David Bowie fans are convinced his final album holds heavy references to the King of Rock and Roll himself. After recording it secretly, Bowie released Blackstar just two days before he died in 2016. Without the artist’s insight into the project, fans have analyzed the record repeatedly, leading to the theory that there are several references to Elvis Presley.
Elvis Presley had a lesser-known song titled ‘Black Star’
According to The Guardian, the album title is the most convincing link to Presley, as it possibly refers to The King’s less popular song, “Black Star.” Many believe the black star referenced in the lyrics represents death. “Every man has a black star, a black star over his shoulder,” Elvis sings. “And when a man sees his black star, he knows his time, his time has come.”
Even though Bowie kept it hidden from the public, it later came out that he received a liver cancer diagnosis 18 months before his death. As he knew it would be his last album, mortality is a recurring theme on Blackstar. It’s reasonable to believe the musician connected deeply enough to this Presley song that he decided to name his final album and lead single after it.
David Bowie released ‘Blackstar’ on Elvis Presley’s birthday
Another connection between Bowie’s Blackstar and The King is its release date. The album came out on January 8, which is Presley’s birthday. Coincidentally, it’s also Bowie’s birthday. The singer turned 69 on the day his final record went public and died two days later in his New York City apartment.
While it’s possible Bowie’s only intention was to release the record on his birthday to bookend his life, it’s no secret that he considered sharing a birthday with his icon significant. According to The Guardian article, he told Q in 1997 that Presley “was a major hero of mine. And I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something.”
David Bowie almost collaborated with Elvis Presley
Like many musicians from his generation, Bowie greatly admired Presley. In fact, according to Smooth Radio, he had “an encyclopedic knowledge” of The King’s career. Presley may have also been a fan of Bowie, as he reached out to Bowie to collaborate before his death.
While speaking with Orange County Register, country star Dwight Yoakam shared a conversation he once had with Bowie. According to their exchange, Presley called Bowie in 1977 and asked him to produce his next album.
“That was based on Elvis having heard Bowie’s ‘Golden Years,’” Yoakam said, “and I thought, ‘Oh my God, it’s a tragedy that he was never able to make that.’”
Presley died just six months later.
“I couldn’t even imagine 1977 David Bowie producing Elvis,” he continued. “It would have been fantastic. It has to be one of the greatest tragedies in pop music history that it didn’t happen, one of the biggest missed opportunities.”
A missed opportunity indeed! Fortunately, we have Bowie’s final contribution to the music industry to remember him by.