In many ways, the 2016 BRIT Awards felt like the perfect cap to this lengthy period of David Bowie memorial. In 2014, at 67 years old, Bowie became the oldest recipient of the Best British Male solo artist award. And, after all, who could better eulogize him than his compatriots?
We already detailed Lorde’s stunning cover of “Life on Mars?”—a performance that garnered praise from Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, after Lady Gaga’s Grammys tribute infamously did not. The speeches that preceded Lorde, though, were just as profound.
Annie Lennox took the stage first, charged with presenting Bowie with the BRIT Icon Award, what she called “the very highest level of British achievement.” In her speech, she described Bowie as a “quintessential visionary, pushing the limits of his shape shifting persona, the ultimate iconoclast. Gracious, dangerous, and legendary.” Before calling Bowie’s longtime friend, Gary Oldman, to the stage to accept the award on his behalf, she added: “The legacy of his extraordinary sound and vision will be loved and revered for as long as the earth still spins.”
Oldman, who recently covered Bowie at a tribute in LA, spent several minutes remembering his friend. After several stories, the British actor revealed that he had been one of Bowie’s confidants when he contracted cancer, and he shared part of that experience.
“I can share with you that David faced his illness with enormous courage, dignity, grace and customary humor. Even in dire circumstances, when he wrote to tell me the bad news that he had cancer, he added ‘But the good news is, I’ve got my cheekbones back.’ He was the sweetest soul ever.” Eyes welling, Oldman concluded by addressing Bowie himself. “David, you were mortal, but your potential was superhuman and your remarkable music is living on. We love you and we thank you.”
This was certainly the most heartfelt Bowie tribute to date. Check out the video above and let us know what you think.
HT: Rolling Stone
IMAGE: Jimmy King