David Bowie’s “Blackstar” Lyrics Meaning

In “Blackstar“, Bowie makes several references to death as though it was a final declaration of who he was and what could happen after his departure.

In the second bridge of the song, he points to the fact that someone would replace him after he leaves the earth. There are also numerous phrases that relate to the singer’s exploration of satanism. For instance, he makes mention of the fallen angel and a flash in the pan which are both symbols ascribed to the devil.

Throughout the song however, Bowie presents himself as a kind of religious and societal rebel who is being prompted about his imminent death. He denies being any other kind of star because although he identifies with the kind of power they wield, he wants to be seen in a different kind of light that opposes the general view.

David Bowie passed on few weeks after he released this song.

What does David Bowie mean when he refers to himself as a “Blackstar”?

“Blackstar” in the context of the song takes on two possible meanings. The first and most likely being a reference to the singer’s rise to stardom and his fall to mortality.

Secondly, the term is used in medicine to describe a type of cancer. Since the singer died of liver cancer, it is also possible that he was referring to his illness whenever he mentioned Blackstar.

“I’m a Blackstar”

Summary

Bowie presents himself as a significant personality who is making a transition into a state where his legacy is carried on despite his death.

Writing Credits

Bowie (as usual) composed “Blackstar” in its entirety. He also worked with noted American musician and producer Tony Visconti to have the song produced.

When did “Blackstar” come out?

On the 19th of November, 2015, Bowie released this powerful track as the first single from his last studio album. Bowie himself named this very important final album after this song.

History on the Record Chart

“Blackstar” performed well on an assortment of record charts. For example, it went to numbers 61 and 78 in Britain (UK Singles chart) and America (Hot 100) respectively. Now, in relation to the latter chart, history was made as soon as the song charted there. And why? This is because the song, whose album version is approximately 9:57 in length, became the longest to ever chart in the Hot 100.

Bowie held on to this record until it was beaten by Tool’s “Fear Inoculum” in 2019. “Fear Inoculum” has a total running time of 10:21.

“Blackstar” shines at the Grammys

At the Grammys held in 2017, “Blackstar” was one of the biggest winners of the Award’s Night. Having being nominated for multiple Grammys that night, it ended up winning two. One was for the award of the “Best Rock Performance”. And “Best Rock Song” was the second. In winning this, “Blackstar” prevailed over these songs:

  • Radiohead’s “Burn the Witch”
  • Metallica’s “Hardwired
  • Twenty One Pilots’ “Heathens
  • Highly Suspect’s “My Name Is Human”

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