• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Death of David Bowie
Berlin pays tribute to dearly departed Bowie
David Bowie on stage outside the Reichstag in 1987. Photo: DPA

Berlin pays tribute to dearly departed Bowie

The Local · 11 Jan 2016, 15:40

Published: 11 Jan 2016 10:32 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Jan 2016 15:40 GMT+01:00

"Berliners are mourning a musical genius and one of their most famous fellow citizens," Berlin mayor Michael Müller wrote, adding that the city's connection with Bowie had not just been musical.

"He as an artist belonged to us," Müller added. "We are proud of that."

By 9:26am, people had already begun leaving candles and floral tributes outside the Hauptstrasse 155 block of flats in the Schöneberg district, where Bowie lived with Iggy Pop in the late 1970s while recording his "Berlin Trilogy" of albums.

By 3:25pm, the building was besieged with flowers - with one of the bouquets even playing Bowie's music to passers-by.

And the star's passing was front-page news on the online editions of all the capital's newspapers.

"David was the rare artist that truly searched for that 'whatever it is' until the end of his life – he held a torch high so others might see the paths and possibilities in the dark ahead," Anton Newcombe, lead singer of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Berlin resident, told The Local.

"He brought great things out in others," Newcombe added, name checking Iggy Pop and Tony Visconti.

DON'T MISS: David Bowie's Berlin in pictures 

"David provided a foundation to bring some of the most important music of our time – my time – into being."

Newcombe also pointed to "Heroes", Bowie's blockbuster collaboration with Brian Eno – which Bowie also sung in German as "Helden" – as his "finest hour".

Bowie sung it at a legendary concert in front of the Reichstag (parliament building) - then a deserted hulk abandoned for decades because of its proximity to the Berlin Wall - in 1987.

The song, released on the album of the same name in 1977, had become an instant hit with its lyrics referencing the Wall – and the hope that the people might one day overthrow it.

I, I can remember (I remember)
Standing, by the wall (by the wall)
And the guns shot above our heads
(over our heads)
And we kissed, 
as though nothing could fall
(nothing could fall)
And the shame was on the other side
Oh we can beat them, for ever and ever
Then we could be Heroes, 
just for one day

"'Heroes' is one of Bowie's best-known works and became an anthem for our still-divided city and its longing for freedom," Berlin mayor Müller said of the song.

"With this song, Bowie didn't just set an enduring bar for music, but also expressed irreversibly his connection to our city."

The German Foreign Ministry went so far as to say that Bowie's song "helped to bring down the Wall".

The Wall would be a theme Bowie returned to decades later with the release of "Where are we now" in 2013 – in which he sings of the Bösebrücke in northern Berlin, where the first checkpoint was opened in 1989.

The Local will be following the tributes to Bowie from Berlin throughout the day and updating this article – please check back.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Six burning questions for British expats about Brexit
Photo: DPA.

Uncertainty has kicked in over Brexit and what it may mean for Brits living in Germany.

Merkel demands German vote on EU free trade deal
Photo: DPA

Angela Merkel said the German parliament should be consulted on the EU's free trade deal with Canada, setting her on a collision course with the European Commission.

Red-faced pensioner declares war on pre-recorded sexline
Photo: DPA

An 84-year-old from Bavaria has reported a sex hotline to police after it let down his expectations of late night lust - and then charged him through the nose.

Brexit vote
Brexit 'doesn't pose big risk' to German economy
Car manufacturing at Volkswagen. Photo: DPA

While the financial markets have been thrown into disarray by the Brexit vote, leading experts on the German labour market say the country is easily strong enough to cope.

Berlin colony says no to more 'non-Germans' in its gardens
One of the many small garden colonies in Germany. Photo: DPA.

A public Berlin garden colony has come under fire for denying two Turkish families allotment spaces, saying there are already too many 'non-Germans' using the allotments.

Germany experiences highest birth rate in 15 years
Photos: DPA

Germany is experiencing a mini baby boom - but a veritable "death boom" is more than balancing out the score sheet.

Monsanto still 'open' to deal with German chemical giant
An Indian Monsanto farmer seen at work in 'Sweet Corn' field at Monsanto Bangalore Centre. Photo: EPA.

Monsanto said on Wednesday it was still open to a potential merger with Bayer, or to another big deal, as it reported lower earnings due to a tough agricultural market.

Shock birthday party attack at campsite leaves one dead
A broken fence posts found at the campsite. Photo: DPA.

Violence erupted at a campsite birthday party in Lower Saxony leaving one dead, police reported on Wednesday.

Trabi totalled on Autobahn after skidding on snail slime
Photo: Paderborn police

A vintage East German "Trabi" car has come unstuck after its driver hit a snail trail on the Autobahn.

Munich 'to spend extra €2.2m' on Oktoberfest security
Oktoberfest in Munich, 2014. Photo: DPA.

After terror attacks in Paris, Brussels and most recently Istanbul, Munich could spend nearly €3 million more on security and other measures - but terrorism isn't the only concern: the biggest fear is overcrowding.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
7,943
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd