Bono, David Bowie’s Biggest Fan, Remembers the Time Bowie Shaded His Spider-Man Musical

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What are friends for? Photo: L. Busacca/Getty Images

Rolling Stone has continued to unveil its tribute issue to David Bowie — which so far has included tributes from Mick Jagger and Trent Reznor — today sharing a colorful story from Bono. In it, Bono reveals himself as the ultimate Bowie fanboy, dating all the way back to Bowie's 1972 Top of the Pops performance: "He was so vivid. So luminous. So fluorescent. We had one of the first color TVs on our street, and David Bowie was the reason to have a color TV .... With Bowie, you had this sneaking suspicion that if you hung around him, you might find some doors into those other worlds. In my teenage mind, 'Life on Mars?' was much more about, is there life on earth? Are we really alive? Is this really all there is?"

Bono says Bowie opened countless doors for him in the music industry, and that their relationship through the years ranged from fan, to friend, to critic. "We had a playful sort of banter — he would really go there in conversations, and we would even occasionally hurt each other's feelings," he says. And like Coldplay, Bono remembers a time when Bowie was unapologetically frank with him about Bono's work: "He took his daughter to a matinee to see Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and he sent me the reasons he didn't like it. And everything he said was really helpful, because it was in the early days of the show."

Still, Bono says his love for Bowie never wavered: "Over Christmas, my oldest daughter Jordan and I were listening to Blackstar a lot ... Blackstar is much more art, so I shouldn’t like it as much as I do. But I really loved it. And so did my daughter Jordan. I sent him a picture of myself and Jordan toasting him on his birthday this year. I sent him a long email, and I sent him a beautiful poem by Michael Leunig called 'Love and Fear' ... I didn’t hear back, but I was told he got it."