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Remembering David Bowie

The Audiophiliac bids farewell to the Thin White Duke.

The term "recording artist" may be applied to anyone who records music, but David Bowie, who died of cancer on Sunday aged 69, was in every sense a true artist.

From the start he was an original, and over the decades he donned a succession of personas and guises -- pop star, rocker, soul singer, Internet pioneer, avant-garde performer, video game designer, stage and screen actor, and tireless fashion trendsetter -- but in the end he was always David Bowie.

His albums included "Let's Dance," "Space Oddity," "Young Americans" and "Diamond Dogs," with his big breakthrough coming in 1972 with "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars."

He collaborated with Brian Eno over the course of three extraordinary albums, "Low," "Heroes," and "Lodger," which are among Bowie's best, though among his least commercially successful works. Bowie didn't take star billing when he made three ferocious hard-rock albums with his band Tin Machine in the late 1980s.

I saw Bowie a few times in concert, and his stage presence was riveting. He sounded more soulful than he did on recordings. His connection to the audience was total, he was there for us.

He co-wrote the off-Broadway musical "Lazarus" with Enda Walsh that's currently playing at the New York Theater Workshop and his latest album "Blackstar" was released last Friday, on his birthday. I spent a good deal of time listening to it over the weekend, with no idea he was unwell. The rich, jazzy sound of "Blackstar" took me by surprise, and the dense mix perfectly suited the music. "Blackstar" stands beside his very best work, and I can think of no other rock star who was still growing as an artist until the very end.