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David Bowie: ‘The man who sold the world’

How David Bowie music provided a soundtrack to the life of youth reporter Jarrett Ramones

Compton Herald | David Bowie
David Bowie painting by Jarrett Ramones


A letter to David Bowie, from one of his youngest fans

Compton Herald | David Bowie

Photo of musician David Bowie. By RCA Records (eBay front back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

British rock legend David Bowie died Jan. 10. 2016, leaving a lasting legacy that touched millions around the globe. In this letter to the late musician, actor and fashion icon, The kNOw youth reporter Jarrett Ramones shares how Bowie’s music provided the soundtrack to a life measured by the “distance between rented spaces.” Ramones recommends listening to “Eight Line Poem” to accompany your reading. – Editor

By JARRETT RAMONES, Contributing Writer

You don’t know who I am but you’ve been there my entire life.

It was my dad who first introduced us. My dad loves music (yeah, I know; everybody “loves” music) but seriously, I remember very few moments with my father that some limited-release extended B-side Temptations track wasn’t playing.

I didn’t notice your presence at first, to be honest. As a kid I mostly remember, “Fame” and “Golden Years.” I remember hearing you mentioned in movies my dad and I watched, like “The Wedding Singer,” and “Zoolander.”

When my family split up, I was pretty young and my dad moved the two of us around a lot . After he got married we began moving more often and I spent a lot of time alone listening to music.

I was 14 the first time I heard you sing “Life on Mars,” and I was 21 when you sang it again the night after my dad and I stopped speaking.

In those moments listening to you I felt like I was not alone. I don’t know how to begin to thank you.

For the nights my friends and I screamed out your lyrics on rooftops, in cars, and sitting rooms just trying to relieve some pressure.

For the morning we counted down to lift-off, flailing our arms in a goofy dance to “Space Oddity” across the floor of our friend’s apartment.

And for when I felt like I couldn’t communicate with the world around me but you had the words I needed.

I don’t know how to say goodbye.

To the man who was the brightest light in the labyrinth and the blackest star in space.

To those of you who knew him best and those like me who didn’t.

I’ve only heard it said well once before — to the man who sold the world.

To sir, with love.

Jarrett Ramones is a youth reporter for The kNOw Youth Media, a division of New America Media.

New America Media is the first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2,000 ethnic news organizations in the U.S. More than 57 million ethnic adults connect to each other, to home countries and to America through 3,000+ ethnic media -- the fastest growing sector of American journalism.

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