The Pronk Pops Show 601, January 11, 2016, Story 1: Constantly Changing Entertainer Extraordinaire: Iconic Singer and Actor Legend David Bowie Loses 18 Month Battle With Cancer Died January 10 At Age 69 — Rest In Peace — Is There Life on Mars? — Videos

Posted on January 11, 2016. Filed under: Art, Breaking News, Culture, Media, Movies, Music, News, Photos, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 601: January 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 600: January 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 599: January 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 598: January 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 597: December 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 596: December 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 595: December 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 594: December 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 593: December 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 592: December 14, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 591: December 11, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 590: December 10, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 589: December 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 588: December 7, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 587: December 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 586: December 3, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 585: December 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 584: December 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 583: November 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 582: November 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 581: November 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 580: November 23, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 579: November 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 578: November 19, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 577: November 18, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 576: November 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 575: November 16, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 574: November 13, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 573: November 12, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 572: November 11, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 571: November 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 570: November 6, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 569: November 5, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 568: November 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 567: November 3, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 566: November 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 565: October 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 564: October 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 563: October 28, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 562: October 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 561: October 26, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 560: October 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 559: October 22, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 558: October 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 557: October 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 556: October 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 555: October 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 554: October 15, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 553: October 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 552: October 13, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 551: October 12, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 550: October 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 549: October 8, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 548: October 7, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 547: October 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 546: October 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 545: October 1, 2015 

Story 1:  Constantly Changing Entertainer Extraordinaire: Iconic Singer and Actor Legend David Bowie Loses 18 Month Battle With Cancer Died January 10 At Age 69 — Rest In Peace — Is There Life on Mars? — Videos

david-bowie-

bow1young

David Bowie – Seven – Live HD

David Bowie – Life On Mars?

Lyrics
David Bowie

It’s a God-awful small affair
To the girl with the mousy hair
But her mummy is yelling no
And her daddy has told her to go

But her friend is nowhere to be seen
Now she walks through her sunken dream
To the seat with the clearest view
And she’s hooked to the silver screen

But the film is a saddening bore
For she’s lived it ten times or more
She could spit in the eyes of fools
As they ask her to focus on

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man look at those cavemen go
It’s the freakiest show
Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man wonder if he’ll ever know
He’s in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

It’s on America’s tortured brow
That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
Now the workers have struck for fame
‘Cause Lennon’s on sale again
See the mice in their million hordes
From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads
Rule Britannia is out of bounds
To my mother, my dog, and clowns
But the film is a saddening bore
‘Cause I wrote it ten times or more
It’s about to be writ again
As I ask you to focus on

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man look at those cavemen go
It’s the freakiest show
Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man wonder if he’ll ever know
He’s in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

David Bowie – Blackstar

David Bowie- Space Oddity Original Video (1969)

David Bowie – Space Oddity live excellent quality

David Bowie – Sound and Vision

Published on Jun 14, 2012

A documentary, which takes you on a journey of Bowie’s revolutionary career, struggle with his personal life and his achievements and successes. Features interviews with Bowie, Iman his wife, his musical contemporaries including Iggy Pop, Moby and Trent Reznor. Exclusive footage of live performances of the showman’s best and music and film to showcase 30 years of his career. Highlights Bowie’s interests, passions and involvement with the arts. One not to be missed!

Song included in this Documentry;
Fame
Ziggy Stardust
Young Americans
Space Oddity
Changes
Suffragette City
Golden Years
Heroes
Peace On Earth/The Little Drummer Boy (With Bing Crosby)
Ashes To Ashes
Modern Love
Let’s Dance
Dancing In The Street
And Many More

Top 10 David Bowie Songs

David Bowie- Starman

Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure (Classic Queen Mix)

David Bowie – Let’s Dance

David Bowie – Heroes

David Bowie – Fame (2002 Live)

David Bowie – Changes (Live)

David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust (From The Motion Picture)

Ziggy Stardust | David Bowie

David Bowie Modern Love (Official Music Video 1983)

David Bowie ‘Ricochet’

David Bowie – Moonage Daydream (live)

Labyrinth – Magic Dance (HD 720p) – Sing Along Closed Captions by David Bowie

Within You – Labyrinth

Labyrinth – As The World Falls Down (David Bowie)

Labyrinth – Jennifer connelly David Bowie End Scene

David Bowie – This is not America

David Bowie- Young Americans

David Bowie – Cat People (From Serious Moonlight Tour)

Placebo & David Bowie – Without you I’m nothing

David Bowie & Mick Jagger – Dancing In The Street

Young Americans (Japan 1990)

David Bowie – Rebel Rebel

David Bowie: Jean Genie

David Bowie – Absolute Beginners

David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes

David Bowie – China Girl

Little drummer boy – David bowie & Bing Crosby

David Bowie – Golden Years (Soul Train)

David Bowie – Golden Years (Live)

David Bowie – Live at BBC Radio Theatre – HD

David Bowie – Live By Request (2002)

David Bowie – The Very Best of 1969 to 1973

David Bowie And Massive Attack – Nature Boy

David Bowie – Criminal World

David Bowie – Let’s Dance (Full Album) 1983

David Bowie – Tonight (Full Album) 1984

David Bowie Greatest Hits [Full Album] || David Bowie’s 30 Biggest Songs

DAVID BOWIE – Greates Hits Full Album | Best songs of David Bowie

David Bowie obituary – Singer dies aged 69

David Bowie Final Interview & Singing with Audience – R.I.P DAVID!!!

David Bowie in his own words: Old interviews with the late singer

David Bowie Interviewed by Jeremy Paxman in 2000

David Bowie: The Raw & Uncut Interview – 1987

David Bowie in the movies

The Man Who Fell to Earth 1976 Trailer

David Bowie Is The Man Who Fell To Earth. 1/2.

David Bowie Is The Man Who Fell To Earth. 2/2.

Cracked Actor: A Film About David Bowie

David Bowie And The Story Of Ziggy Stardust (BBC Documentary)

David Bowie Isn’t a One Minute Man!

Trio in E-Flat – The Hunger Soundtrack – Franz Schubert

The Hunger – The Passion of Lovers (Bauhaus)

“THE HUNGER” – DAVID BOWIE – “CRIMINAL WORLD”

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence trailer

merry christmas mr lawrence (1983) – the forbidden kiss

Man Who Fell To Earth 1976

The man who fell to the earth – Space Oddity, by Fannyrock

David Bowie – The Stars (Are Out Tonight

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) – Christ and Pilate

David Bowie’s part in Basquiat Part 1

David Bowie’s part in Basquiat Part 2

Zoolander – Walk Off Scene

tesla dialoge — the prestige (2006)

David Bowie – The Origins Of A Starman {Full Movie}

David Bowie in Into The Night

David Bowie, a Star Who Transcended Music, Art and Fashion, Dies at 69

David Bowie, the infinitely changeable, fiercely forward-looking songwriter who taught generations of musicians about the power of drama, images and personas, died on Sunday, two days after his 69th birthday.

His death was confirmed by his publicist, Steve Martin, on Monday morning. No other details were provided.

Mr. Bowie had been treated for cancer for the last 18 months, according to a statement on his social-media accounts. “David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family,” a post on his Facebook page read.

His last album, “Blackstar,” a collaboration with a jazz quartet that was typically enigmatic and exploratory, was released on Friday — his birthday. He is to be honored with a concert at Carnegie Hall on March 31 featuring the Roots, Cyndi Lauper and the Mountain Goats.

He had also collaborated on an Off Broadway musical, “Lazarus,” which was a surreal sequel to the 1976 film that featured his definitive screen role, “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”

Mr. Bowie wrote songs, above all, about being an outsider: an alien, a misfit, a sexual adventurer, a faraway astronaut. His music was always a mutable blend — rock, cabaret, jazz and what he called “plastic soul” — but it was suffused with genuine soul. He also captured the drama and longing of everyday life, enough to give him No. 1 pop hits like “Let’s Dance.”

Continue reading the main story

David Bowie: In Memoriam

In concerts and videos, Mr. Bowie’s costumes and imagery traversed styles, eras and continents, from German Expressionism to commedia dell’arte to Japanese kimonos to space suits. He set an example, and a challenge, for every arena spectacle in his wake.

If he had an anthem, it was “Changes,” from his 1971 album “Hunky Dory,” which proclaimed:

“Turn and face the strange / Ch-ch-changes / Oh look out now you rock and rollers / Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older.”

Mr. Bowie earned admiration and emulation across the musical spectrum — from rockers, balladeers, punks, hip-hop acts, creators of pop spectacles and even classical composers like Philip Glass, who based two symphonies on Mr. Bowie’s albums “Low” and “ ‘Heroes.’ ”

Mr. Bowie’s constantly morphing persona was a touchstone for performers like Madonna and Lady Gaga; his determination to stay contemporary introduced his fans to Philadelphia funk, Japanese fashion, German electronica and drum-and-bass dance music.

Nirvana chose to sing “The Man Who Sold the World,” the title song of Mr. Bowie’s 1970 album, in its brief set for “MTV Unplugged in New York” in 1993. “Under Pressure,” a collaboration with the glam-rock group Queen, supplied a bass line for the 1990 Vanilla Ice hit “Ice Ice Baby.”

Yet throughout Mr. Bowie’s metamorphoses, he was always recognizable. His voice was widely imitated but always his own; his message was that there was always empathy beyond difference.

Angst and apocalypse, media and paranoia, distance and yearning were among Mr. Bowie’s lifelong themes. So was a penchant for transgression coupled with a determination to push cult tastes toward the mainstream.

Mr. Bowie produced albums and wrote songs for some of his idols — Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Mott the Hoople — that gave them pop hits without causing them to abandon their individuality. And he collaborated with musicians like Brian Eno during the late-1970s period that would become known as his Berlin years and, in his final recordings, with the jazz musicians Maria Schneider and Donny McCaslin, introducing them to many new listeners.

Mr. Bowie was a person of relentless reinvention. He emerged in the late 1960s with the voice of a rock belter but with the sensibility of a cabaret singer, steeped in the dynamics of stage musicals.

He was Major Tom, the lost astronaut in his career-making 1969 hit “Space Oddity.” He was Ziggy Stardust, the otherworldly pop star at the center of his 1972 album, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.”

He was the self-destructive Thin White Duke and the minimalist but heartfelt voice of the three albums he recorded in Berlin in the ’70s.

The arrival of MTV in the 1980s was the perfect complement to Mr. Bowie’s sense of theatricality and fashion. “Ashes to Ashes,” the “Space Oddity” sequel that revealed, “We know Major Tom’s a junkie,” and “Let’s Dance,” which offered, “Put on your red shoes and dance the blues,” gave him worldwide popularity.

Mr. Bowie was his generation’s standard-bearer for rock as theater: something constructed and inflated yet sincere in its artifice, saying more than naturalism could. With a voice that dipped down to baritone and leapt into falsetto, he was complexly androgynous, an explorer of human impulses that could not be quantified.

He also pushed the limits of “Fashion” and “Fame,” writing songs with those titles and also thinking deeply about the possibilities and strictures of pop renown.

Mr. Bowie was married for more than 20 years to the international model Iman, with whom he had a daughter, Alexandria Zahra Jones. They survive him, as does his son from his marriage to the former Mary Angela Barnett, Duncan Jones, a director best known for the 2009 film “Moon.”

In a post on Twitter, Mr. Jones said: “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”

David Robert Jones was born in London on Jan. 8, 1947, where as a youth he soaked up rock ’n’ roll. He took up the saxophone in the 1960s and started leading bands as a teenager, singing the blues in a succession of unsuccessful groups and singles. He suffered a blow in a teenage brawl that caused his left pupil to be permanently dilated.

In the late 1960s, Lindsay Kemp, a dancer, actor and mime, became a lasting influence on Mr. Bowie, focusing his interest in movement and artifice. Mr. Bowie’s music turned toward folk-rock and psychedelia. The release of “Space Oddity,” shortly before the Apollo 11 mission put men on the moon in 1969, gained him a British pop audience and, when it was rereleased in 1973 in the United States, an American one.

By then, with the albums “Hunky Dory,” “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars” and “Aladdin Sane,” Mr. Bowie had become a pioneer of glam rock and a major star in Britain, playing up an androgynous image. But he also had difficulties separating his onstage personas from real life and succumbed to drug problems, particularly cocaine use. In 1973, he abruptly announced his retirement — though it was the retirement of Ziggy Stardust, not of Mr. Bowie.

He moved to the United States in 1974 and made “Diamond Dogs,” which included the hit “Rebel Rebel.” In 1975, he turned toward funk with the album “Young Americans,” recorded primarily in Philadelphia with collaborators, including a young Luther Vandross; John Lennon joined Mr. Bowie in writing and singing the hit “Fame.” Mr. Bowie’s 1976 album “Station to Station” yielded more hits, but drug problems were making Mr. Bowie increasingly unstable; in interviews, he made pro-fascist pronouncements that he would soon disown.

For a far-reaching change of environment, and to get away from drugs, Mr. Bowie moved in 1976 to Switzerland and then to West Berlin, part of a divided city with a sound that fascinated him: the Krautrock of Kraftwerk, Can, Neu! and other groups. Mr. Bowie shared a Berlin apartment with Iggy Pop, and he helped produce and write songs for two Iggy Pop albums, “The Idiot” and “Lust for Life.”

He also made what is usually called his Berlin trilogy — “Low,” “ ‘Heroes’ ” and “Lodger” — working with Mr. Eno and Mr. Bowie’s collaborator over decades, the producer Tony Visconti. They used electronics and experimental methods, like having musicians play unfamiliar instruments, yet songs like “ ‘Heroes’ ” conveyed romance against the bleakest odds.

As the 1980s began, Mr. Bowie turned to live theater, performing in multiple cities (including a Broadway run) in the demanding title role of “The Elephant Man.” Yet he would also reach his peak as a mainstream pop musician in that decade — particularly with his 1983 album “Let’s Dance,” which he produced with Nile Rodgers of Chic; the Texas blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan also performed on the album. By 1989 Mr. Bowie was determined to change again; he recorded, without top billing, as a member of the rock band Tin Machine.

His experiments continued in the 1990s. In 1995, he reconnected with Mr. Eno on an album, “1. Outside,” — influenced by science fiction and film noir — that was intended to be the start of a trilogy. Mr. Bowie toured with Nine Inch Nails in an innovative concert that had his band and Nine Inch Nails merging partway through. Mr. Bowie’s 1997 album, “Earthling,” turned toward the era’s electronic dance music.

By the 21st century, Mr. Bowie was an elder statesman. He had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. In 2001, he sang “ ‘Heroes’ ” at the Concert for New York City after the Sept. 11 attacks.

His last tour, after the release of his album “Reality,” ended when he experienced heart problems in 2004. But he continued to lend his imprimatur to newer bands like Arcade Fire, joining them onstage, and TV on the Radio, adding backup vocals in the studio.

In 2006, he performed three songs in public for what would be the final time, at the Keep a Child Alive Black Ball fund-raiser at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York.

His final albums were a glance back and a new excursion. “The Next Day,” released in 2013, returned to something like the glam-rock sound of his 1970s guitar bands, for new songs suffused with bitter thoughts of mortality. And “Blackstar,” released two days before his death, had him backed by a volatile jazz-based quartet, in songs that contemplated fame, spirituality, lust, death and, as always, startling transformations.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/12/arts/music/david-bowie-dies-at-69.html?_r=0

DESPITE WORLDWIDE FAME, BOWIE KEPT ILLNESS A SECRET

Nile Rodgers suspected a couple of years ago that his old friend David Bowie might have health problems, but had no idea he was terminally ill.

“I was being honored by my charity (the We Are Family Foundation) and they thought the most appropriate person to give me the award was Bowie,” said Rodgers, who produced Bowie’s platinum-selling “Let’s Dance” album.

“And he did give me the award, but he had to give it by film. His speech was lovely, charming and really, really big-hearted. But I could see that he wasn’t well.”

owie died Sunday night at age 69 after an 18 month battle with cancer, news that stunned his millions of admirers and inspired worldwide grieving. Though he rarely made public appearances in recent years, Bowie had just released a new album, “Blackstar” on Friday, his birthday. Few suspected he had only days to live.

His death showed how a life-threatening diagnosis can lead to secrecy or an equally strong compulsion to share. Public figures such as Dr. Oliver Sacks and Christopher Hitchens openly and vividly chronicled their battles with cancer, and Rodgers has blogged about being treated for prostate cancer. (He has been cancer free for five years, he says). But others celebrities such as Bowie, Nora Ephron and Jackie Collins managed to hide their illnesses from all but those closest to them. When Ephron died, in 2012, even good friends such as Meryl Streep didn’t know she was sick until near the end. Collins published a book last summer and toured as she was fighting breast cancer, the severity of her health kept even from her sister, actress Joan Collins.

“I just felt like she didn’t need it in her life,” Jackie Collins told People magazine shortly before she died, last September.

Rodgers said he never asked Bowie about his physical condition.

“I didn’t want to pry,” he said. “Everyone deals with their health in their own way.”

Rodgers’ friendship with Bowie dates back more than 30 years, when both were spending time in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. They first spoke in the early ’80s, and quickly “vibed,” Rodgers explained. They agreed to work on an album, with Rodgers producing new versions of such songs as “China Girl” and “Cat People.” The result, the well-named “Let’s Dance,” came out in 1983 and became one of Bowie’s biggest commercial successes. Rodgers, who co-founded Chic and has produced Madonna, Mick Jagger and many other artists, says “Let’s Dance” was an easy recording that took just 17 days to complete.

“It was a real meeting of the minds,” he said.

A Connecticut resident, Rodgers had returned from the West Coast last weekend when he received a call telling him Bowie was dead.

“I’ve been looking after my mother and when I got the call I thought she had taken a turn for the worse,” he said. “The cobwebs hadn’t cleared before I realized they weren’t talking about my mom. I thought, ‘Who are you talking about?’ And then I understood that it was about David. This was out of the clear blue.”

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_DAVID_BOWIE_ILLNESS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-01-11-15-35-29

 

 

Thank you for the good times – they will never rot’: David Bowie sent a poignant final farewell the week before he died to friend Brian Eno who didn’t know he was ill

  • Tributes paid today to singer David Bowie who has died aged 69 after battling cancer in secret for 18 months 
  • Bowie recorded his final album while fighting disease and last week released video of himself in a hospital bed
  • Producer Tony Visconti said the singer had known for a year that he was dying and the album is a ‘parting gift’
  • Bowie, who hadn’t gone on tour since 2004, suffered six heart attacks in years before his death, biographer says 
  • Star’s son Duncan is ‘very sorry and sad’ while public figures have expressed grief and shrines have been set up
  • Bowie sent Brian Eno a farewell email a week ago saying: ‘Thank you for our good times, Brian, they will never rot’
  • See more news on David Bowie’s death at www.dailymail.co.uk/davidbowie 

Last picture: David Bowie attended the premiere of the musical Lazarus, based on his songs, in New York City on December 7

Last picture: David Bowie attended the premiere of the musical Lazarus, based on his songs, in New York City on December 7

Thousands of David Bowie fans paid emotional tributes to the star today following his death, setting up impromptu shrines all across the world.

The iconic singer, whose new album came out just last week, died from cancer aged 69 in New York City yesterday surrounded by his family.

Following an outpouring of grief from celebrities, public figures and music fans, several significant sites in Europe and the US were transformed into memorials for the rocker, who had secretly battled illness for 18 months and was said to have suffered six heart attacks in the past few years.

His childhood home in South London, his apartment building in New York, a Dutch museum hosting a Bowie exhibition and the spot where the Ziggy Stardust album cover was captured were among the areas to host vigils.

Several fans burst into tears while laying flowers at a mural dedicated to the star in his birthplace of Brixton, with many saying his death – which was announced this morning – felt like losing someone close to them.

Bowie’s death came just three days after the release of a music video which featured chilling footage of the singer confined to a hospital bed with his eyes covered by a bandage.

His producer Tony Visconti suggested that Bowie knew for a year that his cancer was incurable, and added that his final album Blackstar -recorded in early 2015, after the singer’s diagnosis – was ‘a parting gift’ to the world.

One week ago Bowie sent Brian Eno, a frequent collaborator, a farewell email, saying: ‘Thank you for our good times, Brian, they will never rot.’

Wendy Leigh, who published a biography of the star in 2014, told BBC News today: ‘He had six heart attacks in recent years – I got this from somebody very close to him.’

Following Bowie’s death a flood of celebrities and other public figures such as politicians and even the Archbishop of Canterbury rushed to pay tribute to the impact he had on the cultural landscape of his era.

A spokesman for the singer said today: ‘David Bowie died peacefully surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer.

‘While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.’

At the vigil in Brixton, Rosie Lowery, 21, who painted her face with a lightning bolt in tribute, was crying as she laid flowers in Bowie’s memory.

‘I woke up this morning to my dad ringing me and he told me the news,’ she said ‘I was so sad. I felt like I’d lost someone I knew – even though I hadn’t even seen him live.’

Tears for an iconic singer: Rosie Lowery, 21, cried today as she paid tribute to David Bowie at a mural in Brixton, South London

Tears for an iconic singer: Rosie Lowery, 21, cried today as she paid tribute to David Bowie at a mural in Brixton, South London

Sad: Two fans were among those overcome with emotion today at the site in South London near to where Bowie was born

Sad: Two fans were among those overcome with emotion today at the site in South London near to where Bowie was born

Embrace: Mourners at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, where an exhibition on Bowie's life and work is currently on display

Embrace: Mourners at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, where an exhibition on Bowie’s life and work is currently on display

Home: Flowers were placed - and prayers offered - at the entrance to Bowie's apartment building in the Nolita area of Manhattan, New York

Home: Flowers were placed – and prayers offered – at the entrance to Bowie’s apartment building in the Nolita area of Manhattan, New York

German fans: Flowers, candles and photographs are placed in front of the apartment building where Bowie once lived in Berlin

German fans: Flowers, candles and photographs are placed in front of the apartment building where Bowie once lived in Berlin

Light: Fans left dozens of candles around the star which is dedicated to Bowie on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California

Light: Fans left dozens of candles around the star which is dedicated to Bowie on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California

Iconic: This photograph of Bowie in character for the album Aladdin Sane is one of the most recognisable images of the 1970s

Iconic: This photograph of Bowie in character for the album Aladdin Sane is one of the most recognisable images of the 1970s

Brendan McGowan, 53, a lifelong fan of the singer, said in South London: ‘I was absolutely stunned.

‘The guy just brings out a new album, which will obviously go to number one now, and you’re thinking – great – there’s more music in him.

‘You just don’t imagine a guy with that much energy and creativity and commitment to music is going to die.

‘The truth is, he’s had this cancer for eighteen months, so he recorded this album while he knew he was dying.

‘People will start listening to that album and looking at it in a completely different way.’

Pete Rogers, 47, added: ‘He gave oxygen to outsiders. He was so “other”.

‘It’s just something you can’t put your finger on, just different, more than anyone else I’ve ever known.

‘It’s amazing how prolific he has been. I think he had a sense of his mortality. There’s always something about death in his music.’

Blackstar was recorded while Bowie was gravely ill and released last Friday, his 69th birthday, but he had rarely appeared in public in recent years.

He was seen by fans for the last time on December 7, attending the premiere in New York of a musical based on his songs, called Lazarus.

A crying Bowie fan

Rosie Lowery

Grief: An unnamed woman, left, and Miss Lowery, right, could not contain their emotions at the Brixton vigil

Heaps: The pile of flowers and other gifts continued to grow as fans attended the scene

Heaps: The pile of flowers and other gifts continued to grow as fans attended the scene

Homegrown: A cinema in Brixton called Bowie 'our Brixton boy' after his death

Homegrown: A cinema in Brixton called Bowie ‘our Brixton boy’ after his death

Pause for thought: A cyclist stops outside the home where Bowie grew up in Brixton in the 1950s

Pause for thought: A cyclist stops outside the home where Bowie grew up in Brixton in the 1950s

Emotion: One fan's note read 'The stars look very different today', a line from the song Space Oddity

Emotion: One fan’s note read ‘The stars look very different today’, a line from the song Space Oddity

Dedicated: Emma Birch with her son Bowie at the Three Tuns pub in Bromley, South-East London, where the star used to perform

Dedicated: Emma Birch with her son Bowie at the Three Tuns pub in Bromley, South-East London, where the star used to perform

Famous: The street in London where the Ziggy Stardust album cover photograph was taken became another focus of mourning

Famous: The street in London where the Ziggy Stardust album cover photograph was taken became another focus of mourning

Bowie’s son Duncan Jones, who is also known as Zowie Bowie, confirmed the news of his death, writing on Twitter: ‘Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.’

‘THE STRUGGLE IS REAL, BUT SO IS GOD’: BOWIE’S WIFE IMAN REFLECTS ON HER HUSBAND’S ILLNESS

David Bowie’s wife Iman posted a moving message on social media on the day of her husband’s death.

The 60-year-old supermodel shared an image on Twitter saying, ‘The struggle is real, but so is God,’ along with the caption ‘Rise’.

Other cryptic tweets posted by Iman, pictured, over the weekend included the message: ‘Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.’

The Somali-born model was married to Bowie for nearly 24 years, and the couple had one daughter, 15-year-old Alexandria Zahra, known as Lexi.

Before his marriage to Iman, Bowie was married to Angie Barnett from 1970 to 1980, with their son Duncan, originally known as Zowie Bowie, born in 1971.

Duncan Jones is now a successful film director whose works include 2009’s Moon and Source Code, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, from 2011.

Mr Visconti wrote on Facebook: ‘He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be.

‘I wasn’t, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry.’

Mr Eno, who produced several Bowie albums, said: ‘David’s death came as a complete surprise, as did nearly everything else about him. I feel a huge gap now.

‘I received an email from him seven days ago. It was as funny as always, and as surreal, looping through word games and allusions and all the usual stuff we did.

‘It ended with this sentence: “Thank you for our good times, Brian, they will never rot.” And it was signed “Dawn”. I realise now he was saying goodbye.’

It is not known what type of cancer Bowie was suffering from, although figures from the music world suggested that ‘rumours about him not being well’ had been floating around for some time.

In the later parts of his life the singer lived primarily in New York with his wife Iman and their 15-year-old daughter Alexandria.

Bowie’s first wife Angie, who is currently appearing on Celebrity Big Brother, was today told of her ex-husband’s death and decided to continue her stint on the Channel 5 reality show.

A spokesman for Celebrity Big Brother said: ‘Following the very sad news of David Bowie’s death, we can now confirm that Angie Bowie has been informed off camera by her representatives. She has taken the decision to continue in the programme.’

The former couple’s son Duncan, 44, is a film director based in Los Angeles. His wife Rodene Ronquillo underwent her own cancer battle three years ago when she had a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Singer-songwriter Midge Ure said he had heard ‘rumours’ about Bowie’s illness but was still shocked by the news of the rock legend’s death.

‘I think people within the industry had heard rumours about cancer, we’d heard rumours about him not being well,’ he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

‘We all knew something was amiss but this is more than just turning on your phone in the morning or turning on the television and finding out that another celebrity has passed on.

‘I’m standing here, my hands are shaking, I feel as though I’ve lost something, I’ve lost something incredibly important today.’

A host of stars paid tribute to the British singer, led by Madonna who wrote: ‘I’m devastated! This great artist changed my life! First concert I ever saw in Detroit! Talented. Unique. Genius. Game changer. The Man who Fell to Earth. Your spirit lives on forever!’

Iggy Pop, a close friend of Bowie who frequently collaborated with him, said this morning: ‘David’s friendship was the light of my life. I never met such a brilliant person. He was the best there is.’

Sir Paul McCartney added: ‘Very sad news to wake up to on this raining morning. David was a great star and I treasure the moments we had together.

‘I send my deepest sympathies to his family and will always remember the great laughs we had through the years. His star will shine in the sky forever.’

Beloved: The building in Berlin where Bowie once lived was also besieged by fans today

Beloved: The building in Berlin where Bowie once lived was also besieged by fans today

Gathering: Fans photographing the display outside Bowie's Berlin flat after a day of tributes

Gathering: Fans photographing the display outside Bowie’s Berlin flat after a day of tributes

Graffiti: Belgian artist Lucien Gilson drew this portrait of Bowie in a shopping mall in Brussels

Graffiti: Belgian artist Lucien Gilson drew this portrait of Bowie in a shopping mall in Brussels

US fan: Arango lights a candle at a makeshift memorial surrounding David Bowie's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

US fan: Diana Arango lights a candle at a makeshift memorial surrounding David Bowie’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Cryptic: Bowie's wife Iman posted 'The struggle is real, but so is God' on the day of her husband's death 

Cryptic: Bowie’s wife Iman posted ‘The struggle is real, but so is God’ on the day of her husband’s death

News: Bowie's death was announced by his management on his website and social media this morning

News: Bowie’s death was announced by his management on his website and social media this morning

Sadness: Bowie's son Duncan Jones confirmed the news and posted a touching photograph of himself with his father

Sadness: Bowie’s son Duncan Jones confirmed the news and posted a touching photograph of himself with his father

David Bowie in the 1960s

David Bowie in the 1970s

Transformation: Bowie went from a clean-cut young musician in the 1960s, left, to a glam rock icon during the 1970s, right

Couple: Bowie with his wife Iman, whom he married in 1992 and with whom he had a daughter

Couple: Bowie with his wife Iman, whom he married in 1992 and with whom he had a daughter

Icon: Bowie was known for his dramatic costumes and frequent transformations; he is pictured with Twiggy in 1973

Icon: Bowie was known for his dramatic costumes and frequent transformations; he is pictured with Twiggy in 1973

Ashes to Ashes

Bowie in 1999

Versatile: Bowie pictured left in the music video for 1980’s Ashes to Ashes, and right performing in 1990

LAST ALBUM SET TO SOAR TO NO. 1

Vinyl copies of David Bowie’s final album are selling for up to £150 on eBay.

CDs of the album Blackstar are also selling for five times their value on the site.

The album, which is on the ‘new and trending’ list on HMV, has sold out on its online shop, while there are only a few copies left on Amazon.

The Best of Bowie double CD, which was released in 2002, is also out of stock on Amazon and the online shop at WHSmith.

Blackstar was on course to reach number one in the album charts even before the news of Bowie’s death, and has so far sold more than twice as many copies as its nearest competitor.

The Official Charts Company suggested that many of his hits were likely to enter the singles chart too as fans rush to rediscover his back catalogue.

Bowie first entered the charts in July 1969 with his track Space Oddity, and scored 25 top 10 singles and 29 top 10 albums across his career.

Kanye West wrote: ‘David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime.’ Mark Ruffalo described him as ‘father of all us freaks’.

Singer and producer Pharrell Williams called Bowie ‘a true innovator, a true creative’, and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt quoted from his song Eight Line Poem writing: ‘But the key to the city is in the sun that pins the branches to the sky…’

David Beckham called Bowie ‘a creative genius and influence over us all’, adding: ‘Rest In Peace STARMAN’.

Tim Peake, the British astronaut whose nickname ‘Major Tim’ derives from the song Space Oddity, said: ‘Saddened to hear David Bowie has lost his battle with cancer – his music was an inspiration to many.’

Ricky Gervais tweeted, ‘I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie,’ while Eddie Izzard wrote: ‘Please could every radio station around the globe just play David Bowie music today – I think the world owes him that.’

Billy Idol was one of many people to suggest that Bowie’s death was a moment of unusually powerful grief, writing on Twitter: ‘Nearly brought to tears by sudden news of David Bowie’s passing.’

Cricketer Shane Warne added: ‘We can be “Heroes”.. You were one of mine. Bowie tunes will be played loud in the Warne house tonight.’

As well as celebrating his musical career, some chose to focus on his image as a perennial rebel who refused to fit in with society’s expectations – Arsenal football manager Arsene Wenger said: ‘The message he gave to my generation was important – be strong enough to be yourself.’

A large number of British politicians also joined the tributes, including David Cameron who said: ‘I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of re-invention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss.’

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the BBC: ‘As soon as I heard of his death, very, very sad, Life On Mars comes flowing back into my mind. Wonderful song, wonderful guy.’

Outpouring: Madonna paid tribute to Bowie in a string of emotional tweets

Outpouring: Madonna paid tribute to Bowie in a string of emotional tweets

Remembrance: David Beckham shared this picture of Bowie adding: 'Rest In Peace STARMAN'

Remembrance: David Beckham shared this picture of Bowie adding: ‘Rest In Peace STARMAN’

Supermodel: Kate Moss was pictured walking in London today

The model wore a T-shirt with a black and white image of Bowie's face on the front of it

Supermodel: Kate Moss was pictured walking in London today as she wore a T-shirt with a black and white image of Bowie’s face on the front of it. She also wore a pair of purple metallic platform boots similar to those once sported by the singer

Mayor of London Boris Johnson described Bowie as a ‘genius’, saying: ‘Terrible news to hear Brixton-born David Bowie has died. No one in our age has better deserved to be called a genius.’

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, added: ‘What dreadful news about David Bowie. A hero for so much more than just one day.’

And Tony Blair said: ‘I am so sorry to hear the news of David Bowie’s death. I was a huge fan. From the time I saw his Ziggy Stardust concert as a student, I thought he was a brilliant artist and an exciting and interesting human being.’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter: ‘I’ll never forget hearing Under Pressure for the first time – David Bowie was a fearless original with the power to charm. We’ll miss him.’

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme he became a Bowie fan during the singer’s early rise to prominence.

‘I’m very, very saddened to hear of his death,’ he said. ‘I remember sitting listening to his songs endlessly in the ’70s particularly and always really relishing what he was, what he did, the impact he had. Extraordinary person.’

One of the more unusual tributes to Bowie’s career came from Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican City’s culture chief, who quoted lines from Space Oddity which include the phrase ‘may God’s love be with you’.

Release: David Bowie in the music video for his recent single Lazarus, recorded while he was suffering from cancer and seen by the public for the first time on Thursday

Release: David Bowie in the music video for his recent single Lazarus, recorded while he was suffering from cancer and seen by the public for the first time on Thursday

Haunting: Bowie's final music video, Lazarus, shows him in a hospital bed with his eyes covered by a bandage in an apparent premonition of his death

Haunting: Bowie’s final music video, Lazarus, shows him in a hospital bed with his eyes covered by a bandage in an apparent premonition of his death

Footage: The video features Bowie writhing around while singing 'Look up here, I’m in heaven'

Footage: The video features Bowie writhing around while singing ‘Look up here, I’m in heaven’

‘LOOK UP HERE, I’M IN HEAVEN’: POIGNANT LYRICS OF BOWIE’S FINAL SONG LAZARUS

Look up here, I’m in heaven

I’ve got scars that can’t be seen

I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen

Everybody knows me now

Look up here, man, I’m in danger

I’ve got nothing left to lose

I’m so high it makes my brain whirl

Dropped my cell phone down below

Ain’t that just like me

By the time I got to New York

I was living like a king

Then I used up all my money

I was looking for your ass

This way or no way

You know, I’ll be free

Just like that bluebird

Now ain’t that just like me

Oh I’ll be free

Just like that bluebird

Oh I’ll be free

Ain’t that just like me

The video for the song Lazarus, released last Thursday, has been seen as a premonition of his untimely death – it begins with the singer stepping out of a closet into the confines of a dark hospital where he becomes trapped in a feverish nightmare.

The footage continues with him lying in a hospital bed, his frail body wrapped in a blanket and his eyes, which are depicted by buttons, covered by a bandage.

The opening line reads: ‘Look up here, I’m in heaven. I’ve got scars that can’t be seen. I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen. Everybody knows me now.’ It ends with the words: ‘This way or no way, you know, I’ll be free.’

The video was made by Johan Renck, a Swedish director behind Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. He also worked with Bowie on the video for Blackstar, the album’s title track.

Among those who pointed to the lyrics of Lazarus as a premonition of Bowie’s death were J.K. Rowling, who shared the words along with the message: ‘I wish he could have stayed on earth longer.’

Thousands of fans expressed their grief at the star’s unexpected death, sharing his song lyrics online and reminiscing about memories of him – one enthusiast wrote: ‘Didn’t occur to me that David Bowie could die.’

Despite his relatively low profile over the past few years, Bowie gave no hint that he was gravely ill before the announcement of his death today.

Bowie, who was born David Jones in Brixton, South London and brought up in the suburb of Bromley, began his career as a novelty musician before finding fame in 1969 with the hit Space Oddity.

During the 1970s, Bowie was regarded as one of the most radical and ground-breaking musicians in the world, ushering in the glam rock era with his Ziggy Stardust persona.

He continued to mix experimental concepts with traditional pop songs in albums such as Heroes, Low and Diamond Dogs, as well as acting in films such as The Man Who Fell to Earth and The Last Temptation of Christ.

In recent years Bowie’s career revived once again despite his keeping a relatively low public profile – three years ago The Next Day was a best-seller, while new album Blackstar – tipped to go straight to number one this week – has received positive reviews.

At the height of his fame in 1970 he declared that he was bisexual, instantly propelling him to the status of gay icon.

Tributes: Stars from the world of showbiz and beyond were quick to express grief at the news

Tributes: Stars from the world of showbiz and beyond were quick to express grief at the news

Memories: The band Pixies shared a photograph of Bowie with other musicians including The Cure's Robert Smith and Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins

Bowie was married twice – he wed first wife Angie in 1970, and the couple’s son Duncan was born the next year before they divorced in 1980. He later married supermodel Iman, having a daughter named Alexandria who is now 15.

Bowie’s cultural impact became apparent when the Victoria and Albert Museum in London dedicated a blockbuster exhibition to his life, work and style in 2013.

He also made financial history in 1997 when he sold off the rights to some of his future earnings by packaging them up in ‘Bowie Bonds’, issuing $55million of the securities.

Although he generally stayed away from political controversy, Bowie made a high-profile intervention in the Scottish independence debate ahead of the 2014 referendum when he sent friend Kate Moss to collect a Brit Award on his behalf with a speech which concluded: ‘Scotland, stay with us.’

However, despite his towering fame he remained willing to poke fun at himself – he made cameo appearances in comedies such as Zoolander, where he adjudicated a runway competition, and TV’s Extras, where he performed a song mocking Ricky Gervais’ character.

The pioneering king of glam rock with a life full of Stardust: David Bowie became one of the world’s biggest recording artists with a stellar career that spanned six decades

By SIMON TOMLINSON

King of glam rock: David Bowie enjoyed a glittering career spanning six decades

King of glam rock: David Bowie enjoyed a glittering career spanning six decades

One of Britain’s most successful, pioneering and sexually liberated musicians, David Bowie enjoyed a glittering career spanning six decades that saw him become one of the biggest recording artists of all time.

Born David Robert Jones on January 8, 1947, in Brixton, south London, to mother Margaret ‘Peggy’, a waitress, and charity worker Haywood ‘John’ Jones, Bowie’s musical talent was clear from an early age and he had his first taste for rock music through the record collection of his older brother, Terry.

The family moved to south east London, where he graduated from Bromley Technical High School at 16.

He formed a number of bands and led a group calling himself Davy Jones, later changing his name to David Bowie to avoid confusion with the Davy Jones from the Monkees.

The name was said to be inspired by a knife developed by the 19th century American pioneer Jim Bowie.

He decided to set out on his own as a solo artist, releasing three singles for Pye Records and his debut album, The World Of David Bowie.

But the records did not achieve the huge success he would go on to experience and he retreated to a Buddhist monastery in Scotland in 1967

After returning to London he started arts troupe Feathers in 1968.

As the group eventually separated, he helped create the Beckenham Arts Lab in 1969 before releasing the hit Space Oddity on July 11 that year, his first UK number one.

A string of albums followed before 1972’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars made him an international star.

The album, which tells the story of an alien rockstar, saw Bowie indulge his eye for the theatrical with a string of live shows and television appearances that saw him conquer America and create an otherworldly reputation that still clings to him.

At the same time, he was producing albums for Lou Reed and Iggy Pop and writing one of his greatest songs – All The Young Dudes – which he promptly gave away to Mott The Hoople who had a massive hit with it.

Bowie’s announcement – during a London gig – that he was retiring Ziggy did not stop the commercial success and the hits kept coming as he toured and recorded albums including Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs and his tribute to the swinging London scene that inspired him – Pin Ups.

His soul-inspired Young Americans saw him change direction again and gave him his first US number one when his collaboration with John Lennon on Fame topped the charts in 1975.

Bowie played on his alien alter-ego with a successful move into acting – playing the lead character in the science fiction film The Man Who Fell To Earth, before moving to Berlin.

The influence of the then divided city inspired a trio of albums – Low, Heroes and Lodger – which produced hits including Sound And Vision and Boys Keep Swinging and are widely regarded as among his finest work.

The 1980s saw him combine his rock career with appearances in films including Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence and Absolute Beginners.

As a Seventies superstar, he trumpeted to the press that he was gay at a time when even Elton John was still in the closet, then amended it to bisexual. Many have enjoyed speculating – as his first wife Angie once did – that David and Mick Jagger (above) were lovers

As a Seventies superstar, he trumpeted to the press that he was gay at a time when even Elton John was still in the closet, then amended it to bisexual. Many have enjoyed speculating – as his first wife Angie once did – that David and Mick Jagger (above) were lovers

LANDMARK ALBUMS IN DAVID BOWIE’S CAREER

David Bowie (1967)

Bowie’s first solo album was released shortly after his novelty single The Laughing Gnome and failed to ignite the imagination of the record-buying public.

Space Oddity (1969)

Despite the hit single, the record was not a commercial success on its first release.

Hunky Dory (1971)

Now considered one of the great albums of the 1970s, Hunky Dory was not a huge commercial success at the time. It features classic tracks including Life On Mars and Changes. It became a much bigger success when it was re-released following the rise of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust incarnation.

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972)

Bowie’s concept album about an alien rock star is still considered his seminal work and, together with the Ziggy Stardust alter-ego he created, the album catapulted him into the stratosphere of rock and pop stardom.

The Berlin Trilogy

The albums Low (1977), Heroes (1977) and Lodger (1979) were made when Bowie moved from the United States to Berlin and marked another sharp change for the singer.

Let’s Dance (1983)

One of Bowie’s most commercially successful albums and seen as his most mainstream creation.

Tin Machine (1989)

Bowie created a traditional four-piece rock band in an effort to rejuvenate his career and return to a more straightforward style.

The Next Day (2013)

Bowie surprised the world with this release on his 66th birthday – a decade after his last album. It received widespread critical acclaim.

Blackstar (2016)

Released only two days before his death on his 69th birthday.

The album was already well received by critics and is now being scoured for references to his illness.

The rise of the New Romantic scene in the UK betrayed an obvious Bowie influence and he continued to record and tour filling massive US stadiums and selling albums by the million.

1988 brought a new venture – and what many fans thought was a new low – when he returned as one quarter of rock band Tin Machine.

Their initial success soon faded and by 1993 Bowie was back on his own with the solo album Black Tie White Noise.

He had married supermodel Iman a year earlier and settled in New York but continued to tour and record until 2003 when he released Reality.

It was his 23rd – and many assumed last – studio album and was followed by some low-key live appearances, an acting role in the 2006 film The Prestige, but no new music until last year when he returned with the widely acclaimed The Next Day.

The album won praise and earned him a place on the Mercury Prize shortlist, although he missed out to James Blake.

David Bowie was a grand old man of rock – respected, all-powerful and both elusive and reclusive.

It was a career founded not just on a spectacular musical talent and a fearless style, but also on a casual yet highly ambitious attitude to sexual adventuring.

From a young age, Bowie glided relentlessly from one carnal experience to the next.

As a Seventies superstar, he trumpeted to the press that he was gay at a time when even Elton John was still in the closet, then amended it to bisexual, in the process smashing through the accepted barrier of what was considered ‘normal’ sexuality.

A small sample of Bowie’s lovers in his voracious sexual odyssey might include male managers and record executives, as well as models, singers and groupies.

He squired Playboy model Bebe Buell, singer Nina Simone, Charlie Chaplin’s widow Oona (22 years his senior) and transsexual Romy Haag, and though Bowie has explicitly denied it, many have enjoyed speculating – as his first wife Angie once did – that David and Mick Jagger were lovers.

Other conquests, never denied, included Susan Sarandon, Tina Turner, Lulu, Roxy music cover model Amander Lear and Ronnie Spector of The Ronettes.

As he put it in a 1997 BBC radio interview: ‘I was hitting on everybody. I had a wonderfully  irresponsible, promiscuous time.’

Even from the age of 13, raised in south London by a chilly mother and a doting, PR-man father, the young David Jones was engaging, handsome and charming, and girls flocked to him like homing pigeons.

He manifested a vein of ruthlessness whenever a girl took his fancy, riding roughshod over any competition.

The punch that permanently damaged the pupil in his left eye at the age of 14 – giving the sense that his eyes are different colours – was over a girl he had attempted to steal from his classmate and best friend George Underwood.

Within a few years, Bowie’s career and his sexuality were already becoming intertwined.

When early manager Ralph Horton invited rock manager Simon Napier-Bell to take a 50-50 deal to become co-manager of Davie Jones and The Lower Third, the band’s handsome, blond 17-year-old singer was a key part of the package.

Today, Napier-Bell still remembers every detail of what happened when he arrived at Horton’s London flat, where he found Davie sitting ‘demurely in a corner’.

Without introducing them, Horton took Napier-Bell aside and put forward the following proposition: ‘He said that if I were to agree to come in on the management, he would allow me to have sex with his young protégé,’ says Napier-Bell.

‘I had no idea whether the protégé was in on the proposition or not.’

As the subject was in the room at the time, it seems likely he had agreed to the deal.

Napier-Bell, who would eventually go on to manage Wham!, declined.

Bowie with his wife Angie Bowie with son Zowie Bowie now Duncan Jones in February 1974 in Amsterdam

Bowie with his wife Angie Bowie with son Zowie Bowie now Duncan Jones in February 1974 in Amsterdam

After Ralph Horton, the ambitious young Bowie would move on to another manager, Ken Pitt, who was patently in love with him.

Despite his awareness that the singer swung both ways, Pitt clearly adored the fact that once Bowie moved into his flat, he habitually walked around stark naked.

Moreover, Bowie was free and open with his charm and his ability to seduce, whether the target was female or male.

He studied mime with former stripper Lindsay Kemp, and shared his bed as well, while also embarking on a simultaneous affair with Kemp’s costume and set designer, Natasha Kornilof.

When the two discovered that Bowie was two-timing them both with each other, Kornilof took an overdose of aspirin and Kemp cut his wrists.

Bowie met his first wife, Angie, in 1969, the year of his number one hit single Space Oddity. Years later, David would tell the press that they were ‘both f***ing the same bloke’.

And so they were. That man was 33-year-old Chinese-American A&R man Calvin Mark Lee, a flamboyant, flirty character from San Francisco who wore a glittering red jewel on his forehead.

By now, Bowie was an emotional tightrope walker, living out a duplicitous existence.

Introduced to Bowie by Calvin, Angie flung herself into an open relationship with abandon.

In her, Bowie had found a loyal champion who would be by his side until she was no longer useful to him.

Bowie played on his alien alter-ego Ziggy Stardust with a successful move into acting - playing the lead character in the science fiction film The Man Who Fell To Earth (above)

Bowie played on his alien alter-ego Ziggy Stardust with a successful move into acting – playing the lead character in the science fiction film The Man Who Fell To Earth (above)

Discarding those who had outlived their usefulness to him was one of his less palatable traits.

On his first American tour in the spring of 1971, promoting The Man Who Sold The World, Bowie quickly realised that his Little Lord Fauntleroy charm and pristine manners would smooth the path for him, and he didn’t hesitate to use them to his advantage with countless groupies, male and female.

The 1980s saw him combine his rock career with appearances in films including Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence and Absolute Beginners

The 1980s saw him combine his rock career with appearances in films including Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence and Absolute Beginners

One of them, Queenie, later said of him, ‘David is the sexiest one around. Like, you’ll walk into a room and he’ll stare right into your eyes. And he’ll go, ‘Hello,’ and you’re at his mercy.’

In London, after a gig to which Bowie had invited singer Lulu, he took her to bed.

‘Some people have beautiful hands or beautiful necks, but I discovered that night that David had beautiful thighs – the best I’d ever seen, I had my own private viewing – up close and personal,’ she revealed in her autobiography.

With his Ziggy Stardust character, and his declaration of his gay sexuality to the Melody Maker, Bowie became a household name, and he and Angie – now joined by baby son Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones – found themselves besieged by crazed fans and groupies at Haddon Hall.

So they rented a house on Oakley Street, just off the Kings Road in Chelsea, where they set about creating a sexual cocoon for themselves.

Angie presided over her own personal Sodom and Gomorrah, the focal point of which was ‘The Pit’, a fur-covered bed in the sitting room, where, in front of a series of audiences, who generally ended up participating themselves, all permutations of sexuality were explored.

‘Angie and David used to have the most amazing orgies at Oakley Street,’ says model and socialite Vicki Hodge, girlfriend of London gangster John Bindon, one of the regular stars of the Oakley Street excesses.

‘Mick Jagger used to come there and be involved. John told me that David watched while he had sex with Angie.’

Bowie’s former assistant, Tony Zanetta, believes ‘sex wasn’t any big deal for him and Angie – it was like shaking hands at the end of the evening. To him, it was about being adored’.

Subsequently, Bowie would suggest the two of them go to bed with Angie.

‘David was a real seducer,’ says Zanetta.

‘He made you feel that you were the only person who exists, the centre of his universe.

‘Then he had you in his pocket, so to speak, but after that, he would move on to the next.’

When his management company’s publicist confided to an LA radio host that Bowie routinely made love to everyone who worked for him at least once, she was deluged with job applications.

As his relationship with Angie faltered – and desperate to shake a fierce cocaine addiction – Bowie relocated to Berlin in 1976.

There, he would lay the foundations for his legendary Berlin Trilogy of albums – 1977’s Low and Heroes, and 1979’s Lodger.

He would also resolve to be a better father to his son, though, in the company of his friend, singer Iggy Pop, it would be some time before he entirely cleaned up his act.

During the Eighties, Bowie’s focus shifted from music to acting. While making the 1983 vampire film The Hunger, he embarked on a relationship with his co-star, Susan Sarandon. Sensual, sexy and unconventional, Sarandon was, in many ways, a perfect woman for Bowie.

He called her ‘pure dynamite’, and after filming ended they carried on a three-year affair.

He would also dally with English aristocrat Sabrina Guinness, but for much of the decade, the love in his life was dancer Melissa Hurley, 20 years his junior.

They were engaged, but split in 1990, and that October, at a friend’s party in Los Angeles, Bowie met Iman.

David Bowie’s haunting lyrics to his last song Lazarus appear to be a farewell from a man who knew he was dying

David Bowie used the haunting lyrics of his swansong album to say goodbye to his fans following a secret 18-month battle with cancer.

The singer, who died yesterday, penned seven tracks for his latest album Blackstar which were full of cryptic lyrics that hinted at the terminal nature of his condition.

Perhaps the most moving track on the record is Lazarus, which became posthumously poignant today as he told fans: ‘Look up here, I’m in heaven.’

Just three days before he died, the avant-garde artist had released the video for the song, which showed the singer trapped in a hospital bed, his frail body shaking beneath the covers and his eyes covered in bandages.

Today, Bowie’s producer suggested the artist knew for a year that his cancer was incurable, describing Blackstar as his ‘parting gift’. He added that Bowie had made his death – as he did his life – ‘a work of art’.

As he writhes around in a tortured fashion, levitating above the mattress, a hand reaches out from under the bed

The song was released on the Steve Lamacq show on BBC 6 Music on December 17

As he writhes around in a tortured fashion (left and right), levitating above the mattress, a hand reaches out from under the bed.

The album, which was released just two days before he died, was Bowie’s 25th album but the only one that has not featured his photo on the cover. Instead, it features a lone black star.

It has now charged into the top spot and could become Bowie’s 10th chart-topping album, if it stays at number one until the charts are announced on Friday.

Paying tribute to the musician, Tony Visconti – who produced the star’s music dating back to the 1960s – said: ‘He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way.

‘His death was no different from his life – a work of Art.

‘He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it.’

He added: ‘He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry.’

The video for Lazarus – named after a biblical character who was raised from the dead four days after he died by Jesus – was released on Thursday and is full of haunting images alluding to death.

The bleak video begins with the singer – a blind man whose eyes are depicted as buttons – stepping out of a closet into a dark hospital where he becomes trapped in a feverish nightmare.

The singer is then seen dancing in his room before manically poring over his journal, at a desk in the ward 

The singer is then seen dancing in his room before manically poring over his journal, at a desk in the ward

The haunting footage continues with him confined to a hospital bed, shrouded in darkness, as he vulnerably clutches onto his bed sheets and writhes around in a tortured fashion.

As Bowie levitates above the mattress, a hand then reaches out from under the bed – perhaps a symbol of being lifted towards heaven.

Another Bowie then appears – a stronger, freer version of the singer – and he starts dancing in the room.

He then retreats to a desk, where he manically pores over a notebook. As he continues to write frantically, a skull can be seen sitting on the desk – perhaps a sign of his impending death.

The song then reaches its climax and Bowie walks back to the wardrobe and shut the door behind him, seemingly bidding farewell for the final time.

The song was released on the Steve Lamacq show on BBC 6 Music on December 17.

The opening line reads: ‘Look up here, I’m in heaven.’

He then makes a veiled reference to his musical legacy transcending his death, singing: ‘I’ve got scars that can’t be seen. I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen. Everybody knows me now.’

As the song ends, Bowie sings: ‘This way or no way, you know, I’ll be free. Just like that bluebird, Oh I’ll be free.’

The track is a pseudo sequel to the 1976 film he starred in, The Man Who Fell To Earth, and is also the title track of the artist’s off-Broadway musical Lazarus.

The video was made by Johan Renck, a Swedish director behind Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. He also worked with Bowie on the video for Blackstar, the album’s title track.

In Blackstar, Bowie once again features as the blind man but the ten-minute video opens with an eerie scene, in which a spaceman in a space suit is found lying lifelessly on the ground.

Several observers have suggested the spaceman could be a throwback to Bowie’s intergalactic back catalogue or a direct reference to Major Tom, who has featured heavily in Bowie’s music.

A young woman then walks up to him and lifts his helmet, revealing a skull laden with jewels, perhaps a symbol for death. There appear to be several further references to death throughout the film, including scenes showing crucifixes and burials.

The lyrics also allude to death, as he sings: ‘Something happened on the day he dies. Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside.’

In a statement released last week, Mr Renck said: ‘One could only dream about collaborating with a mind like that; let alone twice. Intuitive, playful, mysterious and profound.

‘I have no desire to do any more videos knowing the process never ever gets as formidable and fulfilling as this was. I’ve basically touched the sun.

The video begins with the singer stepping out of a closet into a dark hospital. He returns to the closet at the end

The video begins with the singer stepping out of a closet into a dark hospital. He returns to the closet at the end

Asked about symbolism in November, Mr Renck told Vice magazine: ‘Most things like this are for the eyes of the beholder, you know? You make of it whatever you want.

‘What I can say, on one side of things there is no deliberate, underlying, firm quest to have any references to past times.’

The rest of the album – which features just seven tracks – is also now seen as a reference to Bowie’s own mortality.

The outro of the penultimate song of the album Dollar Days repeats: ‘I’m dying to. I’m trying to,’ as the music fades.

On the final track I Can’t Give Everything Away, Bowie sings: ‘I know something is very wrong, The pulse returns the prodigal sons, The blackout hearts, the flowered news, With skull designs upon my shoes.’

Following news of his death, the Official Charts Company said the album was almost guaranteed to be in the number one spot at the end of the week.

It currently has combined sales of more than 43,000, which puts Bowie 25,000 ahead of his closest competitor, Elvis Presley.

Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot said: ‘Today is an awful day for all lovers of music.

‘And the fact that David Bowie’s new album Blackstar was on course for number one this week, even before today’s terrible news, says everything about his continuing relevance – over 40 years since his first hit records.

‘We are expecting a huge surge for a wide range of Bowie albums in this week’s Official Albums Chart. Bowie made so many great albums, constantly reinventing himself, that everyone has their own favourites and fans are clearly reminding themselves of his massive contribution to popular music by buying these great, iconic works.’

Bowie first entered the charts in July 1969 with his track Space Oddity, and scored 25 top 10 singles and 29 top 10 albums across his career.

Several of his songs are expected to re-enter the singles chart this week as fans pay tribute to the singer.

David Bowie’s final decade was beset by health problems after he first suffered a heart attack backstage at a gig in Germany in 2004

Years of health problems: Bowie in September 2006 in New York

Years of health problems: Bowie in September 2006 in New York

David Bowie suffered years of ill-health before his death from cancer at the age of 69 – but he hid how serious his condition was for at least 18 months.

The star is believed to have told friends that his illness was incurable around a year ago, and is said to have suffered six heart attacks over the past few years.

He had largely stayed out of the public eye since undergoing emergency heart surgery in 2004, prompting speculation that he might have retired from music altogether.

However, Bowie made a surprise comeback three years ago, releasing a critically acclaimed album which he followed up with another new record just two days before his death.

Even during his late flowering since 2013 he kept a low public profile, refusing to perform live or carry out interviews with the Press, as he brought up daughter Lexi with his second wife Iman.

Bowie’s health problems began in 2004, when he was performing in Germany during what would turn out to be his last ever tour.

The singer collapsed backstage at a gig in Schessel, suffering from what was initially believed to be a trapped nerve but turned out to be a blocked coronary artery.

He never again performed a full concert, but made a handful of guest appearances alongside other artists over the next couple of years.

Towards the end of the last decade Bowie more or less disappeared from public life, leading to persistent speculation about the state of his health.

There was a 10-year gap between his 2003 album Reality and the follow-up record, The Next Day – time which Bowie used to become a ‘family man’, according to one of musician’s biographers.

Paul Trynka said: ‘He walked Lexi to school every day – something he had missed with Duncan [his son], which was something he deeply regretted.’

The Next Day was released in January 2013, on Bowie’s 66th birthday, with almost no advance warning or publicity.

The album was hailed as a triumphant return to form, which saw the star reflecting on his own life, and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize among other prestigious awards.

But the next year, Bowie was diagnosed with cancer and began his secret battle with the disease which would take his life.

His illness was hidden from the public, but music industry insiders were aware that the star was seriously ill, while Bowie’s close friends knew exactly how grave his condition was.

DJ Paul Gambaccini said today: ‘We knew inside the business… but he did keep it publicly private and kept working to the end.’

Midge Ure added: ‘I think people within the industry had heard rumours about cancer, we’d heard rumours about him not being well.’

Tony Visconti, who produced most of Bowie’s albums, dismissed fears about his health at the time, saying he ‘couldn’t have done two years’ work if he was a sick man’.

Asked in 2014 about rumours that the star was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Mr Visconti said: ‘He is as sharp as a tack. He is sharper than ever. This boy has not lost a single brain cell.

‘People thought he was dying. He’s not dying any time soon, let me tell you… He had the heart operation and that’s it. He’s long since recovered from that.’

Bowie performs in a concert during his 'A Reality Tour' at the T-Mobile Arena in Prague, Czech Republic, in June 2004

Bowie performs in a concert during his ‘A Reality Tour’ at the T-Mobile Arena in Prague, Czech Republic, in June 2004

But paying tribute to his friend today, Mr Visconti admitted that he had known for a year that Bowie was suffering from terminal cancer while he made his final album Blackstar, released last Friday.

‘His death was no different from his life – a work of Art,’ the producer said. ‘He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it.’

Wendy Leigh, who published a biography of the star 18 months ago, claimed today that Bowie had ‘six heart attacks’ in the years leading up to his death.

However, the musician continued to work throughout his cancer battle – with Blackstar now seen as a possible premonition of his death thanks to lyrics such as ‘Look up here, I’m in heaven.’

He was last seen in December at the premiere in New York of Lazarus, a musical based on his songs, and appeared more gaunt than usual, although there was little indication that he could be dead within a month.

David Bowie’s lifelong friend who was responsible for his different coloured eye after a teenage fight over a girl reveals the star later thanked him for giving him a unique look 

The man responsible for David Bowie’s distinctive eye has paid tribute to his lifelong friend.

George Underwood, Bowie’s bandmate and one-time love rival, is in ‘shock’ having not known of the star’s cancer until he passed away.

Bowie, who died just three days after releasing his 25th studio album, kept his 18-month battle with cancer so private that even close friends weren’t aware of his struggle.

Underwood, who was supported by Bowie through his own fight with prostate cancer, was devastated at the loss of the friend he has known since he was aged nine.

David Bowie (left) and life long friend George Underwood (right). George, from Uckfield in East Sussex siad he was in 'shock', having not known of the star's cancer until he passed away

David Bowie (left) and life long friend George Underwood (right). George, from Uckfield in East Sussex siad he was in ‘shock’, having not known of the star’s cancer until he passed away

He said today: ‘Someone texted me this morning. I couldn’t believe it, then I switched on the radio. I’m still in shock. I wasn’t aware of his illness at all. We were in contact by email. I knew he was working on a new album so I thought I better leave him to it.

‘It’s a bit of a shock, I can’t get my head around it. I didn’t know he was ill. He bought so much happiness and joy to so many people, that’s the fantastic legacy he’s left behind. He will go down in history. He was such a lovely guy.

‘He makes me laugh, I’m going to miss him. I sent a painting to him on his birthday. I hope he was awake for it.’

Underwood, now 68, recorded an album with Bowie with their outfit The King Bees and even created the distinctive artworks that appeared on albums Hunky Dory, and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

The pair met while enrolling for cub scouts and attended Bromley Technical School where they discovered a love for music together alongside classmate Peter Frampton.

Underwood, speaking from his home near Uckfield, in East Sussex, said: ‘People ask what he was really like but I don’t think anyone will ever know unless you know him like me. I have known him since I was nine years old.

‘We were enrolling for cubs on the same day that’s how we met and we became friends ever since. We then went to the same secondary school and were in various bands together. It’s a sad old day.’

Bowie's distinctive eye was caused by a condition known Aniscoria

Medics reckon Bowie was caught in the eye by George's fingernail, which left his left eye looking like it was a different colour

‘He later thanked me’: Bowie’s distinctive eye was caused by a condition known as Aniscoria

Underwood was devastated that he did not get a chance to say goodbye to his friend and was surprised he hadn’t been told of his illness as Bowie had been diagnosed 18 months ago.

He said: ‘I have been in contact with him via email since then. When I had prostate cancer he was very concerned about me. He kept that to himself though didn’t he? He looked well. I wonder if it’s just come out of nowhere, an aggressive cancer that’s suddenly come up.

‘Usually cancers is a long slow process and you get very tired but he’s been so active.’

He also said that Bowie’s latest album Blackstar, along with single Lazarus – released two days before his death – now take on a ‘more haunting’ meaning.

He said: ‘There’s obviously a message there with Lazarus. He must’ve had some kind of inkling he wouldn’t be alive for much longer. I was listening to the whole album yesterday – it’s even more haunting now. When you realise this has happened it gives you a different outlook on it..’

Underwood punched Bowie during a row over a girl when they were just 15, which left one pupil permanently dilated – a condition called Aniscoria.

Medics reckon Bowie was caught in the eye by Underwood’s fingernail, which left his left eye looking like it was a different colour.

But despite leaving his friend with a permanent disorder, Underwood revealed that the singer later thanked him for giving him his famed look.

Underwood said: ‘He later told me I did him a favour.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3393470/David-Bowie-dies-18-month-battle-cancer.html#ixzz3wxvmekKr

 

David Bowie

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see David Bowie (disambiguation).
David Bowie
David-Bowie Chicago 2002-08-08 photoby Adam-Bielawski-cropped.jpg

Bowie during the Heathen Tour in August 2002
Born David Robert Jones
8 January 1947
Brixton, London, England
Died 10 January 2016 (aged 69)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Cause of death Cancer
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • record producer
  • actor
  • artist
Years active 1962–2016
Spouse(s)
Children Duncan Jones (b. 1971)
Alexandria Zahra Jones (b. 2000)
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
Labels
Associated acts
Website Official website

David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie (/ˈb.i/),[1] was an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, painter and actor. He was a figure in popular music for over four decades, and was considered by critics and other musicians as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. His androgynous appearance was an iconic element of his image, principally in the 1970s and 1980s.

Born and raised in Brixton, south London, Bowie developed an early interest in music although his attempts to succeed as a pop star during much of the 1960s were frustrated. “Space Oddity” became his first top five entry on the UK Singles Chart after its release in July 1969. After a three-year period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with his flamboyant and androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The character was spearheaded by his single “Starman” and album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Bowie’s impact at that time, as described by biographer David Buckley, “challenged the core belief of the rock music of its day” and “created perhaps the biggest cult in popular culture”.[2] The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona proved to be one facet of a career marked by reinvention, musical innovation and visual presentation.

In 1975, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the number-one single “Fame” and the albumYoung Americans, which the singer characterised as “plastic soul“. The sound constituted a radical shift in style that initially alienated many of his UK devotees. He then confounded the expectations of both his record label and his American audiences by recording the electronic-inflected album Low, the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno.Low (1977), “Heroes” (1977), and Lodger (1979)—the so-called “Berlin Trilogy” albums—all reached the UK top five and received lasting critical praise. After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single “Ashes to Ashes“, its parent album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), and “Under Pressure“, a 1981 collaboration with Queen. He then reached a new commercial peak in 1983 with Let’s Dance, which yielded several successful singles. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including blue-eyed soul, industrial, adult contemporary, and jungle. Bowie also had a successful, but sporadic film career. His acting roles include the eponymous character in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), Major Celliers in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), Jareth, the Goblin King in Labyrinth (1986), Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese‘s The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (2006), among other film and television appearances and cameos.

Bowie stopped touring after his 2003–04 Reality Tour, and last performed live at a charity event in 2006. On 8 January 2016, the date of Bowie’s 69th birthday, his final studio album Blackstar was released; he died two days later. David Buckley said of Bowie: “His influence has been unique in popular culture—he has permeated and altered more lives than any comparable figure.”[2] In the BBC’s 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, Bowie was placed at number 29. Throughout his career, he sold an estimated 140 million records worldwide. In the UK, he was awarded nine Platinum album certifications, eleven Gold and eight Silver, and in the US, five Platinum and seven Gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Early life

Bowie was born in Brixton, south London. His mother, Margaret Mary “Peggy” (née Burns), from Kent,[3] worked as a waitress,[4] while his father, Haywood Stenton “John” Jones, from Yorkshire,[5] was a promotions officer for the children’s charity Barnardo’s. The family lived at 40 Stansfield Road, near the border of the south London areas of Brixton and Stockwell. Bowie attended Stockwell Infants School until he was six years old, acquiring a reputation as a gifted and single-minded child—and a defiant brawler.[6]

In 1953 the family moved to the suburb of Bromley, where, two years later, Bowie progressed to Burnt Ash Junior School. His voice was considered “adequate” by the school choir, and his recorder playing judged to demonstrate above-average musical ability.[7] At the age of nine, his dancing during the newly introduced music and movement classes was strikingly imaginative: teachers called his interpretations “vividly artistic” and his poise “astonishing” for a child.[7] The same year, his interest in music was further stimulated when his father brought home a collection of American 45s by artists including Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, the Platters, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley and Little Richard.[8][9] Upon listening to “Tutti Frutti“, Bowie would later say, “I had heard God”.[10] Presley’s impact on him was likewise emphatic: “I saw a cousin of mine dance to … ‘Hound Dog‘ and I had never seen her get up and be moved so much by anything. It really impressed me, the power of the music. I started getting records immediately after that.”[9] By the end of the following year he had taken up the ukulele and tea-chest bass and begun to participate in skiffle sessions with friends, and had started to play the piano; meanwhile his stage presentation of numbers by both Presley and Chuck Berry—complete with gyrations in tribute to the original artists—to his local Wolf Cub group was described as “mesmerizing … like someone from another planet.”[9] Failing his eleven plus exam at the conclusion of his Burnt Ash Junior education, Bowie joined Bromley Technical High School.[11]

It was an unusual technical school, as biographer Christopher Sandford wrote:

Despite its status it was, by the time David arrived in 1958, as rich in arcane ritual as any [English] public school. There were houses, named after eighteenth-century statesmen like Pitt and Wilberforce. There was a uniform, and an elaborate system of rewards and punishments. There was also an accent on languages, science and particularly design, where a collegiate atmosphere flourished under the tutorship of Owen Frampton. In David’s account, Frampton led through force of personality, not intellect; his colleagues at Bromley Tech were famous for neither, and yielded the school’s most gifted pupils to the arts, a regime so liberal that Frampton actively encouraged his own son, Peter, to pursue a musical career with David, a partnership briefly intact thirty years later.[11]

Bowie studied art, music and design, including layout and typesetting. After Terry Burns, his half-brother, introduced him to modern jazz, his enthusiasm for players like Charles Mingus and John Coltrane led his mother to give him a plastic alto saxophone in 1961; he was soon receiving lessons from a local musician.[12] Bowie received a serious injury at school in 1962 when his friend George Underwood punched him in the left eye during a fight over a girl. Doctors feared he would become blind in that eye. After a series of operations during a four-month hospitalisation,[13] his doctors determined that the damage could not be fully repaired and Bowie was left with faulty depth perception and a permanently dilated pupil. Despite their altercation, Underwood and Bowie remained good friends, and Underwood went on to create the artwork for Bowie’s early albums.[14]

Career

1962–67: Early career to début album

Bowie in 1967.

Graduating from his plastic saxophone to a real instrument in 1962, Bowie formed his first band at the age of 15. Playing guitar-based rock and roll at local youth gatherings and weddings, the Konrads had a varying line-up of between four and eight members, Underwood among them.[15] When Bowie left the technical school the following year, he informed his parents of his intention to become a pop star. His mother promptly arranged his employment as an electrician’s mate. Frustrated by his band-mates’ limited aspirations, Bowie left the Konrads and joined another band, the King Bees. He wrote to the newly successful washing-machine entrepreneur John Bloom inviting him to “do for us what Brian Epstein has done for the Beatles—and make another million.” Bloom did not respond to the offer, but his referral to Dick James‘s partner Leslie Conn led to Bowie’s first personal management contract.[16]

Conn quickly began to promote Bowie. The singer’s debut single, “Liza Jane“, credited to Davie Jones and the King Bees, had no commercial success. Dissatisfied with the King Bees and their repertoire of Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon blues numbers, Bowie quit the band less than a month later to join the Manish Boys, another blues outfit, who incorporated folk and soul—”I used to dream of being their Mick Jagger“, Bowie was to recall.[16]I Pity the Fool” was no more successful than “Liza Jane”, and Bowie soon moved on again to join the Lower Third, a blues trio strongly influenced by the Who. “You’ve Got a Habit of Leaving” fared no better, signalling the end of Conn’s contract. Declaring that he would exit the pop world “to study mime at Sadler’s Wells“, Bowie nevertheless remained with the Lower Third. His new manager, Ralph Horton, later instrumental in his transition to solo artist, soon witnessed Bowie’s move to yet another group, the Buzz, yielding the singer’s fifth unsuccessful single release, “Do Anything You Say“. While with the Buzz, Bowie also joined the Riot Squad; their recordings, which included a Bowie number and Velvet Underground material, went unreleased. Ken Pitt, introduced by Horton, took over as Bowie’s manager.[17]

Dissatisfied with his stage name as Davy (and Davie) Jones, which in the mid-1960s invited confusion with Davy Jones of the Monkees, Bowie renamed himself after the 19th-century American frontiersmanJim Bowie and the knife he had popularised.[18] His April 1967 solo single, “The Laughing Gnome“, using speeded-up thus high-pitched vocals, failed to chart. Released six weeks later, his album debut, David Bowie, an amalgam of pop, psychedelia, and music hall, met the same fate. It was his last release for two years.[19]

1968–71: Space Oddity to Hunky Dory

Bowie met dancer Lindsay Kemp in 1967 and enrolled in his dance class at the London Dance Centre.[20] He commented in 1972 that meeting Kemp was when his interest in image “really blossomed”.[20] “He lived on his emotions, he was a wonderful influence. His day-to-day life was the most theatrical thing I had ever seen, ever. It was everything I thought Bohemia probably was. I joined the circus.”[21] Studying the dramatic arts under Kemp, from avant-garde theatre and mime tocommedia dell’arte, Bowie became immersed in the creation of personae to present to the world. Satirising life in a British prison, meanwhile, the Bowie-penned “Over the Wall We Go” became a 1967 single for Oscar; another Bowie composition, “Silly Boy Blue”, was released by Billy Fury the following year.[22] In January 1968 Kemp choreographed a dance scene for a BBC play The Pistol Shot in the Theatre 625 series, and used Bowie with a dancer, Hermione Farthingale;[23][24] the pair began dating, and moved into a London flat together. Playing acoustic guitar, Farthingale formed a group with Bowie and bassist John Hutchinson; between September 1968 and early 1969 the trio gave a small number of concerts combining folk, Merseybeat, poetry and mime.[25] Bowie and Farthingale broke up in early 1969 when she went to Norway to take part in a film, Song of Norway;[26] this had an impact on him, and several songs, such as “Letter to Hermione” and “Life on Mars?” reference her,[27][28] and for the video accompanying “Where Are We Now?” he wore a T-shirt with the words “Song for Norway”.[29] They were last together in January 1969 for the filming of Love You till Tuesday, a 30-minute film, not released until 1984, intended as a vehicle to promote him, featuring performances from Bowie’s repertoire, including an as yet unreleased “Space Oddity“.[30]

After the breakup with Farthingale, Bowie moved in with Mary Finnigan as her lodger.[31] During this period he appeared in a Lyons Maid ice cream commercial, but was rejected for another by Kit Kat.[30] In February and March 1969, he undertook a short tour with Marc Bolan‘s duo Tyrannosaurus Rex, as third on the bill, performing a mime act.[32] On 11 July 1969, “Space Oddity” was released five days ahead of the Apollo 11 launch, and reached the top five in the UK.[30] Continuing the divergence from rock and roll and blues begun by his work with Farthingale, Bowie joined forces with Finnigan, Christina Ostrom and Barrie Jackson to run a folk club on Sunday nights at the Three Tuns pub in Beckenham High Street.[31] Influenced by the Arts Lab Movement, this developed into the Beckenham Arts Lab, and became extremely popular. The Arts Lab hosted a free festival in a local park, the subject of his song “Memory of a Free Festival“.[33] Bowie’s second album followed in November; originally issued in the UK as David Bowie, it caused some confusion with its predecessor of the same name, and the early US release was instead titled Man of Words/Man of Music; it was re-released internationally in 1972 by RCA as Space Oddity. Featuring philosophical post-hippie lyrics on peace, love and morality, its acoustic folk rock occasionally fortified by harder rock, the album was not a commercial success at the time of its release.[34]

Bowie met Angela Barnett in April 1969. They married within a year. Her impact on him was immediate, and her involvement in his career far-reaching, leaving manager Ken Pitt with limited influence which he found frustrating.[35] Having established himself as a solo artist with “Space Oddity”, Bowie began to sense a lacking: “a full-time band for gigs and recording—people he could relate to personally”.[36] The shortcoming was underlined by his artistic rivalry with Marc Bolan, who was at the time acting as his session guitarist.[36] A band was duly assembled. John Cambridge, a drummer Bowie met at the Arts Lab, was joined by Tony Visconti on bass and Mick Ronson on electric guitar. Known as the Hype, the bandmates created characters for themselves and wore elaborate costumes that prefigured the glam style of the Spiders From Mars. After a disastrous opening gig at the London Roundhouse, they reverted to a configuration presenting Bowie as a solo artist.[36][37] Their initial studio work was marred by a heated disagreement between Bowie and Cambridge over the latter’s drumming style; matters came to a head when Bowie, enraged, accused, “You’re fucking up my album.” Cambridge summarily quit and was replaced by Mick Woodmansey.[38] Not long after, in a move that resulted in years of litigation, at the conclusion of which Bowie was forced to pay Pitt compensation, the singer fired his manager, replacing him with Tony Defries.[38]

The studio sessions continued and resulted in Bowie’s third album, The Man Who Sold the World (1970), which contained references to schizophrenia, paranoia, and delusion.[39] Characterised by the heavy rock sound of his new backing band, it was a marked departure from the acoustic guitar and folk rock style established by Space Oddity. To promote it in the US, Mercury Records financed a coast-to-coast publicity tour in which Bowie, between January and February 1971, was interviewed by radio stations and the media. Exploiting his androgynous appearance, the original cover of the UK version unveiled two months later depicted the singer wearing a dress: taking the garment with him, he wore it during interviews – to the approval of critics, including Rolling Stone ’​s John Mendelsohn who described him as “ravishing, almost disconcertingly reminiscent of Lauren Bacall” – and in the street, to mixed reaction including laughter and, in the case of one male pedestrian, producing a gun and telling Bowie to “kiss my ass”.[40][41] During the tour Bowie’s observation of two seminal American proto-punk artists led him to develop a concept that eventually found form in the Ziggy Stardust character: a melding of the persona of Iggy Pop with the music of Lou Reed, producing “the ultimate pop idol”.[40] A girlfriend recalled his “scrawling notes on a cocktail napkin about a crazy rock star named Iggy or Ziggy”, and on his return to England he declared his intention to create a character “who looks like he’s landed from Mars”.[40]

Hunky Dory (1971) found Visconti, Bowie’s producer and bassist, supplanted in both roles by Ken Scott and Trevor Bolder respectively. The album saw the partial return of the fey pop singer of “Space Oddity”, with light fare such as “Kooks“, a song written for his son, Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones, born on 30 May.[42] (His parents chose “his kooky name”—he was known as Zowie for the next 12 years—after the Greek word zoe, life.)[43] Elsewhere, the album explored more serious themes, and found Bowie paying unusually direct homage to his influences with “Song for Bob Dylan“, “Andy Warhol“, and “Queen Bitch“, a Velvet Undergroundpastiche. It was not a significant commercial success at the time.[44]

1972–73: Ziggy Stardust

David Bowie during theZiggy Stardust Tour.

Dressed in a striking costume, his hair dyed red, Bowie launched his Ziggy Stardust stage show with the Spiders from Mars—Ronson, Bolder and Woodmansey—at the Toby Jug pub in Tolworth on 10 February 1972.[45] The show was hugely popular, catapulting him to stardom as he toured the UK over the course of the next six months and creating, as described by Buckley, a “cult of Bowie” that was “unique—its influence lasted longer and has been more creative than perhaps almost any other force within pop fandom.”[45]The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972), combining the hard rock elements of The Man Who Sold the World with the lighter experimental rock and pop of Hunky Dory, was released in June. “Starman“, issued as an April single ahead of the album, was to cement Bowie’s UK breakthrough: both single and album charted rapidly following his July Top of the Pops performance of the song. The album, which remained in the chart for two years, was soon joined there by the 6-month-oldHunky Dory. At the same time the non-album single “John, I’m Only Dancing“, and “All the Young Dudes“, a song he wrote and produced for Mott the Hoople, were successful in the UK. The Ziggy Stardust Tour continued to the United States.[46]

Bowie contributed backing vocals to Lou Reed’s 1972 solo breakthrough Transformer, co-producing the album with Mick Ronson.[47]His own Aladdin Sane (1973) topped the UK chart, his first number one album. Described by Bowie as “Ziggy goes to America”, it contained songs he wrote while travelling to and across the US during the earlier part of the Ziggy tour, which now continued to Japan to promote the new album. Aladdin Sane spawned the UK top five singles “The Jean Genie” and “Drive-In Saturday“.[48][49]

Bowie’s love of acting led his total immersion in the characters he created for his music. “Offstage I’m a robot. Onstage I achieve emotion. It’s probably why I prefer dressing up as Ziggy to being David.” With satisfaction came severe personal difficulties: acting the same role over an extended period, it became impossible for him to separate Ziggy Stardust—and, later, the Thin White Duke—from his own character offstage. Ziggy, Bowie said, “wouldn’t leave me alone for years. That was when it all started to go sour … My whole personality was affected. It became very dangerous. I really did have doubts about my sanity.”[50] His later Ziggy shows, which included songs from both Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane, were ultra-theatrical affairs filled with shocking stage moments, such as Bowie stripping down to asumo wrestling loincloth or simulating oral sex with Ronson’s guitar.[51] Bowie toured and gave press conferences as Ziggy before a dramatic and abrupt on-stage “retirement” at London’s Hammersmith Odeon on 3 July 1973. Footage from the final show was released the same year for the film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.[52]

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Sample of “Ziggy Stardust” (1972). A pioneer of glam rock, Bowie performed as the character Ziggy Stardust, backed by the Spiders from Mars.

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After breaking up the Spiders from Mars, Bowie attempted to move on from his Ziggy persona. His back catalogue was now highly sought after: The Man Who Sold the World had been re-released in 1972 along withSpace Oddity. “Life on Mars?“, from Hunky Dory, was released in June 1973 and made number three in the UK singles chart. Entering the same chart in September, Bowie’s novelty record from 1967, “The Laughing Gnome“, reached number six.[53]Pin Ups, a collection of covers of his 1960s favourites, followed in October, producing a UK number three hit in “Sorrow” and itself peaking at number one, making David Bowie the best-selling act of 1973 in the UK. It brought the total number of Bowie albums concurrently in the UK chart to six.[54]

1974–76: Soul, funk and the Thin White Duke

Bowie filming a video for “Rebel Rebel” in 1974.

Bowie moved to the US in 1974, initially staying in New York City before settling in Los Angeles.[55]Diamond Dogs (1974), parts of which found him heading towards soul and funk, was the product of two distinct ideas: a musical based on a wild future in a post-apocalyptic city, and setting George Orwell‘s 1984 to music.[56] The album went to number one in the UK, spawning the hits “Rebel Rebel” and “Diamond Dogs“, and number five in the US. To promote it, Bowie launched theDiamond Dogs Tour, visiting cities in North America between June and December 1974. Choreographed by Toni Basil, and lavishly produced with theatrical special effects, the high-budget stage production was filmed by Alan Yentob. The resulting documentary, Cracked Actor, featured a pasty and emaciated Bowie: the tour coincided with the singer’s slide from heavycocaine use into addiction, producing severe physical debilitation, paranoia and emotional problems.[57] He later commented that the accompanying live album, David Live, ought to have been titled “David Bowie Is Alive and Well and Living Only in Theory”. David Live nevertheless solidified Bowie’s status as a superstar, charting at number two in the UK and number eight in the US. It also spawned a UK number ten hit in Bowie’s cover of “Knock on Wood“. After a break in Philadelphia, where Bowie recorded new material, the tour resumed with a new emphasis on soul.[58]

Bowie performing with Cher on theCher show, 1975.

The fruit of the Philadelphia recording sessions was Young Americans (1975). Biographer Christopher Sandford writes, “Over the years, most British rockers had tried, one way or another, to become black-by-extension. Few had succeeded as Bowie did now.”[59] The album’s sound, which the singer identified as “plastic soul“, constituted a radical shift in style that initially alienated many of his UK devotees.[60]Young Americans yielded Bowie’s first US number one, “Fame“, co-written with John Lennon, who contributed backing vocals, and Carlos Alomar. Lennon called Bowie’s work “great, but it’s just rock’n’roll with lipstick on”.[61] Earning the distinction of being one of the first white artists to appear on the US variety show Soul Train, Bowie mimed “Fame”, as well as “Golden Years“, his November single,[62] which was originally offered to Elvis Presley, who declined it.[62]Young Americans was a commercial success in both the US and the UK, and a re-issue of the 1969 single “Space Oddity” became Bowie’s first number one hit in the UK a few months after “Fame” achieved the same in the US.[63] Despite his by now well established superstardom, Bowie, in the words of Sandford, “for all his record sales (over a million copies of Ziggy Stardust alone), existed essentially on loose change.”[64] In 1975, in a move echoing Ken Pitt’s acrimonious dismissal five years earlier, Bowie fired his manager. At the culmination of the ensuing months-long legal dispute, he watched, as described by Sandford, “millions of dollars of his future earnings being surrendered” in what were “uniquely generous terms for Defries”, then “shut himself up in West 20th Street, where for a week his howls could be heard through the locked attic door.”[64] Michael Lippman, Bowie’s lawyer during the negotiations, became his new manager; Lippman in turn was awarded substantial compensation when Bowie fired him the following year.[65]

Bowie as the Thin White Duke at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto 1976.

Station to Station (1976) introduced a new Bowie persona, the “Thin White Duke” of its title track. Visually, the character was an extension of Thomas Jerome Newton, the extraterrestrial being he portrayed in the film The Man Who Fell to Earth the same year.[66] Developing the funk and soul of Young Americans, Station to Station also prefigured the Krautrock and synthesiser music of his next releases. The extent to which drug addiction was now affecting Bowie was made public whenRussell Harty interviewed the singer for his London Weekend Television talk show in anticipation of the album’s supporting tour. Shortly before the satellite-linked interview was scheduled to commence, the death of the Spanish dictator General Franco was announced. Bowie was asked to relinquish the satellite booking, to allow the Spanish Government to put out a live newsfeed. This he refused to do, and his interview went ahead. In the ensuing conversation with Harty, as described by biographer David Buckley, “the singer made hardly any sense at all throughout what was quite an extensive interview. … Bowie looked completely disconnected and was hardly able to utter a coherent sentence.”[67] His sanity—by his own later admission—had become twisted from cocaine; he overdosed several times during the year, and was withering physically to an alarming degree.[57][68] Comments made by Bowie and others in 1976 led to the establishment of Rock Against Racism.[69]

Station to Station ’​s January 1976 release was followed in February by a 3 12-month concert tour of Europe and North America. Featuring a starkly lit set, the Isolar – 1976 Tour highlighted songs from the album, including the dramatic and lengthy title track, the ballads “Wild Is the Wind” and “Word on a Wing“, and the funkier “TVC 15” and “Stay“. The core band that coalesced around this album and tour — rhythm guitarist Alomar, bassist George Murray, and drummer Dennis Davis — continued as a stable unit for the remainder of the 1970s. The tour was highly successful but mired in political controversy. Bowie was quoted in Stockholm as saying that “Britain could benefit from a Fascist leader”, and was detained by customs on the Russian/Polish border for possessing Nazi paraphernalia.[70]

Matters came to a head in London in May in what became known as the “Victoria Station incident”. Arriving in an open-top Mercedesconvertible, the singer waved to the crowd in a gesture that some alleged was a Nazi salute, which was captured on camera and published in NME. Bowie said the photographer simply caught him in mid-wave.[71] He later blamed his pro-Fascism comments and his behaviour during the period on his addictions and the character of the Thin White Duke.[72]“I was out of my mind, totally crazed. The main thing I was functioning on was mythology … that whole thing about Hitler and Rightism … I’d discovered King Arthur”.[68] According to playwright Alan Franks, writing later in The Times, “he was indeed ‘deranged’. He had some very bad experiences with hard drugs.”[73]

1976–79: Berlin era

Bowie moved to Switzerland in 1976, purchasing a chalet in the hills to the north of Lake Geneva. In the new environment, his cocaine use decreased and he found time for other pursuits outside his musical career. He devoted more time to his painting, and produced a number of post-modernist pieces. When on tour, he took to sketching in a notebook, and photographing scenes for later reference. Visiting galleries in Geneva and the Brücke Museum in Berlin, Bowie became, in the words of biographer Christopher Sandford, “a prolific producer and collector of contemporary art. […] Not only did he become a well-known patron of expressionist art: locked in Clos des Mésanges he began an intensive self-improvement course in classical music and literature, and started work on an autobiography.”[74]

Bowie performing in Oslo on 5 June 1978

Before the end of 1976, Bowie’s interest in the burgeoning German music scene, as well as his drug addiction, prompted him to move to West Berlin to clean up and revitalise his career. There he was often seen riding a bicycle between his apartment on Hauptstraße inSchöneberg and Hansa Tonstudio, the recording studio he used, located on Köthener Straße in Kreuzberg, near the Berlin Wall.[75]While working with Brian Eno and sharing an apartment with Iggy Pop, he began to focus on minimalist, ambient music for the first of three albums, co-produced with Tony Visconti, that became known as his Berlin Trilogy.[76] During the same period, Iggy Pop, with Bowie as a co-writer and musician, completed his solo album debut The Idiot and its follow-up Lust for Life, touring the UK, Europe, and the US in March and April 1977.[77]

The album Low (1977), partly influenced by the Krautrock sound of Kraftwerk and Neu!, evidenced a move away from narration in Bowie’s songwriting to a more abstract musical form in which lyrics were sporadic and optional. Although he completed the album in November 1976, it took his unsettled record company another three months to release it.[78] It received considerable negative criticism upon its release—a release which RCA, anxious to maintain the established commercial momentum, did not welcome, and which Bowie’s ex-manager, Tony Defries, who still maintained a significant financial interest in the singer’s affairs, tried to prevent. Despite these forebodings, Low yielded the UK number three single “Sound and Vision“, and its own performance surpassed that of Station to Station in the UK chart, where it reached number two. Leading contemporary composer Philip Glass described Low as “a work of genius” in 1992, when he used it as the basis for his Symphony No. 1 “Low”; subsequently, Glass used Bowie’s next album as the basis for his 1996 Symphony No. 4 “Heroes”.[79][80] Glass has praised Bowie’s gift for creating “fairly complex pieces of music, masquerading as simple pieces”.[81]

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Sample of “Heroes” (1977). One of the ambient rock songs to emerge from Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy era, “Heroes” gained lasting popularity.

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Echoing Low ’​s minimalist, instrumental approach, the second of the trilogy, “Heroes” (1977), incorporated pop and rock to a greater extent, seeing Bowie joined by guitarist Robert Fripp. Like Low, “Heroes” evinced thezeitgeist of the Cold War, symbolised by the divided city of Berlin.[82] Incorporating ambient sounds from a variety of sources including white noise generators, synthesisers and koto, the album was another hit, reaching number three in the UK. Its title track, though only reaching number 24 in the UK singles chart, gained lasting popularity, and within months had been released in both German and French.[83] Towards the end of the year, Bowie performed the song for Marc Bolan’s television show Marc, and again two days later for Bing Crosby‘s final CBStelevision Christmas special, when he joined Crosby in “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy“, a version of “The Little Drummer Boy” with a new, contrapuntal verse. Five years later, the duet proved a worldwide seasonal hit, charting in the UK at number three on Christmas Day, 1982.[84]

Apartment building on Hauptstraße 155 in Berlin Schöneberg where Bowie lived from 1976 to 1978

After completing Low and “Heroes”, Bowie spent much of 1978 on the Isolar II world tour, bringing the music of the first two Berlin Trilogy albums to almost a million people during 70 concerts in 12 countries. By now he had broken his drug addiction; biographer David Buckley writes that Isolar II was “Bowie’s first tour for five years in which he had probably not anaesthetised himself with copious quantities of cocaine before taking the stage. … Without the oblivion that drugs had brought, he was now in a healthy enough mental condition to want to make friends.”[85] Recordings from the tour made up the live album Stage, released the same year.[86]

The final piece in what Bowie called his “triptych“, Lodger (1979), eschewed the minimalist, ambient nature of the other two, making a partial return to the drum- and guitar-based rock and pop of his pre-Berlin era. The result was a complex mixture of new wave and world music, in places incorporating Hijaznon-Western scales. Some tracks were composed using Eno and Peter Schmidt‘s Oblique Strategies cards: “Boys Keep Swinging” entailed band members swapping instruments, “Move On” used the chords from Bowie’s early composition “All the Young Dudes” played backwards, and “Red Money” took backing tracks from “Sister Midnight”, a piece previously composed with Iggy Pop.[87] The album was recorded in Switzerland. Ahead of its release, RCA’s Mel Ilberman stated, “It would be fair to call it Bowie’s Sergeant Pepper … a concept album that portrays the Lodger as a homeless wanderer, shunned and victimized by life’s pressures and technology.” As described by biographer Christopher Sandford, “The record dashed such high hopes with dubious choices, and production that spelt the end—for fifteen years—of Bowie’s partnership with Eno.” Lodger reached number 4 in the UK and number 20 in the US, and yielded the UK hit singles “Boys Keep Swinging” and “DJ“.[88][89] Towards the end of the year, Bowie and Angela initiated divorce proceedings, and after months of court battles the marriage was ended in early 1980.[90]

1980–88: New Wave and pop era

Serious Moonlight Tour 1983.

Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980) produced the number one hit “Ashes to Ashes“, featuring the textural work of guitar-synthesist Chuck Hammer and revisiting the character of Major Tom from “Space Oddity”. The song gave international exposure to the underground New Romantic movement when Bowie visited the London club “Blitz”—the main New Romantic hangout—to recruit several of the regulars (including Steve Strange of the band Visage) to act in the accompanying video, renowned as one of the most innovative of all time.[91] While Scary Monsters utilised principles established by the Berlin albums, it was considered by critics to be far more direct musically and lyrically. The album’s hard rock edge included conspicuous guitar contributions from Robert Fripp, Pete Townshend and Chuck Hammer.[92] As “Ashes to Ashes” hit number one on the UK charts, Bowie opened a three-month run on Broadway on 24 September, starring in The Elephant Man.[93] The same year, he made a cameo appearance in the German filmChristiane F., a real-life story of teenage drug addiction in 1970s Berlin. The Christiane F. soundtrack album, which featured Bowie’s music prominently, was released a few months later.

Bowie paired with Queen in 1981 for a one-off single release, “Under Pressure“. The duet was a hit, becoming Bowie’s third UK number one single. Bowie was given the lead role in the BBC’s 1982 televised adaptation of Bertolt Brecht‘s play Baal. Coinciding with its transmission, a five-track EP of songs from the play, recorded earlier in Berlin, was released as David Bowie in Bertolt Brecht’s Baal. In March 1982, the month before Paul Schrader‘s film Cat People came out, Bowie’s title song, “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)“, was released as a single, becoming a minor US hit and entering the UK top 30.[94]

Bowie reached a new peak of popularity and commercial success in 1983 with Let’s Dance. Co-produced by Chic‘s Nile Rodgers, the album went platinum in both the UK and the US. Its three singles became top twenty hits in both countries, where its title trackreached number one. “Modern Love” and “China Girl” made number two in the UK, accompanied by a pair of acclaimed promotional videos that, as described by biographer David Buckley, “were totally absorbing and activated key archetypes in the pop world. ‘Let’s Dance’, with its little narrative surrounding the young Aborigine couple, targeted ‘youth’, and ‘China Girl’, with its nude (and later partially censored) beach lovemaking scene (a homage to the film From Here to Eternity), was sufficiently sexually provocative to guarantee heavy rotation on MTV. Stevie Ray Vaughan was guest guitarist playing solo on “Let’s Dance”, although the video depicts Bowie miming this part.[95] By 1983, Bowie had emerged as one of the most important video artists of the day. Let’s Dance was followed by the Serious Moonlight Tour, during which Bowie was accompanied by guitarist Earl Slick and backing vocalists Frank and George Simms. The world tour lasted six months and was extremely popular.”[96]

Performing during the critically maligned Glass Spider Tour, 1987.

Tonight (1984), another dance-oriented album, found Bowie collaborating with Tina Turner and, once again, Iggy Pop. It included a number of cover songs, among them the 1966 Beach Boys hit “God Only Knows“. The album bore the transatlantic top ten hit “Blue Jean“, itself the inspiration for a short film that won Bowie a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video, “Jazzin’ for Blue Jean“. Bowie performed at Wembley in 1985 for Live Aid, a multi-venue benefit concert for Ethiopian famine relief. During the event, the video for a fundraising single was premièred, Bowie’s duet with Mick Jagger. “Dancing in the Street” quickly went to number one on release. The same year, Bowie worked with the Pat Metheny Group to record “This Is Not America” for the soundtrack of The Falcon and the Snowman. Released as a single, the song became a top 40 hit in the UK and US.[97]

Bowie was given a role in the 1986 film Absolute Beginners. It was poorly received by critics, but Bowie’s theme song rose to number two in the UK charts. He also appeared as Jareth, the Goblin King, in the 1986 Jim Henson film Labyrinth, for which he wrote five songs. His final solo album of the decade was 1987’s Never Let Me Down, where he ditched the light sound of his previous two albums, instead offering harder rock with an industrial/techno dance edge. Peaking at number six in the UK, the album yielded the hits “Day-In, Day-Out” (his 60th single), “Time Will Crawl“, and “Never Let Me Down“. Bowie later described it as his “nadir”, calling it “an awful album”.[98] Supporting Never Let Me Down, and preceded by nine promotional press shows, the 86-concert Glass Spider Tour commenced on 30 May. Bowie’s backing band included Peter Frampton on lead guitar. Critics maligned the tour as overproduced, saying it pandered to the current stadium rock trends in its special effects and dancing.[99]

1989–91: Tin Machine

Bowie shelved his solo career in 1989, retreating to the relative anonymity of band membership for the first time since the early 1970s. A hard-rocking quartet, Tin Machine came into being after Bowie began to work experimentally with guitarist Reeves Gabrels. The line-up was completed by Tony and Hunt Sales, whom Bowie had known since the late 1970s for their contribution, on bass and drums respectively, to Iggy Pop’s 1977 album Lust For Life.[100]

Bowie in Chile during the 1990 Sound+Vision Tour.

Although he intended Tin Machine to operate as a democracy, Bowie dominated, both in songwriting and in decision-making.[101]The band’s album debut, Tin Machine (1989), was initially popular, though its politicised lyrics did not find universal approval: Bowie described one song as “a simplistic, naive, radical, laying-it-down about the emergence of neo-Nazis”; in the view of biographer Christopher Sandford, “It took nerve to denounce drugs, fascism and TV … in terms that reached the literary level of a comic book.”[102] EMI complained of “lyrics that preach” as well as “repetitive tunes” and “minimalist or no production”.[103] The album nevertheless reached number three in the UK.[102]

Tin Machine’s first world tour was a commercial success, but there was growing reluctance—among fans and critics alike—to accept Bowie’s presentation as merely a band member.[104] A series of Tin Machine singles failed to chart, and Bowie, after a disagreement with EMI, left the label.[105] Like his audience and his critics, Bowie himself became increasingly disaffected with his role as just one member of a band.[106] Tin Machine began work on a second album, but Bowie put the venture on hold and made a return to solo work. Performing his early hits during the seven-month Sound+Vision Tour, he found commercial success and acclaim once again.[107]

In October 1990, a decade after his divorce from Angela, Bowie and Somali-born supermodel Iman were introduced by a mutual friend. Bowie recalled, “I was naming the children the night we met … it was absolutely immediate.” They married in 1992.[108] Tin Machine resumed work the same month, but their audience and critics, ultimately left disappointed by the first album, showed little interest in a second. Tin Machine II ’​s arrival was marked by a widely publicised and ill-timed conflict over the cover art: after production had begun, the new record label, Victory, deemed the depiction of four ancient nude Kouroi statues, judged by Bowie to be “in exquisite taste”, “a show of wrong, obscene images”, requiring air-brushing and patching to render the figures sexless.[109] Tin Machine toured again, but after the live album Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby failed commercially, the band drifted apart, and Bowie, though he continued to collaborate with Gabrels, resumed his solo career.[110]

1992–98: Electronic period

In April 1992 Bowie appeared at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, following the Queen frontman’s death the previous year. As well as performing “Heroes” and “All the Young Dudes”, he was joined on “Under Pressure” by Annie Lennox, who took Mercury’s vocal part.[111] Four days later, Bowie and Iman were married in Switzerland. Intending to move to Los Angeles, they flew in to search for a suitable property, but found themselves confined to their hotel, under curfew: the 1992 Los Angeles riots began the day they arrived. They settled in New York instead.[112]

Bowie performing in Finland in 1997

In 1993, Bowie released his first solo offering since his Tin Machine departure, the soul, jazz and hip-hop influenced Black Tie White Noise. Making prominent use of electronic instruments, the album, which reunited Bowie with Let’s Dance producer Nile Rodgers, confirmed Bowie’s return to popularity, hitting the number one spot on the UK charts and spawning three top 40 hits, including the top 10 song “Jump They Say“.[113] Bowie explored new directions on The Buddha of Suburbia (1993), a soundtrack album of incidental music composed for the TV series adaptation of Hanif Kureishi’s novel. It contained some of the new elements introduced in Black Tie White Noise, and also signalled a move towards alternative rock. The album was a critical success but received a low-key release and only made number 87 in the UK charts.[114]

Reuniting Bowie with Eno, the quasi-industrialOutside (1995) was originally conceived as the first volume in a non-linear narrative of art and murder. Featuring characters from a short story written by Bowie, the album achieved US and UK chart success, and yielded three top 40 UK singles.[115] In a move that provoked mixed reaction from both fans and critics, Bowie chose Nine Inch Nails as his tour partner for the Outside Tour. Visiting cities in Europe and North America between September 1995 and February the following year, the tour saw the return of Gabrels as Bowie’s guitarist.[116]

Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 17 January 1996.[117] Incorporating experiments in British jungle anddrum ‘n’ bass, Earthling (1997) was a critical and commercial success in the UK and the US, and two singles from the album became UK top 40 hits. Bowie’s song “I’m Afraid of Americans” from the Paul Verhoeven film Showgirls was re-recorded for the album, and remixed by Trent Reznor for a single release. The heavy rotation of the accompanying video, also featuring Reznor, contributed to the song’s 16-week stay in the US Billboard Hot 100. The Earthling Tour took in Europe and North America between June and November 1997.[118] Bowie reunited with Visconti in 1998 to record “(Safe in This) Sky Life” for The Rugrats Movie. Although the track was edited out of the final cut, it was later re-recorded and released as “Safe” on the B-side of Bowie’s 2002 single “Everyone Says ‘Hi’“.[119] The reunion led to other collaborations including a limited-edition single release version of Placebo’s track “Without You I’m Nothing“, co-produced by Visconti, with Bowie’s harmonised vocal added to the original recording.[120]

1999–2012: Neoclassicist Bowie

Bowie on stage with Sterling Campbell during the Heathen Tour in 2002.

Bowie created the soundtrack for Omikron, a 1999 computer game in which he and Iman also appeared as characters. Released the same year and containing re-recorded tracks from Omikron, his album ‘Hours…’ featured a song with lyrics by the winner of his “Cyber Song Contest” Internet competition, Alex Grant.[121] Making extensive use of live instruments, the album was Bowie’s exit from heavy electronica.[122] Sessions for the planned album Toy, intended to feature new versions of some of Bowie’s earliest pieces as well as three new songs, commenced in 2000, but the album was never released. Bowie and Visconti continued their collaboration, producing a new album of completely original songs instead: the result of the sessions was the 2002 album Heathen.[123] Alexandria Zahra Jones, Bowie and Iman’s daughter, was born on 15 August.[124]

In October 2001, Bowie opened the Concert for New York City, a charity event to benefit the victims of the 11 September attacks, with a minimalist performance of Simon & Garfunkel‘s “America“, followed by a full band performance of “Heroes”.[125] 2002 saw the release of Heathen, and, during the second half of the year, the Heathen Tour. Taking place in Europe and North America, the tour opened at London’s annual Meltdown festival, for which Bowie was that year appointed artistic director. Among the acts he selected for the festival were Philip Glass, Television and the Dandy Warhols. As well as songs from the new album, the tour featured material from Bowie’s Low era.[126]Reality (2003) followed, and its accompanying world tour, the A Reality Tour, with an estimated attendance of 722,000, grossed more than any other in 2004. Onstage in Oslo, Norway, on 18 June, Bowie was hit in the eye with a lollipop thrown by a fan; a week later he suffered chest pain while performing at the Hurricane Festival in Scheeßel, Germany. Originally thought to be a pinched nerve in his shoulder, the pain was later diagnosed as an acutely blocked coronary artery, requiring an emergency angioplasty in Hamburg. The remaining 14 dates of the tour were cancelled.[127]

Bowie in 2009 with his son Duncan Jones at the premiere of Jones’ directorial debut Moon.

In the years following his recuperation from the heart attack, Bowie reduced his musical output, making only one-off appearances on stage and in the studio. He sang in a duet of his 1972 song “Changes” with Butterfly Boucher for the 2004 animated film Shrek 2.[128] During a relatively quiet 2005, he recorded the vocals for the song “(She Can) Do That”, co-written with Brian Transeau, for the film Stealth.[129] He returned to the stage on 8 September 2005, appearing with Arcade Fire for the US nationally televised event Fashion Rocks, and performed with the Canadian band for the second time a week later during the CMJ Music Marathon.[130] He contributed backing vocals on TV on the Radio‘s song “Province” for their album Return to Cookie Mountain,[131] made a commercial with Snoop Dogg for XM Satellite Radio,[132] and joined with Lou Reed on Danish alt-rockers Kashmir’s 2005 album No Balance Palace.[133]

Bowie was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award on 8 February 2006.[134] In April, he announced, “I’m taking a year off—no touring, no albums.”[135] He made a surprise guest appearance at David Gilmour‘s 29 May concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The event was recorded, and a selection of songs on which he had contributed joint vocals were subsequently released.[136] He performed again in November, alongside Alicia Keys, at the Black Ball, a New York benefit event for Keep a Child Alive,[137] a performance that marks the last time Bowie performed his music on stage.[138]

Bowie was chosen to curate the 2007 High Line Festival, selecting musicians and artists for the Manhattan event,[139] and performed on Scarlett Johansson‘s 2008 album of Tom Waits covers, Anywhere I Lay My Head.[140] On the 40th anniversary of the July 1969 moon landing—and Bowie’s accompanying commercial breakthrough with “Space Oddity”—EMI released the individual tracks from the original eight-track studio recording of the song, in a 2009 contest inviting members of the public to create a remix.[141]A Reality Tour, a double album of live material from the 2003 concert tour, was released in January 2010.[142]

In late March 2011, Toy, Bowie’s previously unreleased album from 2001, was leaked onto the internet, containing material used for Heathen and most of its single B-sides, as well as unheard new versions of his early back catalogue.[143][144]

2013–16: Final years

On 8 January 2013 (his 66th birthday), his website announced a new album, to be titled The Next Day and scheduled for release 8 March for Australia, 12 March for the United States and 11 March for the rest of the world.[145] Bowie’s first studio album in a decade, The Next Day contains 14 songs plus 3 bonus tracks.[146][147]His website acknowledged the length of his hiatus.[148] Record producer Tony Visconti said 29 tracks were recorded for the album, some of which could appear on Bowie’s next record, which he might start work on later in 2013. The announcement was accompanied by the immediate release of a single, “Where Are We Now?“, written and recorded by Bowie in New York and produced by longtime collaborator Tony Visconti.[148]

A music video for Where Are We Now? was released onto Vimeo the same day, directed by New York artist Tony Oursler.[148] The single topped the UK iTunesChart within hours of its release,[149] and debuted in the UK Singles Chart at No. 6,[150] his first single to enter the top 10 for two decades, (since “Jump They Say” in 1993). A second video, “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”, was released 25 February. Directed by Floria Sigismondi, it stars Bowie and Tilda Swinton as a married couple.[151] On 1 March, the album was made available to stream for free through iTunes.[152]The Next Day debuted at No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart, his first since Black Tie White Noise (1993), and was the fastest-selling album of 2013 at the time.[153] The music video for the song “The Next Day” created some controversy, initially being removed from YouTube for terms-of-service violation, then restored with a warning recommending viewing only by those 18 or over.[154]

According to The Times, Bowie ruled out ever giving an interview again.[155] An exhibition of Bowie artefacts, called “David Bowie Is”, was shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2013.[156] Later that year the exhibition began a world tour, starting in Toronto and including stops in Chicago, Paris, Melbourne, and Groningen(the Netherlands).[157]

Bowie was featured in a cameo vocal in the Arcade Fire song “Reflektor”.[158] A poll carried out by BBC History Magazine, in October 2013, named Bowie as the best-dressed Briton in history.[159] At the 2014 Brit Awards on 19 February, Bowie became the oldest recipient of a Brit Award in the ceremony’s history when he won the award for Best British Male, which was collected on his behalf by Kate Moss. His speech read: “I’m completely delighted to have a Brit for being the best male – but I am, aren’t I Kate? Yes. I think it’s a great way to end the day. Thank you very, very much and Scotland stay with us.”[160] Bowie’s reference to the forthcoming Scottish independence referendum garnered a significant reaction on social media.[161][162] On 18 July, Bowie indicated that future music would be forthcoming, though he was vague about details.[163]

New information was released in September 2014 regarding his next compilation album, Nothing Has Changed, which was released in November. The album featured rare tracks and old material from his catalogue in addition to a new song titled “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)“.[164]

In May 2015, “Let’s Dance” was announced to be reissued as a yellow vinyl single on 16 July 2015 in conjunction with the “David Bowie is” exhibition at theAustralian Centre For The Moving Image in Melbourne.[165]

Bowie wrote and recorded the opening title song to the television series The Last Panthers, which aired in November 2015.[166] The show’s director, Johan Renck, said of Bowie, “His first response was precise, engaged and curious. The piece of music he laid before us embodied every aspect of our characters and the series itself – dark, brooding, beautiful and sentimental (in the best possible incarnation of this word). All along, the man inspired and intrigued me and as the process passed, I was overwhelmed with his generosity. I still can’t fathom what actually happened.” The theme that was used for The Last Panthers was also the title track for his January 2016 release Blackstar which is said to take cues from his earlier krautrock influenced work.[167] According to The Times: “Blackstar may be the oddest work yet from Bowie”.[168]

Acting career

Biographer David Buckley writes, “The essence of Bowie’s contribution to popular music can be found in his outstanding ability to analyse and select ideas from outside the mainstream—from art, literature, theatre and film—and to bring them inside, so that the currency of pop is constantly being changed.”[169] Buckley says, “Just one person took glam rock to new rarefied heights and invented character-playing in pop, marrying theatre and popular music in one seamless, powerful whole.”[170]

The beginnings of his acting career predate his commercial breakthrough as a musician. Studying avant-garde theatre and mime under Lindsay Kemp, he was given the role of Cloud in Kemp’s 1967 theatrical production Pierrot in Turquoise (later made into the 1970 television film The Looking Glass Murders).[171] In the black-and-white shortThe Image (1969), he played a ghostly boy who emerges from a troubled artist’s painting to haunt him.[172] The same year, the film of Leslie Thomas‘s 1966 comic novel The Virgin Soldiers saw Bowie make a brief appearance as an extra.[172] In 1976 he earned acclaim for his first major film role, portraying Thomas Jerome Newton, an alien from a dying planet, in The Man Who Fell to Earth, directed by Nicolas Roeg. Just a Gigolo (1979), an Anglo-German co-production directed by David Hemmings, saw Bowie in the lead role as Prussian officer Paul von Przygodski, who, returning from World War I, is discovered by a Baroness (Marlene Dietrich) and put into her Gigolo Stable.[173]

Bowie took the title role in the Broadway theatre production The Elephant Man, which he undertook wearing no stage make-up, and which earned high praise for his expressive performance. He played the part 157 times between 1980 and 1981.[93]Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo, a 1981 biographical film focusing on a young girl’s drug addiction in West Berlin, featured Bowie in a cameo appearance as himself at a concert in Germany. Its soundtrack album, Christiane F.(1981), featured much material from his Berlin Trilogy albums.[174] Bowie starred in The Hunger (1983), a revisionist vampire film, with Catherine Deneuve andSusan Sarandon. In Nagisa Oshima‘s film the same year, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, based on Laurens van der Post‘s novel The Seed and the Sower, Bowie played Major Jack Celliers, a prisoner of war in a Japanese internment camp. Bowie had a cameo in Yellowbeard, a 1983 pirate comedy created by Monty Pythonmembers, and a small part as Colin, the hitman in the 1985 film Into the Night. He declined to play the villain Max Zorin in the James Bond film A View to a Kill(1985).[175]

Absolute Beginners (1986), a rock musical based on Colin MacInnes‘s 1959 novel about London life, featured Bowie’s music and presented him with a minor acting role. The same year, Jim Henson‘s dark fantasy Labyrinth found him with the part of Jareth, the king of the goblins.[176] Two years later, he played Pontius Pilate inMartin Scorsese‘s 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ. Bowie portrayed a disgruntled restaurant employee opposite Rosanna Arquette in The Linguini Incident(1991), and the mysterious FBI agent Phillip Jeffries in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992). He took a small but pivotal role as Andy Warhol inBasquiat, artist/director Julian Schnabel‘s 1996 biopic of Jean-Michel Basquiat, and co-starred in Giovanni Veronesi‘s Spaghetti WesternIl Mio West (1998, released as Gunslinger’s Revenge in the US in 2005) as the most feared gunfighter in the region.[177] He played the ageing gangster Bernie in Andrew Goth’s Everybody Loves Sunshine (1999), and appeared in the TV horror serial of The Hunger. In Mr. Rice’s Secret (2000), he played the title role as the neighbour of a terminally ill 12-year-old, and the following year appeared as himself in Zoolander.[178]

Bowie portrayed physicist Nikola Tesla in the Christopher Nolan film, The Prestige (2006), which was about the bitter rivalry between two magicians in the late 19th century. He voice-acted in the animated film Arthur and the Invisibles as the powerful villain Maltazard, and lent his voice to the character Lord Royal Highness in the SpongeBob’s Atlantis SquarePantis television film. In the 2008 film August, directed by Austin Chick, he played a supporting role as Ogilvie, alongside Josh Hartnett and Rip Torn, with whom he had worked in 1976 for The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976).[179][180]

Musicianship

Bowie’s VoxMark VI guitar located at the Hard Rock Café, Warsaw.

From the time of his earliest recordings in the 1960s, Bowie employed a wide variety of musical styles. His early compositions and performances were strongly influenced by rock and rollers like Little Richard and Elvis Presley, and also the wider world of show business. He particularly strove to emulate the British musical theatre singer-songwriter and actorAnthony Newley, whose vocal style he frequently adopted, and made prominent use of for his 1967 debut release, David Bowie (to the disgust of Newley himself, who destroyed the copy he received from Bowie’s publisher).[19][181] Bowie’s music hall fascination continued to surface sporadically alongside such diverse styles as hard rock and heavy metal, soul, psychedelic folk and pop.[182]

Musicologist James Perone observes Bowie’s use of octave switches for different repetitions of the same melody, exemplified in his commercial breakthrough single, “Space Oddity“, and later in the song “Heroes“, to dramatic effect; Perone notes that “in the lowest part of his vocal register … his voice has an almost crooner-like richness.”[183]

Voice instructor Jo Thompson describes Bowie’s vocal vibrato technique as “particularly deliberate and distinctive”.[184]Schinder and Schwartz call him “a vocalist of extraordinary technical ability, able to pitch his singing to particular effect.”[185] Here, too, as in his stagecraft and songwriting, the singer’s chamaeleon-like nature is evident: historiographer Michael Campbell says that Bowie’s lyrics “arrest our ear, without question. But Bowie continually shifts from person to person as he delivers them … His voice changes dramatically from section to section.”[186] In a 2014 analysis of 77 “top” artists’ vocal ranges, Bowie was 8th, just behind Christina Aguilera and just ahead of Paul McCartney.[187]

Bowie was known as a multi-instrumentalist. In addition to his playing of guitar, keyboards, harmonica and saxophone, he played stylophone, viola, cello, koto,thumb piano, drums, and percussion.[188][189][190][191]

Legacy and influence

David Bowie’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Bowie’s innovative songs and stagecraft brought a new dimension to popular music in the early 1970s, strongly influencing both its immediate forms and its subsequent development. A pioneer of glam rock, Bowie, according to music historians Schinder and Schwartz, has joint responsibility with Marc Bolan for creating the genre.[192] At the same time, he inspired the innovators of the punk rock music movement—historian Michael Campbell calls him “one of punk’s seminal influences”. While punk musicians trashed the conventions of pop stardom, Bowie moved on again—into a more abstract style of music making that in turn became a transforming influence. Biographer David Buckley writes, “At a time when punk rock was noisily reclaiming the three-minute pop song in a show of public defiance, Bowie almost completely abandoned traditional rock instrumentation.”[193][194] Bowie’s record company sought to convey his unique status in popular music with the slogan, “There is old wave, there is new wave, and there is Bowie …”[195] Musicologist James Perone credits him with having “brought sophistication to rock music”, and critical reviews frequently acknowledge the intellectual depth of his work and influence.[192][196][197]

Buckley writes that, in an early 1970s pop world that was “Bloated, self-important, leather-clad, self-satisfied, … Bowie challenged the core belief of the rock music of its day.” As described by John Peel, “The one distinguishing feature about early-70s progressive rock was that it didn’t progress. Before Bowie came along, people didn’t want too much change.” Buckley says that Bowie “subverted the whole notion of what it was to be a rock star”, with the result that “After Bowie there has been no other pop icon of his stature, because the pop world that produces these rock gods doesn’t exist any more. … The fierce partisanship of the cult of Bowie was also unique—its influence lasted longer and has been more creative than perhaps almost any other force within pop fandom.” Buckley concludes that “Bowie is both star and icon. The vast body of work he has produced … has created perhaps the biggest cult in popular culture. … His influence has been unique in popular culture—he has permeated and altered more lives than any comparable figure.”[2]

Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.[117] Through perpetual reinvention, he has seen his influence continue to broaden and extend: music reviewer Brad Filicky writes that over the decades, “Bowie has become known as a musical chameleon, changing and dictating trends as much as he has altered his style to fit, influencing fashion and pop culture.”[198] Biographer Thomas Forget adds, “Because he has succeeded in so many different styles of music, it is almost impossible to find a popular artist today that has not been influenced by David Bowie.”[199]

Bowie was the principal inspiration for the bisexual glam rock icon Brian Slade in the 1998 film Velvet Goldmine. In 2015, he was named one of GQ‘s 50 best dressed British men.[200] His alter ego Ziggy Stardust, was the main inspiration for Tilda Swinton‘s character in the film A Bigger Splash, Rock singer Marianne Lane.[201][202]

Personal life

Relationships and sexuality

Bowie and wife Iman.

Bowie married Mary Angela Barnett (also known as Angie Bowie) on 19 March 1970 at Bromley Register Office on Beckenham Lane, Bromley, London. They had a son together, Duncan, a film director, and divorced on 8 February 1980 in Switzerland.[203]

Buckley writes, “If Ziggy confused both his creator and his audience, a big part of that confusion centred on the topic of sexuality.”[204] Bowie declared himself gay in an interview with Michael Watts in the 22 January 1972 issue of Melody Maker,[205] a move which coincided with the first shots in his campaign for stardom as Ziggy Stardust.[51] In a September 1976 interview with Playboy, Bowie said: “It’s true—I am a bisexual. But I can’t deny that I’ve used that fact very well. I suppose it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”[206] According to his first wife Angie, Bowie had a relationship with Mick Jagger.[207][208]

In a 1983 interview with Rolling Stone, Bowie said his public declaration of bisexuality was “the biggest mistake I ever made” and “I was always a closet heterosexual.”[209] On other occasions, he said his interest in homosexual and bisexual culture had been more a product of the times and the situation in which he found himself than his own feelings; as described by Buckley, he said he had been driven more by “a compulsion to flout moral codes than a real biological and psychological state of being.”[210][211]

Asked in 2002 by Blender whether he still believed his public declaration was the biggest mistake he ever made, he replied:

Interesting. [Long pause] I don’t think it was a mistake in Europe, but it was a lot tougher in America. I had no problem with people knowing I was bisexual. But I had no inclination to hold any banners nor be a representative of any group of people. I knew what I wanted to be, which was a songwriter and a performer, and I felt that bisexuality became my headline over here for so long. America is a very puritanical place, and I think it stood in the way of so much I wanted to do.[212]

Buckley’s view of the period is that Bowie, “a taboo-breaker and a dabbler … mined sexual intrigue for its ability to shock”,[213] and that “it is probably true that Bowie was never gay, nor even consistently actively bisexual … he did, from time to time, experiment, even if only out of a sense of curiosity and a genuine allegiance with the ‘transgressional.'”[214] Biographer Christopher Sandford says that according to Mary Finnigan, with whom Bowie had an affair in 1969, the singer and his first wife Angie “lived in a fantasy world … and they created their bisexual fantasy.”[215] Sandford tells how, during the marriage, Bowie “made a positive fetish of repeating the quip that he and his wife had met while ‘fucking the same bloke’ … Gay sex was always an anecdotal and laughing matter. That Bowie’s actual tastes swung the other way is clear from even a partial tally of his affairs with women.”[215]

On 24 April 1992, David Bowie married Somali-American model Iman in a private ceremony in Lausanne. The wedding was later solemnized on 6 June in Florence.[216] They had one daughter, Alexandria “Lexi” Zahra Jones, born in August 2000.[217] The couple resided primarily in New York City and London, as well as owning an apartment in Sydney.[218][219]

Religion

Regarding religion, in 2005 he said, “Questioning my spiritual life has always been germane to what I was writing. Always.” He added that he was bothered by being “not quite an atheist”.[220] In the Esquire interview “What I’ve Learned”, he stated, “I’m in awe of the universe, but I don’t necessarily believe there’s an intelligence or agent behind it. I do have a passion for the visual in religious rituals, though, even though they may be completely empty and bereft of substance. The incense is powerful and provocative, whether Buddhist or Catholic.”[221]

Bowie showed an interest in Buddhism that began in 1967. He frequently studied in London under the TibetanLamaChime Rinpoche before becoming a solo artist. During a 2001 interview, Bowie claimed that “after a few months of study, he told me, ‘You don’t want to be Buddhist … You should follow music.'”[222] Bowie later wrote the song “Silly Boy Blue” in tribute to Rinpoche on his 1967 album David Bowie. Bowie also became a student of the crazy wisdomTulkuChögyam Trungpa.[223]

Politics

Speaking as the Thin White Duke, Bowie’s persona at the time, and “at least partially tongue-in-cheek”, he made statements that expressed support for fascism and perceived admiration for Adolf Hitler in interviews with Playboy, NME and a Swedish publication. Bowie was quoted as saying: “Britain is ready for a fascist leader… I think Britain could benefit from a fascist leader. After all, fascism is really nationalism… I believe very strongly in fascism, people have always responded with greater efficiency under a regimental leadership.” He was also quoted as saying: “Adolf Hitler was one of the first rock stars” and “You’ve got to have an extreme right front come up and sweep everything off its feet and tidy everything up.”[224][225] Bowie later retracted these comments in an interview with Melody Maker in October 1977, blaming them on mental instability caused by his drug problems at the time, saying: “I was out of my mind, totally, completely crazed.”[226] In the Melody Makerinterview, he claimed to be apolitical, stating: “The more I travel and the less sure I am about exactly which political philosophies are commendable. The more government systems I see, the less enticed I am to give my allegiance to any set of people, so it would be disastrous for me to adopt a definitive point of view, or to adopt a party of people and say ‘these are my people'”.[227]

Legal issues

In 1990, Queen and Bowie filed a lawsuit against American rapper Vanilla Ice for copying the bass line of “Under Pressure” with only minor modifications in his song “Ice Ice Baby“.[228][229] The dispute was later resolved with an undisclosed out-of-court settlement.[228]

Death

On 10 January 2016, two days after releasing the album Blackstar on his 69th birthday, Bowie died from cancer at his New York home. He had been diagnosed with the malignancy eighteen months earlier.[230][231][232][233] Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove, who worked with the singer on his Off-Broadway musical Lazarus, explained that Bowie was unable to attend rehearsals due to progression of the disease. He noted that “Bowie was still writing on his deathbed, I saw a man fighting. He fought like a lion and kept working like a lion through it all.”[234] Bowie’s producer Tony Visconti wrote:

He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry.[235]

Awards and recognition

Bowie’s 1969 commercial breakthrough, the song “Space Oddity”, won him an Ivor Novello Special Award For Originality.[236] For his performance in the 1976 science fiction film The Man Who Fell to Earth, he won a Saturn Award for Best Actor. In the ensuing decades he has been honoured with numerous awards for his music and its accompanying videos, receiving, among others, two Grammy Awards[237][238] and three Brit Awards—winning Best British Male Artist twice and in 1996 the award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.[239]

In 1999, Bowie was made a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.[240] He received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music the same year.[241] He declined the royal honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000, and turned down a knighthood in 2003.[242] Bowie later stated “I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don’t know what it’s for. It’s not what I spent my life working for.”[243]

Throughout his career he sold an estimated 140 million albums. In the United Kingdom, he was awarded 9 Platinum, 11 Gold and 8 Silver albums, and in the United States, 5 Platinum and 7 Gold.[244] In the BBC’s 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, he was ranked 29.[245] In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him 39th on their list of the 100 Greatest Rock Artists of All Time.[246] Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 17 January 1996[117] and named a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in June 2013.[247] The spider Heteropoda davidbowie is named in his honour.[248]

Discography

Studio albums

Filmography

Selected film roles

See also

Further reading

  • Cann, David, Any Day Now: David Bowie the London Years 1947–1974, Kenneth Pitt in Books, 2011
  • Duffy, Chris; Cann, Kevin (2014). Duffy/Bowie Five Sessions (1st UK ed.). ACC Editions. p. 170. ISBN 978-1-85149-765-2.
  • Greco, Nicholas P., David Bowie in Darkness: A Study of 1. Outside and the Late Career, McFarland & Co., 2015. ISBN 978-0-7864-9410-1
  • Hendrikse, Wim, Never Get Old. Man of Ch-Ch-Changes Part 1 and Part 2, Gopher Publishers, 2004.
  • Hendrikse, Wim, David Bowie: The Man Who Changed the World, Authors Online, 2013.
  • Jacke, Andreas, David Bowie – Station To Station, Psychosozial- Verlag, 2011
  • Seabrook, Thomas Jerome, Bowie in Berlin: A New Career in a New Town, Jawbone Press, 2008.
  • Spitz, Marc, Bowie: A Biography, Crown Publishers, 2009.
  • Tremlett, George, David Bowie: Living on the Brink, Carroll and Graf, 1997.
  • Trynka, Paul, Starman: David Bowie – The Definitive Biography, Little, Brown Book Group Limited, 2011
  • Waldrep, Shelton, “Phenomenology of Performance”, The Aesthetics of Self-Invention: Oscar Wilde to David Bowie, University of Minnesota Press, 2004.’
  • Welch, Chris, David Bowie: We Could Be Heroes: The Stories Behind Every David Bowie Song, Da Capo Press, 1999.
  • Wilcken, Hugo, 33⅓: David Bowie’s Low, Continuum, 2005.
  • Philippe Auliac, Passenger Photobook – The Thin White Duke Pictures, Sound & Vision Editions, Venezia, 2004

External links


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bowie

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