There’s been some discussion as to what extent David Bowie appeared de novo and to what extent he was the product of the music industry and education system of his time. Allow me to submit this piece of evidence.

An orchestra is a highly specialized piece of technical equipment and you don’t just “figure out” how to run one. You don’t just stand in front of the orchestra, wave your arms and tell them to do the violin thing. No, sir, you go to school and learn, and then you get out of school and hire a lot of other people who also went to that school but have slightly different specialties. There’s no other way. You can’t fake this.

It requires educational investment and sustained economic investment to get a song like this. Without that, you can turn on the radio and that’s what you get.

Whoever the next blackstar is, he or she is going to have to do it all with a keyboard and samples. If they’re American, we’re gonna have to hope that they went to an area with a decent magnet school, because if they haven’t it’s gonna be 4/4 and C major.

Don’t get me wrong. It’ll still be good. It’ll still be very good, and very new, and exciting and fun.

But it won’t be anything like this.

Because we have lost this technology.