There have been a ton of tributes to David Bowie since his death last Sunday. Here’s another small one.
It’s Not Really Work, It’s Just the Power to Charm
In 1997, the movie Seven Years in Tibet was released. Starring Brad Pitt, it was based on the book of the same name written by Heinrich Harrer about his time in Tibet between 1944 and 1951. I never saw it, but I was aware of its existence.
Earlier that same year, David Bowie released a record titled Earthling that contained a song also called “Seven Years in Tibet.” That song and a handful of others ended up on a limited edition EP distributed by GQ Magazine called Earthling in the City.
I no longer remember how, but I came into possession of that random EP that probably almost no one remembers existed. I suppose I bought the magazine it came with or maybe someone gave it to me, but who knows? I do remember believing there must be some connection between the movie and the song, though that turns out not to be the case at all. Still, I listened to the song almost exclusively because of a vague awareness of a Brad Pitt movie I wasn’t even that interested in.
Earthling is not remembered as one of Bowie’s best albums, though I’d wager it has a few champions. One of the amazing things about David Bowie’s music career is that he did so many different things, they probably all resonated with a handful of people. Still, I’d guess that “Seven Years in Tibet” doesn’t make many Bowie top 10 lists. But it’s on there for me because of how it completely changed my understanding of, and relationship to, David Bowie.