'Rue David Bowie': Paris to name street after rock icon

AFP , Friday 5 Jan 2024

The city of Paris will on Monday name a street after rock music icon David Bowie, officials said, a first in honour of the singer eight years after his death.

David Bowie
(Photo: AFP)


"Rue David Bowie" will be officially inaugurated in the capital's 13th district on the left bank of the city.

No former dignitary's name will need to be removed to make room for Bowie, as the street was created recently as part of a major makeover of the neighbourhood which also includes modernist university library Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand.

The thoroughfare -- around 50 metres (165 feet) long -- was previously known to city planners as "VoieDZ/13", a working title that could have appealed to Bowie himself who wrote songs such as "TVC15" or "5:15".

Bowie, who died on January 10, 2016, of liver cancer would have been 77 on Monday.

Bowie counts as one of the most influential, as well as best-selling, musicians of the 20th century, mostly thanks to his unparalleled ability to reinvent himself artistically throughout his career that took off with hit single "Space Oddity" in 1969.

His landmark songs and albums include "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" and "Aladdin Sane", and commercial smash hits "Let's Dance" and "China Girl" as well as gloomily experimental works such as "Low".

- 'Dancing in the Street!' -

Paris played less of a prominent role in Bowie's life than London, Berlin and Los Angeles, but French avant-garde theatrical culture was an influence on his visual style.

He also successfully covered French-language songs "Amsterdam" and "Ma Mort" (My Death) by Jacques Brel, who was not actually French but Belgian.

A cryptic line in Bowie's "Aladdin Sane" song refers to "Paris or maybe hell".

He still has a cult following in France, where fan clubs such as "Bowie France" sell merchandise, organise concerts and Bowie conventions drawing thousands, and where cover band "Bowie Reloaded" fills even large venues with nostalgic fans.

Monday's unveiling of the plaque is scheduled for 4:15 pm (1515 GMT), the mayor of Paris's 13th district, Jerome Coumet, said on X, former Twitter.

An avowed Bowie fan, Coumet launched the idea for a Bowie street in early 2020, and won Paris city approval later that year, arguing that the star had "a strong link with the city of light".

There is no record of a David-Bowie-named street anywhere else.

In his X post, Coumet announced that "the 13th welcomes David Bowie! Dancing in the Street!", a reference to a hit song performed by Bowie and Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger.

Monday's unveiling of the street name plaque will be followed by an evening of homage to Bowie at the district's city hall, featuring Bowie friend and biographer Jerome Soligny as well as Clifford Slapper, producer of a tribute album "Bowie Songs One".

A Bowie exhibition, also at the mayor's office, is to run to the end of next week.

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