A story I often recall from high school history classes is that former president Theodore Roosevelt once gave a speech during a re-election campaign, despite having been shot by a would-be assassin. That feat of heroism alone didn’t secure his next term, but it certainly made a case for his cultural immortality.
As many fans reflect on David Bowie Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of his passing on Jan. 10, 2016, I wanted to bring to attention the performer’s own, similarly supernatural moment that few people seem to recall.
On Jun. 19, 2004, David Bowie was playing for a crowd of around 7,500 at the Norwegian Wood Festival in Oslo, Norway. Due to circumstances that still remain mysterious, a lollipop flew from the crowd to the stage area, miraculously landing and lodging into the performer’s left eye.
“Where are you, creep?!” Bowie can be heard sneering on an unconfirmed audio recording that’s made the internet rounds. And when he didn’t get a response, the performer added, “I guess it’s easier to get lost in the crowd, you bastard.”
As assistant rushed to the stage to help Bowie dislodge the grotesquely dangling lollipop from his already famously damaged eye. As fans perhaps already know, a schoolmate had injured Bowie’s left eye in a fight over a girl. Its pupil became enlarged after taking a punch, causing a condition called anisocoria.
Addressing the crowd again to reference the lollipop-in-eye incident, Bowie called out, “Do remember? I’ve only got one, anyway. Fortunately, that’s the one that works. So I’ll find you.”
He continued to joke, “The other one has just become a little more decorative than it was before ... Lucky you hit the bad one.”
Bowie never found the perpetrator, but according to The Associated Press, Norwegian publications claimed to track her down. The woman quoted claimed it was an accident.
After the candy became stuck in Bowie’s eye, you’d certainly expect or at least forgive the musician for ending the set or wrapping the concert early.
Instead, because Bowie was a superhero, he did the opposite.
With the lollipop now removed ― luckily, without blinding damage ― the 57-year-old Bowie announced to the crowd that he and his band would “have to do an even longer show.” Of course, the crowd cheered wildly at this.
The performer threw a guitar pick into the crowd, jokingly asking afterward if he hit anybody.
Before the concert was over, Bowie ended up playing an incredible 27 songs. He remained on the stage for over two hours and 20 minutes.
Immediately after getting hit by the lollipop, Bowie cautioned, “Please keep your affection to yourself.”
Now, over a decade later and in a time where fans and loved ones miss him deeply, consider ignoring that particular request.
If you want to see pictures from this incident, Norwegian publication Dagbladet has images of the lollipop stuck in Bowie’s eye as well as a few shots from the removal effort.