Brian Paone

Author // Musician

Does it really come in 3s? Is Bowie the start of a new string, or the unfortunate 4th?

They say death comes in 3's, and that has not seemed to be any more prevalent than when talking about celebrities. I remember in the 90s when we were losing musicians, and they seemed to come in 3s (if you do the division, it seems to come out to a number divisible by 3): Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon, Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Brad Nowell (Sublime), Freddie Mercury (Queen), David Reilly (God Lives Underwater), Layne Staley (Alice In Chains), Jeff ward (Nine Inch Nails), Dwayne Goettel (Skinny Puppy)... the point is, if you look at the Wiki page for every death of a musician that was on a label, the total number is divisible by 3 through the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s... creepy.

So with that, since November, we've had Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots), Lemmy (Motorhead), and Natalie King Cole all pass away. That should have shut the door on the 3s and given us some breathing room for awhile. But then I woke up Monday morning to find out that one of my heroes, someone I had been faithfully listening to since 1983, had passed away. I had seen "Labyrinth" in the movie theatre with my mother opening weekend. It was sold out and we had to sit in the front row, and this was back in the day when the front row was like 5 feet from the screen, and all I remember is having to look straight up to see the screen. Boy my neck hurt when that movie was finished! I started my Bowie "fandom" with the release of his "Let's Dance" album in 1983, and I have bought every album after that, pretty much on the week the albums have been released. I also went back almost immediately and completed the backcatalogue of every album that came before "Let's Dance." I finally was able to see David Bowie live for the very first time when he co-headlined with Nine Inch Nails in 1995. Nine Inch Nails were touring on "The Downward Spiral," and Bowie was touring on his "Outside" album. I remember Nine Inch Nails went on first, and there was ZERO transition from their set into Bowie's set. Bowie came out during Nine Inch Nails' set, and they did a "duet" of "Scary Monsters" and then went into "Hurt," while Nine Inch Nails band members slowly disappeared off the stage while Bowie's touring musicians took their place, seamlessly going into Bowie's part of the show. The music never stopped. It was fantastic. I was able to see Bowie live only 3 more times. Twice in 2002 on the "Heathen" tour, and lastly, in 2004 on the "Reality" tour. I remember on the 2004 show, he played "Under Pressure," and one of his female touring singers did the job of Freddie Mercury's parts, and it was mind-blowing.

So with that said, my fear is Bowie has started the next string of 3s, with 2 more to com this month... or did he bend all the rules in death, as he did in life, and finally break the curse and become the 4th. Either way, Godspeed David. The world is a darker place without you.

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