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Lou Reed

David Bowie changed the very meaning of being a rock star

David Bowie made clear, in a way that was exhilarating and sometimes frightening, what every rock star since Elvis Presley and Little Richard had been telling us all along — that anything was possible.

With his unpredictable range of styles, his melding of European jadedness with American rhythms and his ever-changing personas and wardrobes, the gaunt and erudite Bowie brought an open theatricality and androgyny to popular music that changed the very meaning of being a rock star.

From album to album, and concert to concert, fans were never sure how he would look — in black leather and a pompadour; in makeup and orange hair as his alter ego Ziggy Stardust;...