David Bowie’s death this week at the age of 69 prompted a wave of tributes from fans across the world shocked by the loss of one of rock music’s most distinctive artists.
The singer, songwriter and musician - who died on Sunday from cancer, just two days after his birthday and the release of his latest album - made some memorable visits to Sheffield.
In June 1973 he performed at Sheffield City Hall on the Ziggy Stardust tour, and after the show he partied into the night at the now-closed Hallam Tower Hotel in Broomhill.
Carole Leader, a retired receptionist at the hotel, recalled Bowie making a call from his room late at night.
“He called me late on switchboard and asked me to send a telex, which had to be dictated and would print out at the receiving end,” said Carole in an interview in 2012. “I had to write it all down and read it out to a lady at the Grosvenor Hotel who had to send it from there. It was about him and someone he had met in Sheffield in some intimate detail!”
Fellow singers Lulu and Labi Siffre were in the bar at the hotel and gave an impromptu concert - with Bowie in the audience.
Meanwhile Barry Everard, who runs Record Collector in Broomhill, was among the few attendees when Bowie appeared at Sheffield University Students’ Union in early 1972, as part of a ‘dry run’ for the Ziggy venture. “I was on the entertainment committee and very excited that he’d been booked,” said Barry.
“He was not scheduled to go on until about 1.30am. I was quite shocked to get into the room to find a guy manning the bar, and standing next to it four rather drunken lecturers chatting up four slightly inebriated girl students. I found myself the only member of the audience paying him any attention. It was amazing that somebody who would later be so central, and vital, in music, I had a virtual one-to-one with. When every David Bowie album came out, it was an event.”
Jason Richford, from Hillsborough, who formed tribute band The Bowie Contingent in 2004, said the world had lost ‘one if its most important cultural icons’. The group had hosted an event on Saturday at West Street Live to mark Bowie’s birthday and the release of his album, Blackstar.
“As a teenager he taught me it was OK to be different,” said Jason.
Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker said: “The fact he managed to make another artistic statement when he was obviously ill and knew he was dying - I think that’s incredible.”
Martyn Ware, Human League and Heaven 17 founder, said Bowie was the ‘North Pole of music’, while artist Pete McKee said: “Bowie spoke to the misfit kids and outsiders. He made us not feel alone in a world that didn’t understand us.”
Bowie last appeared in the city at Sheffield Arena in 1995.