David Bowie

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David Bowie
David Bowie in 2002
Background information
Birth name David Robert Jones
Also known as "The Thin White Duke",
"Ziggy Stardust"
Born (1947-01-08)8 January 1947
Origin Brixton, London, England, UK
Died 10 January 2016(2016-01-10) (aged 69)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Genres Rock, glam rock, art rock, pop rock
Instruments vocals, guitar, piano, keyboard, saxophone, synthesizer, drums, percussion, harmonica, mandolin, koto, marimba, violin, cello, organ, vibraphone, stylophone
Years active 1964–2016
Website www.davidbowie.com

David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), better known by his stage name David Bowie, was an English rock musician and actor.

Early life[change | change source]

Bowie was born in Brixton, London. He grew up in Bromley, Kent. He played the saxophone. He was a singer in London blues bands. He used the alias David Bowie because David Jones sounded too much like Davy Jones (of The Monkees). He took the name Bowie from Jim Bowie, who invented the Bowie knife.

Bowie became known to the public with the 1969 song Space Oddity. This single was released when man first landed on the moon. The song is based on the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick. In 1970, Bowie won an Ivor Novello Award for "Space Oddity".

Career[change | change source]

Ziggy Stardust[change | change source]

Bowie's album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was released in 1972. It is one of his best-known albums. As a result of his performance, Bowie became a leader of glam rock.

Ziggy Stardust became Bowie's second personality (alter ego). For a press conference, he would show up as Ziggy. Bowie let Ziggy Stardust come to an end during a live concert in the Hammersmith Odeon theatre on 3 July 1973. In 1983, this show was released as movie and soundtrack (Ziggy Stardust – The Motion Picture). Bowie produced Lou Reed's "Transformer".

Los Angeles and Berlin[change | change source]

In 1974, after releasing "Diamond Dogs", Bowie settled in Los Angeles. He experimented with drugs, especially cocaine. In 1975, "Fame", a song co-written with Lennon, was number 1 on the US charts. Bowie played an alien in the movie The Man Who Fell To Earth. A new second personality was The Thin White Duke. This was introduced on the Station to Station album in 1976. The song "Golden Years" scored high in the pop charts. In 2003, the album was ranked No. 323 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

After releasing Station to Station, Bowie moved to Berlin. He was interested in the German music scene. He wanted to end his drug abuse. In Berlin, he started to work with producer Tony Visconti and with Brian Eno, the "king of oblique strategies". Bowie was producer for Iggy Pop. The Berlin Trilogy Albums are Low (1977), Heroes (1977) and Lodger (1979).

1980s[change | change source]

Bowie left Berlin in 1980. The last album at that time was Scary Monsters... And Super Creeps, featuring the single "Ashes To Ashes". In 1981, he had a big hit with Under Pressure, together with Queen. In 1983, Bowie released Let's Dance, his biggest selling album, including the title track, peaking at No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1984, Bowie won a Brit Award as Best Male Artist. In 1985, he won a Grammy Award for Best Video (Short Form). Yet in 1985, David Bowie and Mick Jagger released the charity single "Dancing In The Street". In 1986, Bowie released the single "Absolute Beginners".

Tin Machine[change | change source]

In 1989, Bowie formed the band Tin Machine. This was his first real band since the 1970s. With this band, Bowie recorded three albums: Tin Machine (1989), Tin Machine II (1991) and Oy Vey, Baby (1992).

1990s–2010s[change | change source]

By the 1990s, Bowie had become more interested in soul, jazz and hip hop. This was first noticed on the album Black Tie, White Noise.

Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 17 January 1996.[1]

In 2013, after a ten years hiatus, Bowie released his twenty-fourth album, The Next Day. In 2014, he was nominated for Best Rock Album at the Grammy Awards.[2] and won a Brit Award for Best Male Artist.

His last album, Blackstar, was released on 8 January 2016. That was his 69th birthday and two days before his death.[3][4]

Personal life[change | change source]

Bowie married Mary Angela Barnett in 1970. Their son, Duncan Jones was born in 1971. The couple divorced in 1980. Bowie married Iman in 1992. The couple's daughter, Alexandria Jones, was born in 2000.

Death[change | change source]

On 10 January 2016, Bowie died after an 18-month battle with liver cancer in Manhattan, New York City. He was 69 years old.[5] His remains were later cremated on 14 January in a private ceremony in New York.

Genres[change | change source]

Bowie covered many genres including art rock, hard rock, glam rock, alternative rock, krautrock, protopunk, post-punk, electronica, Blue-eyed soul, New Wave, Industrial, Techno, Jazz, Dance music, Funk, Disco, Experimental rock, Folk, Instrumental, Ambient and house.

Studio albums[change | change source]

Filmography (selection)[change | change source]

References[change | change source]