David Bowie's death 'sad, sad, sad day' for Edmonton music fans

It was an unusually busy morning Monday at Freecloud Records, an Edmonton music store named after David Bowie's 1969 song Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud.

Bowie's sold-out Commonwealth Stadium concert in 1983 put Edmonton on the rock-and-roll map

David Bowie is shown performing on stage during a concert in Hamburg, Germany in October 2003. Bowie died Jan. 11 after a battle with cancer. (Maurizio Gambarini/EPA)

It was an unusually busy morning Monday at Freecloud Records, an Edmonton music store named after David Bowie's 1969 song Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud.

The long-time Edmonton record store just north of downtown sold about a dozen or so Bowie albums before lunchtime according to Nick Kouremenos, who was working behind the counter.

Kouremenos said he was surprised to see the Bowie fans trickling in.  The news of the singer's death sent legions of fans online Sunday night expressing shock at his death.  

Bowie had just completed his latest album Blackstar.

"Everyone's been asking about it today," Kouremenos said. "It'll likely be in later this week."

With his Bowie T-shirt proudly peeking out from in behind his jacket, Rob Boone came in looking for a copy.  

"I had heard it streaming online and I was like, 'Yah, I wanted to go get that anyways', but I was like, 'I better go get that before everybody else does', right? " he said.

Boone admitted he didn't even know about Bowie's death until he woke up in the morning.    

'So weird, so surreal'

"It was just so weird, so surreal, I was like, 'No, that can't be real, right?'  

"First it was (Motorhead lead singer) Lemmy Kilmister, now David Bowie and I had no idea he was even sick, it just floored me."  

"I felt like I was gutted really. It was horrible," Boone said.

Boone remembers being introduced to Bowie's music by his cousins who came to Edmonton in the 1980s for a sold-out concert at Commonwealth Stadium.

"I think what people liked about David Bowie is that he made it OK to be weird.

"It was just something where people, if they're weird, and, especially where everybody else around them is so normal, you could see somebody who can be like that. It sort of made you feel like he was basically just singing to you."

Gutto Dolal admits he stumbled upon David Bowie a couple of years ago. He became a big fan of the grunge band Nirvana and liked their 1994 hit The Man Who Sold The World.  Little did he know it was a cover of one of Bowie's classics.  

Huge influence on all genres

"Before I got into rock, I didn't really know who David Bowie was.

"I knew who he was before he passed, and when I found out he had passed last night on Twitter, the only thing I could tweet out was that it was a sad, sad, sad, sad day for music in general because he had a huge influence not only on rock, but on all genres, Hip Hop, R&B.

"To be able to express who you are and not care what anybody thinks, I think that's just so important in music in general."

For Freecloud store owner Rich Liukko, the news of Bowie's passing didn't come as a surprise. He had heard about the singer's battle with cancer.

Liukko says since he's been in business, Bowie's music has always been a good seller and he expects that to carry on.

"You get a little bit of a bump when somebody passes away, but for the most part, Bowie for the last decade has just been a really, really consistent seller especially the mid-70s — the Berlin years of his — we can't keep them in stock.

"No record stores in Canada can keep them in stock because people just love Young Americans and that era of Bowie.

'It's just timeless actually'

"It just music that fits in with what people are listening to now, it's just timeless actually," Liukko said.

Liukko, better known as Rich Bomber, lead singer for the Edmonton Ska band, The Mad Bomber Society, said Bowie helped expose underground music to an entire generation of fans.  

He remembers being in the crowd of 60,000 at the 1983 concert when Bowie brought his massive tour to Edmonton.  

He credits Bowie's concerts in the 80s for helping put Edmonton on the music map, and opening the door for visits by other major bands like ACDC, Duran Duran, and The Police.

"They were amazing shows, just a fantastic setup," he said. "The first time he came through with Peter Gabriel and the tubes, and Peter Gabriel was stunning, but Bowie was doing the Let's Dance tour and I think Serious Moonlight and that was just an amazing show, a great spectacle."

Liukko spent most of the day Monday taking more orders about Bowie's new album, which he hopes will be in later this week.

"It just came out actually. A very, very weird irony — the album was released on vinyl the day before he passed away. But you know what? It's a great epitaph."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.