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David Bowie: Huddersfield music expert Rupert Till reflects on massive influence of rock star

Rock legend Bowie dies at 69 after battle with cancer

David Bowie

Rock legend David Bowie was as big an influence on music as The Beatles, said a Huddersfield expert.

Dr Rupert Till, a reader in music at the University of Huddersfield, believes Bowie influenced countless genres over the past five decades.

The musician died in New York after an 18-month battle with cancer, just days after his 69th birthday and the release of his latest album Blackstar.

But Dr Till believes his music and his influence will live for ever.

He never got to see the man perforn live but said: “I was driving into work today and listening to Bowie’s Greatest Hits in the car.

“Most Greatest Hits collections have a few good numbers and then a lot of padding; but his two CDs are crammed full of brilliant music.

“I remember hearing Fashion when I was about 10 and wondered about this strange and amazing music.

“I went through the Ashes to Ashes phase with him and quickly realised what an influence he was having on music.

“He invented the idea of rock music and theatre working together on stage and in his music and brilliantly came up with the idea of creating a rock character who he could bring to life.

“Ziggy Stardust was meant to give him some privacy in his own life and he knew when he got bored, he could end him”.

Dr till said Bowie’s influences lasted through the glam rock days of the early 70s right up to the present day.

“You look at the punk bands and the New Romantics, and you see Bowie influences. You look at the shorty-hair rock bands like Blue, Suede, Muse and Radiohead and you see his influences.

“Then you look at the likes of Prince, Madonna, Lady GaGa who have all come up with different characters, different stage personalities, and you realise he is still there.

“It is an amazing legacy. There were The Beatles and then there’s Bopwie and they are both so influential in our music”.

Rock star David Bowie, whose groundbreaking music inspired generations during a career spanning six decades, has died at the age of 69 after being diagnosed with cancer.

The cultural pioneer’s death on Sunday, following an 18-month illness, was confirmed by his family.

His son, film director Duncan Jones, tweeted: “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”

The singer and guitarist died surrounded by his loved ones, a statement on his Facebook page said.

Bowie released more than two dozen studio albums - some of which are considered seminal moments in the history of music.

Tributes poured in from every corner of the world, from pop stars to politicians.

David Cameron labelled him “an immense British talent” while Queen drummer Roger Taylor said: ‘’The cleverest and most interestingly brilliant man of our time. What a vacuum he leaves, and how he will be missed.”

Here are some key statistics from his life.

Five UK number one singles: Space Oddity (1975), Ashes to Ashes (1980), Under Pressure (with Queen - 1981), Let’s Dance (1983) and Dancing in the Street (with Mick Jagger -1985)

13 weeks at number one in the UK singles chart

61 top 40 hits. The first was Space Oddity in September 1969; the most recent was Where Are We Now in January 2013

Flowers are left underneath a commemorative plaque to David Bowie's iconic creation, Ziggy Stardust, in Heddon Street, London, marking the 40th anniversary of the album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars, after the rock star died following an 18-month battle with cancer.

336 weeks spent in the UK top 40 singles chart

Nine UK number one albums. The first was Aladdin Sane in May 1973; the most recent was The Next Day in March 2013

599 weeks in the UK top 40 album chart, including 23 at number one

140 million - estimated worldwide record sales, enough to make him one of the top 10 biggest-selling UK artists of all time

Seven million - copies sold of Let’s Dance, Bowie’s biggest-selling album

Two - number of Brit awards, in 1984 and 2014. Both were for Best British Male. Bowie also won one Grammy award in 1985 and one Ivor Novello award in 1969

One - number of qualifications Bowie achieved at school: a single O-level in a

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