Without him, there would be no punk, no glam, no post-punk, no hair metal, no goth, no Brit-pop, no new wave, no freak folk, no new romantics, no (as we know it) blue eyed soul, no (as we know it) art-pop. Most of the original genres we love and most of the revivals of the genres we love would be gone, too. No glitter, no too tight pants, no wonderful, wonderful haircuts (and therefore no Nick Cave or Robert Smith). No heels on men, hell, possibly less heels on women. No Kate Bush and no Maxwell. Without Heroes, no U2, no Coldplay, no Arcade Fire, no blessed and absurd grandeur to get us through the prosaic. No Pulp—who would have taught Jarvis to move? No Talk Talk. No Blue Nile or Japan. No Labyrinth, The Hunger, or The Linguini Incident. While we're talking about the vision, the humor and, forgive me, lust for life: no Zoolander. No Bauhaus or Smiths; without a slinky and elfin arm around Mick Ronson while singing "Starman" on Top of the Pops, there's no Morrissey, Marc Almond, Boy George, or George Michael. No Outkast or Kanye West, I'd be willing to bet, and I'd be willing to bet they'd agree. Iggy Pop would've died or found that just crawling through glass tends to yield diminishing returns. Nile Rodgers maybe (probably) would be a footnote in his own coke dream. Eno would have disappeared into atmospherics and useless art.
Maybe not. Maybe not to all of this. Maybe Scott Walker or Bryan Ferry or somebody I've never heard of or an alternate-reality still-living Marc Bolan would have stepped into the absence and all would have been exactly as it turned out after all. And didn't it turn out fine? I mean, the music. The world is still entirely fucked, but wasn't it nice to have David Bowie for the time we did. And isn't Blackstar a lovely note to rest after? Even if you weren't a fan—I was certainly late to that particular party—your band, your haircut, your life probably would be far worse without him. Of course there's no way of knowing. Thank God.