Bowie was his charming, brilliant self when he visited Berklee, spoke, and received an honorary doctor of music degree on May 8, 1999. I was there that day. I grabbed five highlights.
  1. (Music) has allowed me so many moments of companionship when I've been lonely, and a sublime means of communication when I've wanted to touch people. It's been both my doorway of perception and the house I live in.
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  2. It's impossible for me to talk about popular music without mentioning probably my greatest mentor, John Lennon. I guess he defined for me, at any rate, how one could twist and turn the fabric of pop and imbue it with elements from other artforms, often producing something extremely beautiful, very powerful and imbued with strangeness.
  3. (About presenting a Grammy to Aretha Franklin): Aretha steps forward, and with not so much as a glance in my direction, snatches the trophy out of my hands and says, "Thank you everybody. I'm so happy I could even kiss David Bowie." Which she didn't! And she promptly spun around swanned off stage right. So I slunk off stage left.
  4. Describing the Berklee student population of 1999): "Jazzers...rockers...samplers." The photo is his portrayal of a sampler.
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  5. I only hope that music embraces you with the same lusty life force that it graciously offered me. Thank you very much and remember, if it itches, play it.