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Ziggy Stardust, The Artist And Yog

by Nicki Hymowitz

Photo Courtesy of

In 2016, we lost three groundbreaking musicians who revolutionized the world of music. David Bowie, Prince and George Michael weren’t afraid to take risks and kept audiences intrigued with their rebellious and provocative take on music. The musical icons we lost will always be remembered as innovators, whose powerful music careers inspired millions that it was acceptable to be yourself and just dance.

David Bowie was known to be unpredictable not only with his fashion choices, but through his variety of personas he created during his music career. Some of his most famous characters were Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke. His alter egos gave him the ability to constantly change up his music styles from glam rock to jazz to electronic dance music. Bowie’s most popular hits include "Space Oddity," "Changes," and "Let's Dance."

“His pitchy vocals and intriguing voice played an integral part of his stardom,” said Fan Elise Felber (COM ’19). David Bowie’s eccentric fashion style and music abilities influenced many artists including Lady Gaga. She said in an interview, “Every morning I wake up and think, ‘what would Bowie do?’”

David Bowie sadly passed on January 10, 2016 after a battle with cancer, which he kept secret from much of the world. On that day, there was an outpour of love from fans and celebrities thanking Bowie for creating music that was unique, rebellious and inspirational to all throughout many decades. He was an alien; innovator, creator, a true rock ’n’ roll legend that will always be remembered for his bold artistic choices.

Prince was the king of pop. He sold more than 100 million records and won seven Grammys throughout his career. Prince was one of very few that recorded much of his music on his own, from production, arrangements and instruments to vocals. Some of his greatest hits include “Purple Rain,” and “When The Doves Cry.”

He also wrote, directed and starred in his own films based on many of his hit albums, which gave fans great stories behind the music.

“The way Prince was able to defy gender norms, while being confident in his masculinity made him a true legend,” said Jurnivah Desir (COM ’19). Prince was a sex symbol of his time and fans were mesmerized by his passionate, emotional stage performances. His sudden death on April 21, 2016 was a shock to all. After Prince’s death, President Obama tweeted, “Nobody's spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative." Prince will not only be remembered for his funky suits, but for the way he transformed the world of pop music, and remained himself while doing it.

George Michael, affectionately known as Yog, was first known as a teenage heartthrob in the pop duo Wham! Michael, alongside band mate Andrew Ridgeley, gained worldwide success from hits such as “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Last Christmas.” After the Wham! broke up, Michael went solo, where he would be known for his controversial yet catchy pop music. George released his first solo album Faith in 1987. The record sold more then 20 million copies worldwide, which included the famous hit “Father Figure.”

George Michael was an activist who campaigned for LGBT rights throughout his career. He impacted the gay community and inspired people to embrace their individuality. Michael showed people who followed his career that he wasn’t going to change who he was for the public. He never wanted to hide from his identity, and was always open in his relationships and his provocative lifestyle.

Long-time fan Michael Kelly, 55, of New York admired Michael’s honest spotlight.

“His raw authenticity throughout his music and lifestyle made him appealing and respected by all,” said Kelly. Michael, who suddenly passed December 25, 2016, will not only be remembered for his signature jewelry and leather jacket, but for his honest and free expression in life and music.

These three musical icons may be gone, but the music they left behind will continue to inspire for years to come.

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