A farewell tribute to greatness

By:

ASHER BERKSON-GOLD ‘19

Special to The Denisonian

Legends. True legends.

A few weeks ago, four days apart from one another, the world lost two of the most graceful, kind-hearted, insightful, influential men to ever have been put on this Earth: David Bowie and Alan Rickman.

The parallels between these two men are quite uncanny—both male British artists whose lives were cut too short at the age of 69 due to cancer.  Instead of dwelling, however, on their tragic passing, it would be best to focus instead on their personal achievements.

I think it can be said that both of these men had unparalleled change on their perspective forms of art. In a time when the rock genre was by the books, Bowie created an alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, and took the world by storm with his songs, such as “Starman” and “Space Oddity” (which were truly out of this world). These classics reinvented the rock genre entirely, pioneering us into a new world of exploration, one of experimentation, creativity, and freedom of self-expression. Bowie continued this trend by releasing major hits, such as “Heroes,” “Changes,” “The Man Who Sold the World” and of course with his final album, Blackstar, released just a few days before he passed away.

Not to be outdone, Rickman changed the entire villain archetype. In quite possibly his best film, Die Hard, Rickman played Hans Gruber, arguably one of the best movie villains of all time. With this film he set the course for all future villains to follow. He was smart, funny, clever, cool, and most importantly, felt no remorse for what he was doing. This is what a villain should be.  Before the emergence of Hans Gruber, the world had never known a villain quite so captivating. Rickman’s special touch was his ability to make the villain a true character, not just an evil face.

These two men, Bowie and Rickman were true visionaries. Bowie forever changed the music business with his work by collaborating with other artists such as Bing Crosby and Queen, to make two of the most well received songs in their respective genres: Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth, a Christmas song, and Under Pressure, an arena rock anthem.

Rickman, one of the most iconic characters in modern cinema, will be remembered for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies, bringing J.K. Rowling’s books to life through his candor, seriousness, passion and dry wit.  His character made the Harry Potter franchise what it is today, a truly magical journey that will never be forgotten.

These two men leave behind families whom they treasured deeply, as well as art that will live on through the passing of time.

“We could be heroes, just for one day.” They were heroes, in the purest sense of the word. These men inspired so many people to become better singers and actors, to follow their dreams, to make a difference in the world.

Their legacy will live on through their work, their words and through the lives they have touched through the years.

Rest easy friends.