David Bowie’s final album “Blackstar” may not have been the singer-songwriter’s so-called death record. Jonah Renck, the director of the music video for Bowie’s single “Lazurus,” told the Guardian that the concept of the video was conceived before Bowie knew his cancer was terminal, and that it was his idea — not Bowie’s — to have the singer lie in a hospital bed for the video.
“I immediately said ‘the song is called Lazarus, you should be in the bed’,” Renck told the Guardian. “To me it had to do with the biblical aspect of it … it had nothing to do with him being ill.”
The shooting of the video took place around the time Bowie received his final diagnosis, roughly three months before his death last January.
Later this month, BBC-2 will premiere the new documentary about the singer-songwriter’s life, “David Bowie: The Last Five Years.” Director Francis Whately’s follow-up to his 2013 doc, “David Bowie: Five Years,” “The Last Five Years” will focus on Bowie’s final albums “The Next Day” and “Blackstar,” plus the song and off-Broadway musical “Lazarus.”
The film will include unseen interviews and archival footage, plus Bowie’s never-before-heard original voice on “Lazarus.” In the doc, record producer Tony Visconti says about Bowie’s recording of “Lazarus”:
“He would stand in front of the mic and for the four or five minutes he was singing he would pour his heart out. I could see through the window he was really feeling it. The audio picked up his breathing, it wasn’t that he was out of breath, he was hyperventilating in a way, getting his energy up to sing this.”
Bowie died on January 10, 2016, shortly after turning 69.