• 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
This Week in History
75 years since one of Holocaust's worst massacres
Photo: DPA

On Thursday, German president Joachim Gauck spoke in Kiev 75 years after the Nazis slaughtered 33,771 Jews during one of the worst single massacres of the Holocaust.

Six things you need to know about troubled Deutsche Bank

Shares in Deutsche bank plunged on Friday morning, dragging down other European banks and markets worldwide. Here are six things to know about Germany's biggest lender.

Deutsche Bahn jacks up prices for first time in 3 years
Photo: DPA

Germany's main rail provider, the state-owned Deutsche Bahn (DB), announced on Friday that it will raise prices on long-distance train travel.

Baby found alive in suitcase with skeleton in Hanover
File photo: DPA.

A baby has been found alive, along with the skeleton of another infant inside of a suitcase in Hanover, police reported on Friday.

Morocco to speed up repatriation of illegal migrants
Photo: DPA

Morocco has agreed to streamline the procedures for the repatriation of citizens living illegally in Germany, the royal court said late on Thursday.

890,000 refugees arrived in Germany last year - not 1.1m
Photo: DPA

Previous reports had suggested that around 1.1 million people entered Germany to seek asylum last year. But now the German government has confirmed the number was actually lower.

Racist attacks cast cloud over Dresden Unity Day planning
A police vehicle in Dresden. Photo: DPA.

As Dresden prepares to host Germany’s national Unity Day celebrations on Monday, the capital of the eastern state of Saxony is upping security after a mosque was targeted by a homemade bomb.

Sinking Deutsche Bank stock sends shock across Europe
Photo: DPA

Shares in Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank plummeted on the Frankfurt stock market on Friday, dragging other European banks and global markets down with it, after reports some customers were pulling money out.

The Local List
10 things you never knew about German reunification
Reunification celebrations in Hanover in 2014. Photo: DPA

With German Unity Day (October 3rd) happening on Monday, Germans are looking forward to a three-day weekend. But did you know these facts about reunification and German Unity Day?

Munich pharmacy’s nighttime porno show draws crowd
Photo: DPA

When a police patrol in Munich's Sendlinger Tor area noticed a crowd gathered outside a pharmacy window they went to investigate. But the onlookers weren't interested in a new line of flu medicine.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
6,582
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd