Just a few days after his 69th birthday and the release of his 25th and final studio album, Blackstar, David Bowie a true legend and one of the most important and influential artists of all times passed out after a 18 month battle with cancer.
David Bowie was born in London in 1947 and began performing music when he was 13 years old, learning the saxophone while attending Bromley Technical High School. It was then when his left pupil became permanently dilated after participating at a schoolyard fight.
Born David (Robert Haywood) Jones he changed his name to Bowie in the 1960s, to avoid confusion with Davy Jones, lead singer of The Monkees.
David Bowie started his career in the 1960s, his breakthrough came though with his second album in 1969 with the album “Man of Words/Man of Music” on Mercury Records. The album included the song “Space Oddity” and it was released at the time of the Apollo moon landing. Although the song’s literal meaning is about an astronaut who is lost in space, it was actually used by the BBC in their coverage of the moon landing. The lyrics were inspired by watching Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey” while stoned.
In 1970 he got married to Angela Barnett aka Angie Bowie. They had a son together, Duncan Jones born 1971, a film director who directed the award-winning science fiction films Moon (2009) and Source Code (2011). They divorced in 1980 in Switzerland. On January 5, 2016, Angie entered the Celebrity Big Brother house as a contestant.
In 1972 he had a huge comeback with “Ziggy Stardust“, a concept album about a space-age rock star, that became Bowie’s androgynous and alien alter ego. After that he worked with Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and John Lennon.
Bowie reinvented himself again in the mid-seventies with a more soul and funky sound. He scored his first U.S. number one with “Fame” and a new persona, the “Thin White Duke” was born for his “Station to Station” album.
He then relocated from the Los Angeles to Switzerland and then to Berlin, where studied art, started painting and started in a new chapter in his life.
In 1977 he releases his the eleventh studio album, co-produced by Tony Visconti and himself. Low was the first of the “Berlin Trilogy”, a series of collaborations with Brian Eno, although the album was recorded in France and only mixed in West Berlin.
In 1983 Bowie signed a multi-million-dollar five-album deal with EMI and had a huge success with “Let’s Dance”.
He then collaborated with artists such as Queen for “Under Pressure” and Mick Jagger with “Dancing In The Streets”
Apart from making music, he was also an actor. He starred on Broadway in “The Elephant Man” and appeared in a series of films and series including “Just a Gigolo” with Marlene Dietrich and Kim Novak, “Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence”, “The Snowman”, “Absolute Beginners”, Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ”, “Into the Night”, “Labyrinth”, “The Linguini Incident”, “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me”, “The Hunger”, “Basquiat”, “Il Mio West” “Everybody Loves Sunshine”, “In Mr. Rice’s Secret”, “Zoolander”.
In 1992 he got married to supermodel Iman. In 2000 they had a daughter Alexandria “Lexi” Zahra.
In 2004 Bowie collapsed on stage with a heart attack and had to stop the tour.
His album “The Next Day” was released after a 10 year break in 2013. Almost immediately, however, he began work on “Blackstar”.
“Look up here, I’m in heaven,” he sings from a hospital bed in the video for Lazarus included in his last album. His swan song, where he has trying to tell us that he is dying.
He might have passed away, but he will always live in our hearts.
It is very hard to just pick some songs out of his vast discography, but if I had to pick 9 these would be my personal 9 favorites:
Space Oddity (1969)
Life On Mars (1971)
Ziggy Stardust (1972)
I’m Afraid of Americans (1997)
Rock n Roll Suicide (1972)
The Jean Geanie (1972)