How David Bowie Changed the World 

Jacob Shelton
Updated October 13, 2018 13.8k views 28 items

When most of us woke up the morning of David Bowie’s passing, the last thing anyone expected was for the starman to not be with us anymore. The outpouring of emotion from celebrities and regular people proves that David Bowie's influence went beyond that of a normal rockstar. Whether you were introduced to the Thin White Duke by SpongeBob SquarePants, or by Jim Henson in his role as Jareth the Goblin King, your psyche has no doubt been irrevocably altered by David Bowie. This list of the many ways David Bowie changed the world only scratches the surface of the impact that the singer, songwriter, actor, and activist had on everyone from Kanye West to Tilda Swinton. Try to dry your eyes for a moment and read about David Bowie’s monumental impact on the world.

It’s terribly sad to see someone like David Bowie pass away as he was in the middle of what seemed to be an artistic resurgence. His death, on January 10, 2016, followed the release of the excellent album Black Star by only a few days, and prior to that he released The Next Day, a startling reimagining of his glam rock roots.

On this list you’ll see artists who David Bowie influenced and quotes about David Bowie that prove the world as we know it wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the chameleon-esque artist who began his life as David Jones. As one of the most profound David Bowie quotes goes, “I don’t know where I’m going, but I know it won’t be boring.” Such is this collection of the ways he transformed the world for the better.
He Gave Everyone Permission to Be Themselves
He Gave Everyone Permiss... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list How David Bowie Changed the World
Photo: Metaweb/CC-BY

David Bowie wasn't just a musical chameleon, changing his style the way some of us change our clothes; he was an artist who refused to be painted into a corner by anyone - even himself. He flirted with fashion, changed his musical tastes, and did pretty much whatever he wanted just to see if it was something that could propel him further on his journey of artistic exploration. In doing so, he gave every living person the go-ahead to do the same.

It might seem superficial, but by smearing a lightning bolt across his face, dying his hair, and developing a late in life obsession with electronica, Bowie said that it was okay for you to try anything you wanted. And if didn't work out then it didn't matter, because you tried something new and that's what's important.
In the '90s, Bowie Brought Electronica to the Masses
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube
Before Skrillex and Diplo were sitting on a pile of money thanks to their drum machines, David Bowie was shirking his rock god status in order to try out life behind the decks. In the early '90s he embraced the subculture of electronic music, which was at that point only bubbling under the surface of the musical world. On albums like Outside and Earthling, Bowie combined his art rock leanings with the possibilities that awaited musicians in the era of digital creation. He didn't invent dubstep, but he did make electronic music palatable to a generation of people who had no idea what was happening in the clubs of London and Detroit.
With Ziggy Stardust, He Reinvented the Rock and Roll Stage Show
With Ziggy Stardust, He ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list How David Bowie Changed the World
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY
In the '60s and '70s, if you went to see a band play, that's what you saw. There were no projections, no crazy light shows, just the band and their music. This is great if you're seeing the Ramones, but when glam was the music of the day, Bowie turned the concept of the live show on its head by creating characters that interacted with the audience and adding a theatricality that would influence rock music forever.
He Single Handedly Pulled Iggy Pop Out of Obscurity
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube
If you've ever danced alone in your room to "Lust for Life," or quoted "China Girl" to your friends (these are totally normal things that very normal people do) then you have David Bowie to thank for that. Yes, Iggy Pop was fronting The Stooges well before he met the Thin White Duke, but by the singer's own admission, he'd be a street person if it weren't for Bowie's insistence that they make an album together.