Patrice Dougan is the Herald's education reporter.

Duke of Brixton back at top of charts

It’s the rise of Ziggy Stardust as fans stock up on music and pay tributes
Bowie poses late last year for a promotional picture for the Blackstar album. Photo / Sony Music
Bowie poses late last year for a promotional picture for the Blackstar album. Photo / Sony Music

Barely 24 hours after he died, David Bowie was yesterday back on top of the music charts.

Blackstar, his final album, released four days before the 69-year-old musician lost a secret 18-month battle with cancer, peaked at No 1 on the US iTunes.

As grieving fans gathered in places linked to the singer to leave tributes and flowers in the London suburb of Brixton, where he was born; outside the star's old apartment in Berlin, where Bowie recorded his Heroes album; and in Hollywood, where his Walk of Fame star was covered with candles, flowers and glitter - his musical legacy took off.

In New Zealand's iTunes album chart, Bowie compilation album Nothing Has Changed took the No 1, No 4 and No 5 spots, while The Best of Bowie hit No 3, and Let's Dance No 6. In total, seven Bowie albums were sitting in the top 10 albums last night, while 12 more had placed in the top 40.

In Brixton, hundreds of fans gathered together under a mural of Bowie, and joined in an impromptu sing-along to some of the visionary British rock star's most famous tunes, including his first hit, Space Oddity.

The eulogy appeared to turn into a celebration of his life and music, as one fan with a guitar led a mass sing-along.

Brixton's Ritzy cinema reportedly put out a call on social media to have a street party - in a nod to Bowie's famous song with Mick Jagger - outside the theatre to pay tribute to Bowie, putting the words, "Our Brixton boy", on its marquee.

Stars of the music world, including the Rolling Stones, Madonna, rapper Kanye West, and Kiwi singer Lorde, all paid tribute to the legendary singer.

Lorde remembered the time she met Bowie, saying it heralded her into a new life.

"I've never met a hero of mine and liked it. It just sucks, the pressure is too huge, you can't enjoy it. David was different," she wrote on Facebook.

"That night something changed in me - I felt a calmness grow, a sureness. I think in those brief moments, he heralded me into my next new life, an old rock and roll alien angel in a perfect grey suit.

A man places flowers at his birthplace at Brixton in London.  Photo / AP
A man places flowers at his birthplace at Brixton in London. Photo / AP

"I realised everything I'd ever done, or would do from then on, would be done like maybe he was watching. I realised I was proud of my spiky strangeness because he had been proud of his. And I know I'm never going to stop learning dances, brand new dances."

Comedy duo Flight of the Conchords also bade farewell to Bowie.

"Goodbye to our Space Commander", Kiwi comedians Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement posted to Facebook, sharing a link to their song Bowie's in Space on YouTube, which has been viewed nearly three million times.

At the Burberry show at London Fashion Week, some models honoured Bowie by sporting glittery makeup, while some had written "Bowie" across their open palms.

Meanwhile, close friends of the star revealed they were also kept in the dark about the disease which claimed Bowie's life.

American musician and producer Nile Rodgers, a close friend of Bowie's for 30 years who worked with the singer on Let's Dance, said he suspected a couple of years ago that his friend may have health problems, but didn't think it was his place to ask.

"I didn't want to pry," he told the Associated Press.

David Bowie in 1983.
David Bowie in 1983.

Brian Eno, who collaborated with Bowie on Low and Heroes, said his death "came as a complete surprise, as did nearly everything else about him".

"I received an email from him seven days ago. It was as funny as always, and as surreal, looping through word games and allusions and all the usual stuff we did. It ended with this sentence: 'Thank you for our good times, brian. they will never rot'. And it was signed 'Dawn'.

"I realise now he was saying goodbye."

Auckland tonight
Whammy Bar, St Kevins Arcade, 183 Karangahape Rd.
9.30pm. Free.
Guests include DJs Marty Duda, Tina Turntables, DJ Skinny, Zac Arnold, John Baker, Steve Abel, Kailee Raven, Pennie Black.

Auckland, Friday:
Ding Dong Lounge, 26 Wyndham St, Auckland.
8pm to 4am. Free.
A selection from his 40+ year musical career over the PA.

Wellington, Thursday:
San Fran, 171 Cuba St.
7.30pm to 11.30pm. Free.
Prize for the best Bowie on the night.

- NZ Herald

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