The tragic death of David Bowie took the world by surprise, but now it seems that–even though it seems his final album, Blackstar, was meant as a goodbye–he was actually working on a follow-up to that album just days before he passed away.
Longtime Bowie producer Tony Visconti recently sat down for a conversation with Rolling Stone, and said that during their final conversation a few days before the release of Blackstar, Bowie still had plans to work on another album, which would have been his twenty-seventh.
“I was thrilled, and I thought, and he thought, that he’d have a few months, at least,” Visconti said. “Obviously, if he’s excited about doing his next album, he must’ve thought he had a few more months. So the end must’ve been very rapid. I’m not privy to it. I don’t know exactly, but he must’ve taken ill very quickly after that phone call.”
Bowie had gotten as far into the album as writing and recording demo versions of five songs. He was aware of his illness for a long time–when he passed, his family said Bowie had been fighting cancer for 18 months–but he didn’t seem to realize exactly when he would succumb to it. In fact, it seemed like things were looking up for Bowie’s health in mid-2015.
“He was optimistic because he was doing the chemo and it was working, and at one point in the middle of last year, he was in remission,” Visconti said. “I was thrilled. And he was a bit apprehensive. He said, ‘Well, don’t celebrate too quickly. For now I’m in remission, and we’ll see how it goes.’ And he continued the chemotherapy. So I thought he was going to make it. And in November, it just suddenly came back…”
While we will likely never hear the follow-up to Blackstar, we did get Blackstar itself, a poignant farewell that is among the most experimental and engaging records of the fallen legend’s career. Also, we take solace in the idea that despite his physical limitations, he worked hard creating things for others to hear up until the very end.
HT: Rolling Stone
IMAGE: Jimmy King