Bowie fans organised concerts around the world to mark the anniversary, with proceeds to go to charities.
The New York show on Tuesday evening will feature Kate Pierson of The B-52s and rockers Living Colour with veterans of Bowie’s band.
– ‘Eternal’ Bowie –
A similar show on Sunday at London’s Brixton Academy brought out actor Gary Oldman, who was a close friend of Bowie, and artists as diverse as Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliot and Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon.
Bowie was born in the south London district, where thousands had gathered after his death to sing, dance and cry for their hero.
On the anniversary, a blonde girl wept as her friend drew a heart with lipstick on a Bowie mural in Brixton.
“Gone but never forgotten,” “All the days of my life I owe you” and “RIP David my hero my idol,” read some of the inscriptions scrawled on the wall.
“He changed the face of music,” said Roger Rowley, an actor and musician who travelled down from Leeds in northern England to attend a vigil by the mural along with dozens of other fans.
“I’ve learnt more from Bowie as an artist as from anyone else. He’s eternal,” he said.