David Bowie
English musician
David Bowie
David Bowie is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. He is known for his distinctive voice and the intellectual depth and eclecticism of his work. Bowie first caught the eye and ear of the public in July 1969, when his song "Space Oddity" reached the top five of the UK Singles Chart.
Biography
David Bowie's personal information overview.
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News
News abour David Bowie from around the web
Late David Bowie honored with two wins at BRIT Awards
Reuters.com - 3 days
LONDON (Reuters) - Late music icon David Bowie was the big winner at the BRITs in London on Wednesday, taking the British male solo artist and album of the year prizes at the UK's top music awards.
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Reuters.com article
David Bowie Is the Star of the Brit Awards
NYTimes - 3 days
The late musician won top British album of the year at a ceremony focused on smaller acts that still featured performances by Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran.
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NYTimes article
The 5 Most Political Moments From New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017
Huffington Post - 5 days
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); New York Fashion Week wasn’t just about clothes this year ― it was also about the message.  This February, designers finally began making some bold moves toward inclusivity and diversity. But other shows also became political acts of resistance, like when LSR sent models down the runway in clothes denouncing President Trump’s Muslim travel ban and proposed wall between Mexico and the U.S. Or when designers and models wore white bandanas to signal they were ...
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Huffington Post article
HBO acquires 'David Bowie: The Last Five Years'
LATimes - 9 days
HBO has acquired the rights to the forthcoming documentary “David Bowie: The Last Five Years.” The film, directed and produced by Francis Whately, follows the late Bowie through the recording of his final two albums, “The Next Day” and “Blackstar,” and the stage musical “Lazarus.”  “Blackstar,”...
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LATimes article
Iman pays Valentine's Day tribute to David Bowie
CBS News - 11 days
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CBS News article
Iman posts tribute to her 'forever valentine'
ABC News - 11 days
Iman remembers her late husband, David Bowie, on Valentine's Day.
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ABC News article
Adele and David Bowie rack up wins as the Grammys struggle to keep up with the times
LATimes - 13 days
Adele, the English queen of pop heartbreak and redemption, scored a perfect five for five Sunday at the 59th Grammy Awards, sweeping the top categories of album, record and song of the year in a triumphant return to the spotlight following a long, trying hiatus. She also won points for humility...
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LATimes article
So Lady Gaga Maybe Got A Huge Metallica Back Tattoo Before The Grammys
Huffington Post - 13 days
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); Say what you want about Lady Gaga, but she always commits.  Ahead of her collaboration with Metallica at the 59th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, the “Joanne” singer debuted a new tattoo seemingly inspired by the band’s song “Moth Into Flame.” Gaga shared a black-and-white photo of her new ink, which spans the width of her back, with the caption “The Moth & Metallica.” It’s unclear whether the tattoo is real or an added flair for the Grammys stage, ...
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Huffington Post article
On the Culture Front: Othello, The Tempest, Alternative Valentine's Day Gifts and more
Huffington Post - 15 days
Even in the dark of winter, New York shines with creativity of all stripes that make me happy to be here over any warmer climate. The past month or so has been no exception. New York Theatre Workshop put on Sam Gold's incredible production of "Othello" set in modern day wartime. Countless articles featured its stars Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo, who undoubtedly gave searing first-rate performances. Craig brought a gentle seduction and even humanity to the quintessential villain of Iago while David Oyelowo painted a vivid portrait of a good man destroyed by bad information. What haunts me though is the way Rachel Brosnahan's Desdemona pleaded in vein for her life. Full of passion and sincerity and utterly in the right by any objective court of opinion, she's done in by the misinformation that's rotted Othello's soul. "Made in China" is a wild fever dream musical sung by lonely puppets on a harebrained adventure but writer/directors Gwendolyn Warnock and Kirjan Waage were inspired b ...
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Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of David Bowie
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2016
    Age 69
    Bowie's grandson from his son Duncan was born 10 July 2016, exactly six months after Bowie's passing.
    More Details Hide Details Bowie declared himself gay in an interview with Michael Watts for a 1972 issue of Melody Maker, coinciding with his campaign for stardom as Ziggy Stardust. According to Buckley, "If Ziggy confused both his creator and his audience, a big part of that confusion centred on the topic of sexuality". 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". According to his first wife, Angie, Bowie had a relationship with Mick Jagger.
    On 13 January 2016, Belgian amateur astronomers at MIRA Public Observatory created a "Bowie asterism" of seven stars which had been in the vicinity of Mars at the time of Bowie's death; the "constellation" forms the lightning bolt on Bowie's face from the cover of his Aladdin Sane album.
    More Details Hide Details Studio albums Selected film roles
    In 2016, Rolling Stone proclaimed Bowie "the greatest rock star ever".
    More Details Hide Details In 2008, the spider Heteropoda davidbowie was named in his honour. On 5 January 2015, a main-belt asteroid was named 342843 Davidbowie.
    On 10 January 2016, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of the album Blackstar, Bowie died from liver cancer in his New York City apartment.
    More Details Hide Details He had been diagnosed 18 months earlier but had not made the news of his illness public. The Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove, who had worked with the singer on his Off-Broadway musical Lazarus, explained that Bowie was unable to attend rehearsals due to the progression of the disease. He noted that Bowie had kept working during the illness. Bowie's producer Tony Visconti wrote: Following Bowie's death, fans gathered at impromptu street shrines. At the mural of Bowie in his birthplace of Brixton, south London, which shows him in his Aladdin Sane character, fans laid flowers and sang his songs. Other memorial sites included Berlin, Los Angeles, and outside his apartment in New York. After news of his death, sales of his albums and singles soared. Bowie had insisted that he did not want a funeral, and according to his death certificate he was cremated in New Jersey on 12 January.
    The BBC's Mark Easton wrote in 2016 that Britain was "far more tolerant of difference" and that gay rights, such as same-sex marriage, and gender equality would not have "enjoyed the broad support they do today without Bowie's androgynous challenge all those years ago".
    More Details Hide Details Over the years, Bowie made numerous references to religions and to his evolving spirituality. Beginning in 1967, he showed an interest in Buddhism; after a few months' study at Tibet House in London, he was told by a Lama, "You don't want to be Buddhist.... You should follow music". By 1975 Bowie admitted, "I felt totally, absolutely alone. And I probably was alone because I pretty much had abandoned God".
    His art collection, which included works by Damien Hurst, Henry Moore and Jean-Michel Basquiat among others, was valued at over £10m in mid-2016.
    More Details Hide Details This collection is due to be sold off at auction in late 2016.
    As of 11 January 2016, more than 1.3 million people had visited the "David Bowie Is" exhibition, making it the most successful exhibition ever staged by the Victoria and Albert Museum in terms of worldwide attendance.
    More Details Hide Details The museum stated that the exhibition would continue to tour, with confirmed travel to Japan in 2017. The beginnings of Bowie's 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). In the black-and-white short The Image (1969), he played a ghostly boy who emerges from a troubled artist's painting to haunt him. The same year, the film of Leslie Thomas's 1966 comic novel The Virgin Soldiers saw Bowie make a brief appearance as an extra. 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.
    Blackstar was released on 8 January 2016, Bowie's 69th birthday, and was met with critical acclaim.
    More Details Hide Details Following his death on 10 January, producer Tony Visconti revealed that Bowie had planned the album to be his swan song, and a "parting gift" for his fans before his death. Several reporters and critics subsequently noted that most of the lyrics on the album seem to revolve around his impending death, with CNN noting that the album "reveals a man who appears to be grappling with his own mortality". Visconti later said that Bowie had been planning a post-Blackstar album, and had written and recorded demo versions of five songs in his final weeks, suggesting that Bowie believed he had a few months left. The day following his death, online viewing of Bowie's music skyrocketed, breaking the record for Vevo's most viewed artist in a single day. On 15 January, Blackstar debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart; nineteen of his albums were in the UK Top 100 Albums Chart, and thirteen singles were in the UK Top 100 Singles Chart. Blackstar also debuted at number one on album charts around the world, including Australia, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and the US Billboard 200.
    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.
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  • 2015
    Age 68
    On 7 December 2015, Bowie's musical Lazarus debuted in New York.
    More Details Hide Details His last public appearance was at opening night of the production.
    Bowie wrote and recorded the opening title song to the television series The Last Panthers, which aired in November 2015.
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    In August 2015, it was announced that Bowie was writing songs for a Broadway musical based on the SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon series.
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    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 the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne.
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  • 2014
    Age 67
    New information was released in September 2014 regarding his next compilation album, Nothing Has Changed, which was released in November.
    More Details Hide Details 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)".
    Bowie's reference to the forthcoming September 2014 Scottish independence referendum garnered a significant reaction throughout the UK on social media.
    More Details Hide Details On 18 July, Bowie indicated that future music would be forthcoming, though he was vague about details.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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."
  • 2013
    Age 66
    A poll carried out by BBC History Magazine, in October 2013, named Bowie as the best-dressed Briton in history.
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    According to The Times, Bowie ruled out ever giving an interview again. An exhibition of Bowie artefacts, called "David Bowie Is", was organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and shown there in 2013.
    More Details Hide Details The London exhibit was visited by 311,956 people, making it one of the most successful exhibitions ever staged at the museum. Later that year the exhibition began a world tour, starting in Toronto and including stops in Chicago, Paris, Melbourne, and Groningen. Bowie was featured in a cameo vocal in the Arcade Fire song "Reflektor".
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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 Visconti. A music video for "Where Are We Now?" was released onto Vimeo the same day, directed by New York artist Tony Oursler. The single topped the UK iTunes Chart within hours of its release, and debuted in the UK Singles Chart at No. 6, 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. On 1 March, the album was made available to stream for free through iTunes.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Bowie's first studio album in a decade, The Next Day contains 14 songs plus 3 bonus tracks. His website acknowledged the length of his hiatus.
  • 2011
    Age 64
    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.
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  • 2008
    Age 61
    Bowie performed on Scarlett Johansson's 2008 album of Tom Waits covers, Anywhere I Lay My Head.
    More Details Hide Details 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. A Reality Tour, a double album of live material from the 2003 concert tour, was released in January 2010.
  • 2007
    Age 60
    Bowie was chosen to curate the 2007 High Line Festival, selecting musicians and artists for the Manhattan event, including electronic pop duo Air, surrealist photographer Claude Cahun and English comedian Ricky Gervais.
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    Nonetheless, the bonds liquidated in 2007 as originally planned, without default, and the rights to the income from the songs reverted to Bowie.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 2006
    Age 59
    Bowie was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award on 8 February 2006.
    More Details Hide Details In April, he announced, "I'm taking a year off—no touring, no albums." 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. He performed again in November, alongside Alicia Keys, at the Black Ball, a New York benefit event for Keep a Child Alive, a performance marking the last time Bowie performed his music on stage.
  • 2005
    Age 58
    He contributed backing vocals on TV on the Radio's song "Province" for their album Return to Cookie Mountain, made a commercial with Snoop Dogg for XM Satellite Radio and joined with Lou Reed on Danish alt-rockers Kashmir's 2005 album No Balance Palace.
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    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.
    More Details Hide Details
    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.
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  • 2001
    Age 54
    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". 2002 saw the release of Heathen, and, during the second half of the year, the Heathen Tour.
    More Details Hide Details 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. 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. That same year, his interest in Buddhism led him to support the Tibetan cause by performing at a concert to support the New York Tibet House.
  • 2000
    Age 53
    On 25 June 2000, Bowie made his second appearance at the Glastonbury Festival in England, playing 30 years after his first.
    More Details Hide Details On 27 June, Bowie performed a concert at BBC Radio Theatre in London, which was released in the compilation album Bowie at the Beeb, which also featured BBC recording sessions from 1968 to 1972. Bowie and Iman's daughter was born on 15 August.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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.
  • 1999
    Age 52
    Bowie created the soundtrack for Omikron, a 1999 computer game in which he and Iman also appeared as characters.
    More Details Hide Details 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. Making extensive use of live instruments, the album was Bowie's exit from heavy electronica.
  • 1998
    Age 51
    In September 1998, Bowie launched his own Internet service provider, BowieNet, developed in conjunction with Robert Goodale and Ron Roy.
    More Details Hide Details Subscribers to the dial-up service were offered exclusive content, as well as a BowieNet email address and Internet access. The service was closed by 2006.
    Bowie reunited with Visconti in 1998 to record "(Safe in This) Sky Life" for The Rugrats Movie.
    More Details Hide Details 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'. 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. Bowie Bonds, an early example of celebrity bonds, were asset-backed securities of current and future revenues of the 25 albums (287 songs) that Bowie recorded before 1990. Bowie Bonds were pioneered by rock and roll investment banker David Pullman. Issued in 1997, the bonds were bought for US$55 million by the Prudential Insurance Company of America. The bonds paid an interest rate of 7.9% and had an average life of ten years, a higher rate of return than a 10-year Treasury note (at the time, 6.37%). Royalties from the 25 albums generated the cash flow that secured the bonds' interest payments. Prudential also received guarantees from Bowie's label, EMI Records, which had recently signed a $30m deal with Bowie. By forfeiting ten years worth of royalties, Bowie received a payment of US$55 million up front. Bowie used this income to buy songs owned by his former manager. Bowie's combined catalogue of albums covered by this agreement sold more than 1 million copies annually at the time of the agreement.
  • 1997
    Age 50
    In November 1997, Bowie performed on the BBC's Children in Need charity single "Perfect Day", which reached number one in the UK.
    More Details Hide Details
    On 7 January 1997 Bowie celebrated his half century with a 50th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden, New York, at which he was joined in playing his songs and those of his guests, Lou Reed, Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters, Robert Smith of the Cure, Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, Frank Black of the Pixies and Sonic Youth.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1996
    Age 49
    In the ensuing decades he has been honoured with numerous awards for his music and its accompanying videos, receiving, among others, two Grammy Awards and four Brit Awards—winning Best British Male Artist twice; the award for Outstanding Contribution to Music in 1996; and the Brits Icon award, given posthumously in 2016.
    More Details Hide Details In 1999, Bowie was made a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. He received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music the same year. He declined the royal honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000, and turned down a knighthood in 2003. 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." Throughout his career he sold an estimated 140 million records worldwide. 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. Five of Bowie's studio albums appear on Rolling Stones list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
    Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 17 January 1996.
    More Details Hide Details Incorporating experiments in British jungle and drum '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.
  • 1995
    Age 48
    Visiting cities in Europe and North America between September 1995 and February 1996, the tour saw the return of Gabrels as Bowie's guitarist.
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  • 1993
    Age 46
    In 1993, Bowie released his first solo offering since his Tin Machine departure, the soul, jazz and hip-hop influenced Black Tie White Noise.
    More Details Hide Details 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". 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. Reuniting Bowie with Eno, the quasi-industrial Outside (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 UK and US chart success, and yielded three top 40 UK singles. 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.
  • 1992
    Age 45
    After Bowie married Iman in a private ceremony in 1992, he said they knew that their "real marriage, sanctified by God, had to happen in a church in Florence".
    More Details Hide Details Earlier that year, he knelt on stage at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert and recited the Lord's Prayer before a TV audience of up to one billion people. In 1993, Bowie said he had an "undying" belief in the "unquestionable" existence of God. Interviewed in 2005, Bowie said whether God exists "is not a question that can be answered. I'm not quite an atheist and it worries me. There's that little bit that holds on: 'Well, I'm almost an atheist. Give me a couple of months. I've nearly got it right. In his will, Bowie stipulated that he be cremated and his ashes scattered in Bali "in accordance with the Buddhist rituals". "Questioning my spiritual life has always been germane" to Bowie's songwriting. "Station to Station" is "very much concerned with the Stations of the Cross"; the song specifically references Kabbalah. Bowie called the album "extremely dark... the nearest album to a magick treatise that I've written". Earthling showed "the abiding need in me to vacillate between atheism or a kind of gnosticism... What I need is to find a balance, spiritually, with the way I live and my demise." Released shortly before his death, "Lazarus"—from his final album, Blackstar—began with the words, "Look up here, I’m in Heaven".
    On 24 April 1992, Bowie married the Somali-American model Iman in a private ceremony in Lausanne.
    More Details Hide Details The wedding was later solemnised on 6 June in Florence. They had one daughter, Alexandria "Lexi" Zahra Jones, born in August 2000. The couple resided primarily in New York City and London, as well as owning an apartment in Sydney's Elizabeth Bay.
    On 20 April 1992, Bowie appeared at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, following the Queen singer's death the previous year.
    More Details Hide Details 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; during his appearance, Bowie knelt and recited the Lord's Prayer at Wembley Stadium. 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.
  • 1990
    Age 43
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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 IIs 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. 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.
  • 1989
    Age 42
    Bowie shelved his solo career in 1989, retreating to the relative anonymity of band membership for the first time since the early 1970s.
    More Details Hide Details 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. Although he intended Tin Machine to operate as a democracy, Bowie dominated, both in songwriting and in decision-making. 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." EMI complained of "lyrics that preach" as well as "repetitive tunes" and "minimalist or no production". The album nevertheless reached number three in the UK.
  • 1987
    Age 40
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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". 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.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1986
    Age 39
    He also appeared as Jareth, the Goblin King, in the 1986 Jim Henson film Labyrinth, for which he wrote five songs.
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    Bowie was given a role in the 1986 film Absolute Beginners.
    More Details Hide Details It was poorly received by critics, but Bowie's theme song rose to number two in the UK charts.
  • 1985
    Age 38
    Bowie performed at Wembley in 1985 for Live Aid, a multi-venue benefit concert for Ethiopian famine relief.
    More Details Hide Details 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.
  • 1984
    Age 37
    At the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards Bowie received two awards including the inaugural Video Vanguard Award.
    More Details Hide Details 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".
  • 1983
    Age 36
    By 1983, Bowie had emerged as one of the most important video artists of the day.
    More Details Hide Details 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."
    Bowie reached his peak of popularity and commercial success in 1983 with Let's Dance.
    More Details Hide Details 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 track reached number one. "Modern Love" and "China Girl" each made number two in the UK, accompanied by a pair of "absorbing" promotional videos that biographer David Buckley said "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 bare-bummed (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.
  • 1982
    Age 35
    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.
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    Bowie was given the lead role in the BBC's 1982 televised adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's play Baal.
    More Details Hide Details 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.
  • 1981
    Age 34
    Bowie paired with Queen in 1981 for a one-off single release, "Under Pressure".
    More Details Hide Details The duet was a hit, becoming Bowie's third UK number one single.
  • 1980
    Age 33
    Bowie and Angela divorced on 8 February 1980 in Switzerland.
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    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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. 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, Chuck Hammer and Pete Townshend. 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.
  • 1978
    Age 31
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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." Recordings from the tour made up the live album Stage, released the same year. 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 Hijaz non-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. 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."
  • 1977
    Age 30
    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.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1976
    Age 29
    Although he completed the album in November 1976, it took his unsettled record company another three months to release it.
    More Details Hide Details 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 former 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". Glass has praised Bowie's gift for creating "fairly complex pieces of music, masquerading as simple pieces". Echoing Lows 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 the zeitgeist of the Cold War, symbolised by the divided city of Berlin. 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.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details There he was often seen riding a bicycle between his apartment on Hauptstraße in Schöneberg and Hansa Tonstudio, the recording studio he used, located on Köthener Straße in Kreuzberg, near the Berlin Wall. 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.
    Bowie moved to Switzerland in 1976, purchasing a chalet in the hills to the north of Lake Geneva.
    More Details Hide Details 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."
    Bowie's positive comments about Hitler, and Eric Clapton's about immigration restrictions in 1976, led to the establishment of Rock Against Racism.
    More Details Hide Details Station to Stations January 1976 release was followed in February by a 3½-month-long 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 to produce this album and tour—rhythm guitarist Carlos 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. Matters came to a head in London in May in what became known as the "Victoria Station incident". Arriving in an open-top Mercedes convertible, Bowie 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. He later blamed his pro-fascism comments and his behaviour during the period on his addictions and the character of the Thin White Duke. "I was out of my mind, totally crazed. The main thing I was functioning on was mythology... that whole thing about Hitler and Rightism...
  • 1975
    Age 28
    In 1975, in a move echoing Ken Pitt's acrimonious dismissal five years earlier, Bowie fired his manager.
    More Details Hide Details 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." 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. 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. Developing the funk and soul of Young Americans, Station to Stations synthesizer-heavy arrangements prefigured the krautrock-influenced music of his next releases. The extent to which drug addiction was now affecting Bowie was made public when Russell 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 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 lengthy conversation with Harty, Bowie was incoherent and looked "disconnected".
  • 1974
    Age 27
    To promote it, Bowie launched the Diamond Dogs Tour, visiting cities in North America between June and December 1974.
    More Details Hide Details 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 heavy cocaine use into addiction, producing severe physical debilitation, paranoia and emotional problems. 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. 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." 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. 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".
    Bowie moved to the US in 1974, initially staying in New York City before settling in Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details 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. The album went to number one in the UK, spawning the hits "Rebel Rebel" and "Diamond Dogs", and number five in the US.
  • 1973
    Age 26
    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.
    More Details Hide Details It brought the total number of Bowie albums concurrently on the UK chart to six.
  • 1972
    Age 25
    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 with Space Oddity. "Life on Mars?
    More Details Hide Details ", from Hunky Dory, was released in June 1973 and made number three on the UK singles chart. Entering the same chart in September, Bowie's novelty record from 1967, "The Laughing Gnome", reached number six.
    Bowie contributed backing vocals to Lou Reed's 1972 solo breakthrough Transformer, co-producing the album with Mick Ronson.
    More Details Hide Details 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". 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." 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 a sumo wrestling loincloth or simulating oral sex with Ronson's guitar. 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.
    Dressed in a striking costume, his hair dyed reddish-brown, 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.
    More Details Hide Details The show was hugely popular, catapulting him to stardom as he toured the UK over 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." 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-old Hunky 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.
  • 1971
    Age 24
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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 Stones 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". 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". 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". The "Stardust" surname was a tribute to the "Legendary Stardust Cowboy", whose record he was given during the tour. Bowie would later cover "I Took a Trip on a Gemini Space Ship" on 2002's Heathen.
  • 1970
    Age 23
    Bowie married Mary Angela Barnett on 19 March 1970 at Bromley Register Office in Bromley, London.
    More Details Hide Details Their son Duncan, born on 30 May 1971, was at first known as Zowie.
  • 1969
    Age 22
    Biographer Christopher Sandford said, according to Mary Finnigan—with whom Bowie had an affair in 1969—the singer and his first wife Angie "created their bisexual fantasy".
    More Details Hide Details Sandford wrote that 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".
    Bowie met Angela Barnett in April 1969.
    More Details Hide Details 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. 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". The shortcoming was underlined by his artistic rivalry with Marc Bolan, who was at the time acting as his session guitarist. 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. 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 an enraged Bowie accused the drummer of the disturbance, exclaiming "You're fucking up my album." Cambridge summarily quit and was replaced by Mick Woodmansey. 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.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details On 11 July 1969, "Space Oddity" was released five days ahead of the Apollo 11 launch, and reached the top five in the UK. 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. 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". 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 reissued internationally in 1972 by RCA Records 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.
    Bowie and Farthingale broke up in early 1969 when she went to Norway to take part in a film, Song of Norway; this affected him, and several songs, such as "Letter to Hermione" and "Life on Mars?
    More Details Hide Details " reference her, and for the video accompanying "Where Are We Now? " he wore a T-shirt with the words "Song for Norway". 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". After the breakup with Farthingale, Bowie moved in with Mary Finnigan as her lodger. During this period he appeared in a Lyons Maid ice cream commercial, and was rejected for another by Kit Kat.
  • 1968
    Age 21
    Playing acoustic guitar, Farthingale formed a group with Bowie and guitarist John Hutchinson; between September 1968 and early 1969 the trio gave a small number of concerts combining folk, Merseybeat, poetry and mime.
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    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; the pair began dating, and moved into a London flat together.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1967
    Age 20
    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.
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    Bowie met dancer Lindsay Kemp in 1967 and enrolled in his dance class at the London Dance Centre.
    More Details Hide Details He commented in 1972 that meeting Kemp was when his interest in image "really blossomed". "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." Studying the dramatic arts under Kemp, from avant-garde theatre and mime to commedia dell'arte, Bowie became immersed in the creation of personae to present to the world.
    His April 1967 solo single, "The Laughing Gnome", using speeded-up thus high-pitched vocals, failed to chart.
    More Details Hide Details 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.
  • 1962
    Age 15
    In 1962 Bowie formed his first band at the age of 15.
    More Details Hide Details 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. 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. 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. "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.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details After a series of operations during a four-month hospitalisation, his doctors determined that the damage could not be fully repaired and Bowie was left with faulty depth perception and a permanently dilated pupil, which gave a false impression of a change in the iris' colour. Despite their altercation, Underwood and Bowie remained good friends, and Underwood went on to create the artwork for Bowie's early albums.
  • 1961
    Age 14
    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.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1953
    Age 6
    In 1953, Bowie moved with his family to the suburb of Bromley, where, two years later, he started attending Burnt Ash Junior School.
    More Details Hide Details His voice was considered "adequate" by the school choir, and he demonstrated above-average abilities in playing the recorder. 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. 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. Upon listening to "Tutti Frutti", Bowie would later say, "I had heard God". 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." By the end of the following year he had taken up the ukulele and tea-chest bass, 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." After taking his eleven-plus exam at the conclusion of his Burnt Ash Junior education, Bowie went to Bromley Technical High School.
  • 1947
    Age 0
    Born on January 8, 1947.
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