DAVID BOWIE BIOGRAPHY
BIRTH: January 8, 1947,
Brixton, London, England
DEATH: January 10, 2016 (aged 69),
New York City, U.S.
David Bowie was an English singer, songwriter and actor.He is most known for his fictional character, “Ziggy Stardust”. He was considered a musical chameleon.
David Bowie was born as David Robert Jones on 8th January, 1947, in Brixton, London. His mother, Margaret Mary “Peggy”, worked as a waitress. His father, Haywood Stenton “John” Jones, was a promotions officer at a children’s charity. His half-brother, Terry, nourished his interest in music. Terry was nine years elder to him, and he introduced Bowie to rock music and beat literature. Terry committed suicide in 1985. His death had quite an impact on Bowie and was the subject of Bowie’s song “Jump They Say”.
At the age of sixteen, Bowie graduated from Bromley Technical High School and started to work as a commercial artist. He also lead a group named Davy Jones and the Lower Third. In the 1960s, he changed his name to David Bowie to avoid confusion with the Monkees’ David Jones.
Bowie released his self-titled album in 1967. It did not gain much recognition. In the same year, he joined a dance class at the London Dance Center with Lindsay Kemp where he also took classes in dramatic arts. Bowie signed a deal with Mercury Records and got his first break with the 1969 single “Space Oddity”. It was placed in the top five in the UK charts. This song was released in 1972 in the U.S. and ranked number fifteen in the U.S. charts.
His 1970 album ‘The Man Who Sold the Wo-rld’ had the single, “All the Madmen”. This song is also thought to be written about his brother, Terry. His album ‘Hunky Dory’ was released in 1971. It contained songs in tribute to Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan. His 1972 album, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ was in collaboration with The Spiders from Mars.
It gained huge commercial success. It was based on a fictional rock star, Ziggy Stardust, and his downfall. It was ranked number five in the UK. He collaborated with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for his 1973 album ‘Aladdin Sane! It contained songs like “The Jean Genie” and “Let’s Spend the Night Together”.
In 1973, his album ‘Pin Ups’ was released. It contained covers of songs by Pretty Things and Pink Floyd. His single “Fame” from ‘Young Americans’ (1975) topped the American charts.
It was co-written by John Lennon and Carlos Alomar. His 1983 album, ‘Let’s dance’ , contained singles such as “Modern Love” and “China Girl”.
Bowie also acted in movies. He played a role in the 1976 movie The Man Who Fell to Earth. He has also acted in movies like Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), The Hunger (1983) and Jazzin’ for Blue Jean (1984). He appeared in Broadway’s The Elephant Man in 1980.
Bowie collaborated with Reeve Gabrels, and Tony and Hunt Sales (collectively called the Tin Machine) for the albums “Tin Machine’ (1989) and ‘Tin Machine Il’ (1991). His 1993 album ‘Black Tie White Noise’ was dedicated to his wife, Iman, as a wedding gift. His albums in the 1990s include ‘Outside’ (1995), ‘Earthling’ (1997) and ‘Hours’ (1999).
In 2013, Bowie’s ‘The Next Day’ was released. It ranked number two on the Billboard charts. He released his final album, ‘Blackstar’, on 8th January, 2016 on his 69th birthday. Bowie won the Ivor Novello Special Award for Originality for the song “Space Oddity” (1969). He was posthumously awarded five Grammy Awards for his last album ‘Blackstar’ to honor his legacy. He has received Brit Awards for ‘Best British Male Artist’ and ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music’.
On 17th January, 1996, Bowie was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was made a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1999 by the French government.
David Bowie got married to Mary Angela Barnett in 1970. They had a son in the following year. They separated in 1980. Bowie remarried the Somali model, Iman, in 1992. They had a daughter together.
Bowie passed away on 10th January, 2016 after battling cancer for eighteen months. David Bowie
left a musical legacy oftwenty-six albums. On 7th January, 2017, HBO released the documentary David Bowie: The Last Five Years. It contains backstage footage of his final tour and albums.