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Author: Jan Draper
  • Video
  • 5 minutes

Lazarus: David Bowie's bio-obituary

Updated Monday, 11 January 2016
What does David Bowie's last single tell us about his attitude to a death he almost certainly was expecting?

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It is of no doubt that 'Lazarus', Bowie's latest and last single, was prophetic.

Knowing that he was dying of cancer at the time he wrote the song and indeed made the video, Bowie poignantly foretells his death. In this regard it is a bio-obituary, as he tells the world of his 'scars that can't be seen', his 'drama that can't be stolen' and that he has ‘nothing left to lose’.


Always re-creating himself throughout his long career in pop music, Bowie was the master of reincarnations. And it is as if 'Lazarus', who paradoxically was raised from the dead by Jesus, was Bowie's ultimate rebirth as he pronounces 'Oh I'll be free'.

The symbolism is mind blowing in its power and significance. So although the master of reincarnation could not overcome death, his final words to us – literally death-bed words – leave us in no doubt that Bowie understood that he would be set free.

And what of the wardrobe in the corner of the room? Is this symbolic of ‘the’ Wardrobe in Narnia – the portal to another world that had at one time always been winter but was itself ‘set free’ by the mighty Aslan? In death, just as in life, Bowie has used music and video to confound and to challenge and also mysteriously to console: ‘Look up here I’m in heaven’.

Rest in peace David Bowie.


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