2013 – The Year of David Bowie
On 8 January 2013 (his 66th birthday), out of nowhere, David Bowie’s website announced a new album.
Ending years of speculation, uncertainty and, yes, longing, the new album was to be titled ‘The Next Day’ and scheduled for release on 8 March for Australia, 12 March for the United States and 11 March for the rest of the world. Bowie’s first studio album in a decade, it contains 14 brand new songs plus 3 bonus tracks.
The website announcement acknowledged the length of Bowie’s hiatus as well as his artistic status:
“In recent years radio silence has been broken only by endless speculation, rumour and wishful thinking… David is the kind of artist who writes and performs what he wants when he wants … when he has something to say as opposed to something to sell.”
The announcement was accompanied by the immediate release of a single, ‘Where Are We Now?’, written and recorded by Bowie in New York and produced by longtime collaborator Tony Visconti. The video for the single, directed by New York artist Tony Oursler, was released on Vimeo the same day. Within hours of its release, the single topped the UK iTunes Chart and debuted in the UK Singles Chart at Number 6.
‘The Next Day’ debuted at number 1 in the UK, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland and has topped the iTunes chart in over 60 countries across the world.
The album scored Bowie his highest-ever chart position in the US (number 2), Worldwide critical acclaim for ‘The Next Day’ paralleled the album’s chart-topping successes.
The Independent declared it “the greatest comeback album ever”.
And the LA Times described it as “breathtaking… a marvelously successful return”.
Alongside the release of brand new music, Bowie’s artistic legacy was showcased and explored in an enormously popular exhibition of his costumes and artifacts at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The exhibition has gone on to tour the world.
Bowie also contributed backing vocals to the title track of Canadian band Arcade Fire‘s new album, ‘Reflektor’, which was released in October and he made a cameo appearance in a short film, titled ‘L’Invitation au Voyage’, part of an advertising campaign for French designer Louis Vuitton.
Bowie ended the year with announcements that he was up for three Grammy Awards and had received two BRIT nominations including Best British Male.
2013 was arguably one of the most accomplished years in David Bowie’s extraordinary, illustrious career.