During this year's BRIT Awards, the late David Bowie was honored with the Icon Award with heartfelt speeches by Annie Lennox and Gary Oldman.
The BRIT Icon Award is given to artists who, in the words of Annie Lennox, "have made a lasting impact on the Nation's culture, representing the very highest level of British music achievement."
Bowie, who passed away early this year, was indeed a British icon. He began his journey in 1969 and only ended with his passing on January 10, 2016 due to cancer.
Both Lennox, who introduced the award, and Gary Oldman, who accepted the award on Bowie's behalf, gave impassioned, heartfelt speeches that clearly conveyed the impact Bowie made both as an artist and a man.
Singer Annie Lennox spoke of Bowie's stature as an artist, describing him as"cutting edge artistic genius" and "a true iconoclast". She goes on to highlight the importance of Bowie to British culture, stating that he is "a fixture in our collective inner psyche."
After her powerful introduction, Lennox handed the stage over to actor and Bowie's close friend, Gary Oldman. Oldman gave an emotional acceptance speech recalling David's sense of humor, courage, and artistry.
The video truly captures the emotion of both speeches:
The Independent published the transcript of Oldman's speech, which can also be found below:
We are coming to terms with the magnitude of David’s passing. The Jones family lost a husband and a father. Those closest to David lost a dear friend and the world lost a man, an artist of transcendent talent.
As Annie so gracefully said, David’s contribution, his influence on popular music, on culture itself has no equal, he was the very definition, he was the living embodiment of that singular word icon. I am so deeply touched and honoured to be hear tonight to accept this award for David and his family.
In recent years David sparingly spoke about music and his process; but in one of these rare instances, he graciously and elegantly expounded.
‘Music has given me over 40 years of extraordinary experiences. I can’t say that life’s pains or more tragic episodes have been diminished because of it, but it has allowed me so many moments of companionship when I have been lonely and a sublime means of communications when I have wanted to touch people. It has been both my doorway of perception and the house that I live in.'
Over his career, David challenged and changed our understanding of the medium, whether in music or in life, he emphasised originality, experimentation, exploration, and in his very unique way, he also reminded us to never take ourselves too seriously.
David was funny. He was funny, hilariously so, and the laughs were many and massive, and I shall miss them. A related story, a few years ago we were standing on a street corner and he was approached by this big fella, rocker type, long hair, leather clad, and he offered up this piece of paper for David’s autograph.
David signed the piece of paper, and as the fella walked away he turned to me and said ‘Well, he’s going to be disappointed.’ I said ‘Why?’ and he said ‘Because I signed it Gary Oldman’. His outlook was always positive, and I never once heard him complain.
David faced his illness with enormous courage, dignity, grace and customary humour. Even in dire circumstances. When he wrote to tell me the bad new that he had cancer, he added, ‘the good news is I have my cheekbones back.’
He was the sweetest soul ever, with the best cheekbones, until it was done. David, you were mortal, but your potential was superhuman, and your remarkable music is living on. We love you, and we thank you.
Were you moved by these tributes? How did they compare with Lady Gaga's Grammy tribute? Let us know in the comments below.