When news the iconic pop singer David Bowie passed away swept the world, many paid him tribute, including the German Foreign Office, who tweeted: “Good-bye, David Bowie. You are now among #Heroes. Thank you for helping to bring down the #wall.“
David Bowie had moved to the Cold War isolated city of West Berlin in 1976 to escape the Los Angeles cocaine-addled rock scene. From the high-flying Hollywood, he moved first to Switzerland, but then to Berlin, finding lodging in a neighborhood filled with Turkish immigrants above an auto parts store. Within a year he released two albums, and would produce a third for his “Berlin Trilogy.” His second album from Berlin was anchored by the anthemic title song “Heroes,” co-written with Roxie Music’s Brian Eno, which featured a love story lived in the shadows of the Berlin Wall.
In 1987, David Bowie returned to Berlin to play a live concert along with other artists such as Genesis and the Eurythmics. It led to riots on the other side of the wall in East Berlin. Bowie’s “Heroes” had become the anthem for a Berlin yearning for reunification.
Though David Bowie never really learned German fluently, he released “Heroes” with German lyrics: “Helden.” Another version, “Héros,” was released in French. In whatever language you prefer, let’s take a moment to remember this international legend of music.