Introduction - David Bowie: The Last Five Years (03:38)
Fans gathered in London to celebrate the life of rocker David Bowie following his death on Jan. 10, 2016. He was famed for his musical changes during a career that spanned five decades. He released some of his most revealing and fascinating work in his final years.
Secret Sessions (01:59)
Bowie suffered a heart attack in 2003 and disappeared from public life. He secretly returned to the studio seven years later. His band included guitarists Gerry Leonard, Earl Slick and David Torn, bassist Gail Ann Dorsey and drummer Zachary Alford. Producer Tony Visconti oversaw the sessions.
"Where Things Are Hollow" (04:28)
Bowie reflects on the nature of fame in an archival interview snippet. His band performs “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” a related song from his penultimate album, “The Next Day.” Band members recall how their individual parts were created.
Theatrical Rocker (04:17)
Bowie searched for his voice in the late 1960s before forming the Hype, his first costume band, with Visconti, guitarist Mick Ronson and drummer John Cambridge. The singer felt shy onstage but grew more confident after he adopted his Ziggy Stardust personae.
Bowie aspired to be a rock idol and studied the greats in his quest for fame. However, He also equated being famous with living in a fishbowl. Spiders from Mars pianist Mike Garson, backup singer Ava Cherry, and guitarist Carlos Alomar and more share their recollections.
Remembering Berlin (09:27)
Visconti, director Tony Oursler and others recall the making of “Where Are We Now?” and its video. The song harkens back to Bowie’s time in Germany in the 1970s and his relationship with “Song of Norway” actress Hermione Farthingale.
Reaction to Violence (04:16)
Bowie channeled the horror he felt at the trend of mass shootings into the song “Valentine’s Day,” which is sung from the perspective of a school shooter. The singer refused to depict blood or guns in the video, director Indrani explains.
"Next Day" Release (04:52)
In early 2013, Bowie was secretly finalizing the artwork for “Next Day.” Designer Jonathan Barnbrook struggled to come up with a design around a 1970s photo the singer wanted to use; he altered the cover of 1977’s “Heroes” instead. The album surfaced on March 11. Bowie granted no interviews.
“Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)” (05:42)
Bowie felt it was dangerous for artists to try to meet the expectations of others. He and Visconti recruited composer Maria Schneider to work on a song. Saxophonist Donny McCaslin, drummer Mark Guiliana, and guitarist Ben Monder rounded out the lineup for a jazzy new cut.
Creating "Blackstar" (09:59)
Bowie began work on what would be his final album in January 2015. Schneider suggested that Bowie work with McCaslin. The spirit of Major Tom was present during recording sessions and the making of Johan Renck’s music video. Bowie revealed that he was terminally ill.
Final Releases (05:01)
Bowie filmed his final music video, for “Lazarus,” in October 2015. He ceased treatments for cancer around the time of its recording. “Blackstar” was released on the singer’s 69th birthday; he died two days later.
Credits: David Bowie: The Last Five Years (00:42)
Credits: David Bowie: The Last Five Years
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