Five years ago, Planet Earth lost its Starman.
The world reeled with sadness and loss when news had come over that David Bowie had passed away. He was, is, and always be my favorite singer. Even now, his passing doesn't yet seem quite real to me.
He was also the largest influence on the members of Duran Duran. Without him, my favorite band just would not be. Naturally, the Duran Duran band members feel the gravity of his loss.
Five years after Bowie's passing, Bowie's longtime pianist, Mike Garson, produced a concert that included various artists playing Bowie songs as a tribute to celebrate Bowie's life. This included Duran Duran playing one of Bowie's earlier songs, Five Years.
This was an interesting choice. It was shortly after his father had passed away that Bowie had a dream that his father told him he only had five years to live, which distressed him greatly at the time. Of course, Bowie lived several decades after that, but it was beautiful how that song was used five years after his actual passing to keep his memory alive.
As a Duran Duran fan, this was a delight for me! It was very sweet and moving to see them reach far back into the roots of their music to give the song a gentle embrace in a way that is so... Duran Duran. It was also good to see them look good while doing it. This has been a crazy time with the whole COVID thing, and John Taylor was even sick from it last year, but they all looked radiant and healthy. It was wonderful, and a relief, to see them in action again! Plus, it has been five years sine their last single, which makes the cover of the song all the more welcome!
As a David Bowie fan, however, I felt a bit conflicted with how Duran Duran covered Five Years.
The first reason is that there was a slight change in the lyrics. Subtle, but I felt that the modernized lyrics was untrue to Bowie's art. David Bowie did not modernize. He recreated. He did not adjust his art to fit the times. He made the times fit his art.
The second reason is that Five Years feels watered down without the angst. Don't get me wrong, Simon LeBon sang it beautifully, and with apparent care. But when David Bowie recorded it, he threw all of his emotion into what he was doing to the point that he was very nearly uncontrollably crying and screaming towards the end of the song. It was reported that it took him a while to collect himself after they were done recording. The song covered in a controlled manner has left me a bit... underwhelmed.
However, being both a David Bowie and Duran Duran fan, I am so very glad that this tribute happened. It was a very moving experience to see Duran Duran collaborate with Mike Garson to help keep the spirit of Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane, Jareth, Black Star, and all of Bowie's personas alive for us all!
Smiling and waving and looking so fine~ Five Years