David Bowie Overview

David Bowie ( , ; and the 23rd best singer of all time.

 
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1947–67: Early years

David Bowie was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, London to parents who were married in September 1947 shortly after his birth. His mother Margaret Mary "Peggy" (née Burns), of Irish descent worked as a cinema usherette and his father Hayward Stenton "John" Jones was a promotions officer for Barnardo's. Bowie attended a school in Stockwell until he was six years old, when his family moved from Brixton to the suburb of Bromley, Kent, where he attended Burnt Ash Junior School, Rangefield Road, Bromley which is now known as Burnt Ash Primary School. Here he played for the football team in 1957/58. He then went on to attend Bromley Technical High School, now known as Ravens Wood School.

When Bowie was 15 years old, his friend, George Underwood George Underwood (artist) , wearing a ring on his finger, punched him in the left eye during a fight over a girl. Bowie was forced to stay out of school for eight months so that doctors could conduct operations to repair his potentially blinded eye. Doctors could not fully repair the damage, leaving his pupil permanently dilated mydriasis . As a result of the injury, Bowie has faulty depth perception. Bowie has stated that although he can see with his injured eye, his colour vision was mostly lost and a brownish tone is constantly present. Each iris has the same blue colour, but since the pupil of the injured eye is wide open, the hue of that eye is commonly mistaken to be different Heterochromia .

Bowie's interest in music was sparked at the age of nine when his father brought home a collection of American 45s Gramophone record , including Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, The Platters, Fats Domino and, most significantly, Little Richard. Upon listening to "Tutti Frutti Tutti Frutti (song) ", Bowie would later say, "I had heard God". His half-brother Terry introduced him to modern jazz and Bowie's enthusiasm for players like Charles Mingus and John Coltrane led his mother to give him a plastic saxophone for Christmas in 1959. Graduating to a real instrument, he formed his first band in 1962, The Konrads. He then played and sang in various blues/beat groups, such as The King Bees, The Manish Boys (cf. "Mannish Boy"), The Lower Third and The Riot Squad in the mid-1960s, releasing his first record, the single "Liza Jane", with the King Bees in 1964. His early work shifted through the blues and Elvis-inspired music while working with many British pop styles.

During the early 1960s, Bowie was performing either under his own name or the stage name "Davie Jones", and briefly even as "Davy Jones", creating confusion with Davy Jones Davy Jones (actor) of The Monkees. To avoid this, in 1966 he chose "Bowie" for his stage name, after the Alamo Battle of the Alamo hero Jim Bowie and his famous Bowie knife. During this time, he recorded singles for Parlophone Parlophone Records under the name of The Manish Boys and Davy Jones and for Pye Pye Records under the name David Bowie (and The Lower Third), all without success.

Bowie released his first album in 1967 for the Decca Records offshoot Deram Deram Records , simply called David Bowie David Bowie (album) . It was an amalgam of pop, psychedelia psychedelic rock , and music hall. Around the same time he issued a novelty single, "The Laughing Gnome", which utilised sped-up Chipmunk The Chipmunks -style vocals. None of these releases managed to chart, and he would not cut another record for two years. His Deram material from the album and various singles was later recycled in a multitude of compilations.

Influenced by the dramatic arts, he studied with Lindsay Kemp—from avant-garde theatre and mime mime artist to Commedia dell'arte Commedia del Arte —and much of his work would involve the creation of characters or personae to present to the world. During 1967, Bowie sold his first song to another artist, "Oscar" (an early stage name of actor-musician Paul Nicholas). Bowie wrote Oscar's third single, "Over the Wall We Go", which satirised life in a British prison. In late 1968, his then-manager, Kenneth Pitt, produced a half-hour promotional film called Love You till Tuesday Love You till Tuesday (film) featuring Bowie performing a number of songs, but it went unreleased until 1984.


1969–73: Psychedelic folk to glam rock

Bowie's first flirtation with fame came in 1969 with his single "Space Oddity Space Oddity (song) ," written the previous year but recorded and released to coincide with the first moon landing. This ballad told the story of Major Tom, an astronaut who becomes lost in space, though it has also been interpreted as an allegory for taking drugs. It became a Top 5 UK hit. Bowie put the finishing touches to the track while living with Mary Finnigan as her lodger. Finnigan and Bowie joined forces with Christina Ostrom and the late Barrie Jackson to run a Folk Club on Sunday nights at The Three Tuns pub public house in Beckenham High Street, south London. This soon morphed into the Beckenham Arts Lab and became extremely po***r. In August 1969, The Arts Lab hosted a Free Festival in a local park, later immortalised by Bowie in his song "Memory of a Free Festival". In 1969 and 1970, "Space Oddity" was used by the BBC during both its Apollo 11 moon landing coverage and its coverage of Apollo 13.

The corresponding album, his second, was released in November 1969 and originally titled David Bowie, which caused some confusion as both of Bowie's first and second albums were released with that name in the UK. In the US the same album originally bore the title Man of Words, Man of Music to overcome that confusion. In 1972, the album was re-released on both sides of the Atlantic by RCA Records as Space Oddity Space Oddity (album) , the title it has kept ever since.

In 1970, Bowie released his third album, The Man Who Sold the World The Man Who Sold the World (album) , rejecting the acoustic guitar Steel-string guitar sound of the previous album and replacing it with the heavy rock rock and roll backing provided by Mick Ronson, who would be a major collaborator through to 1973. Much of the album resembles British heavy metal music of the period, but the album provided some unusual musical detours, such as the title track The Man Who Sold the World 's use of Latin Latin (music) sounds and rhythms. The original UK cover of the album showed Bowie in a dress, an early example of his androgynous androgyny appearance. In the US, the album was originally released in a cartoonish cover that did not feature Bowie.


His next record, Hunky Dory in 1971, saw the partial return of the fey pop singer of "Space Oddity", with light fare such as the droll "Kooks Kooks (song) ". Elsewhere, the album explored more serious themes on tracks such as "Oh! You Pretty Things" (a song taken to UK number twelve by Herman's Hermits' Peter Noone in 1971), the semi-autobiographical "The Bewlay Brothers", and the Buddhist Buddhism -influenced "Quicksand Quicksand (David Bowie song) ". Lyrically, the young songwriter also paid unusually direct homage to his influences with "Song for Bob Dylan", "Andy Warhol Andy Warhol (David Bowie song) ", and "Queen Bitch", which Bowie's somewhat cryptic liner notes indicate as a Velvet Underground pastiche. As with the single "Changes Changes (David Bowie song) ", Hunky Dory was not a big hit but it laid the groundwork for the move that would shortly lift Bowie into the first rank of stars, giving him four top-ten albums and eight top ten singles in the UK in eighteen months between 1972 and 1973.

Bowie further explored his androgynous persona in June 1972 with the seminal concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which presents a world destined to end in five years and tells the story of the ultimate rock star, Ziggy Stardust. The album's sound combined the hard rock elements of The Man Who Sold the World with the lighter experimental rock of Hunky Dory and the fast-paced glam rock pioneered by Marc Bolan's T. Rex T. Rex (band) . Many of the album's songs have become rock classics, including "Ziggy Stardust Ziggy Stardust (song) ," "Moonage Daydream," "Rock & Roll Suicide" and "Suffragette City."

The Ziggy Stardust character became the basis for Bowie's first large-scale tour beginning in 1972, where he donned his famous flaming red mullet mullet (haircut) and wild outfits, designed by Kansai Yamamoto. The tour featured a three-piece band representing The Spiders from Mars: Mick Ronson on guitar, Trevor Bolder on bass, and Woody Woodmansey on drums. This was Bowie’s first tour to visit the US, making his first appearance on 22 September 1972 at Music Hall in Cleveland Cleveland, Ohio , Ohio. The album made number five in the UK on the strength of the number ten placing of the single "Starman Starman (song) ". Their success made Bowie a star, and soon the six-month-old Hunky Dory eclipsed Ziggy Stardust, when it peaked at number three on the UK chart. At the same time the non-album single "John, I’m Only Dancing" (not released in the US until 1979) peaked at UK number twelve, and "All the Young Dudes All the Young Dudes (song) ", a song he had given to, and produced for, Mott the Hoople, made UK number three.

Around the same time Bowie began promoting and producing his rock and roll heroes, two of whom he met at the po***r New York hangout Max's Kansas City: former Velvet Underground singer Lou Reed, whose solo breakthrough Transformer Transformer (album) was produced by Bowie and Ronson; and Iggy Pop, whose band, The Stooges, signed with Bowie's management, MainMan Productions, to record their third album, Raw Power. Though he was not present for the tracking of the album, Bowie later performed its much-debated mix Audio mixing (recorded music) . Bowie sang back-up vocals on both Reed's Transformer Transformer (album) , and Iggy's The Idiot The Idiot (album) .

The Spiders From Mars came together again on Aladdin Sane, released in April 1973 and his first number one album in the UK. Described by Bowie as "Ziggy goes to America", all the new songs were written on ship, bus or trains during the first leg of his US Ziggy Stardust tour. The album's cover, featuring Bowie shirtless with Ziggy hair and a red, black, and blue lightning bolt across his face, has been described as being as "startling as rock covers ever got." Aladdin Sane included the UK number two hit "The Jean Genie", the UK number three hit "Drive-In Saturday", and a rendition of The Rolling Stones' "Let's Spend the Night Together". Mike Garson joined Bowie to play piano on this album, and his solo on the title track Aladdin Sane (song) has been cited as one of the album's highlights.

Bowie's later Ziggy shows, which included songs from both Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane, as well as a few earlier tracks like "Changes Changes (David Bowie song) " and "The Width of a Circle", were ultra-theatrical affairs filled with shocking stage moments, such as Bowie stripping down to a sumo wrestling sumo loincloth or simulating oral *** 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. His announcement—"Of all the shows on this tour, this particular show will remain with us the longest, because not only is it the last show of the tour, but it's the last show that we'll ever do. Thank you."—was preserved in a live recording of the show, filmed by D. A. Pennebaker and belatedly released under the title Ziggy Stardust - The Motion Picture in 1983 after many years circulating as an audio bootleg.

Pin Ups, a collection of covers of his 1960s favourites, was released in October 1973, spawning a UK number three hit in "Sorrow Sorrow (song) " and itself peaking at number one, making David Bowie the best-selling act of 1973 in the UK. By this time, Bowie had broken up the Spiders from Mars and was attempting to move on from his Ziggy persona. Bowie's own back catalogue was now highly sought: The Man Who Sold the World had been re-released in 1972 along with the second David Bowie album (Space Oddity). Hunky Dory's "Life on Mars? Life on Mars (song) " was released as a single in 1973 and made number three in the UK, the same year Bowie's novelty record from 1967, "The Laughing Gnome", hit number six.


1974–76: Soul, R&B, and The Thin White Duke



1974 saw the release of another ambitious album, Diamond Dogs, with a spoken word introduction and a multi-part song suite ("Sweet Thing Sweet Thing (David Bowie song) /Candidate Candidate (David Bowie song) /Sweet Thing (reprise)"). Diamond Dogs was the product of two distinct ideas: a musical based on a wild future in a post-apocalyptic apocalypse city, and setting George Orwell's 1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four to music. Bowie also made plans to develop a Diamond Dogs movie, but didn't get very far. Bowie had originally planned on writing a musical to 1984, but his interest waned after encountering difficulties in licensing the novel. He used some of the songs he had written for the project on Diamond Dogs. The album—and an NBC television special, The 1980 Floor Show, broadcast at around the same time—demonstrated Bowie headed toward the genre of soul soul (music) /funk music, the track "1984 1984 (song) " being a prime example. The album spawned the hits "Rebel Rebel" (UK number five) and "Diamond Dogs Diamond Dogs (song) " (UK number twenty-one), and itself went to number one in the UK, making him the best-selling act of that country for the second year in a row. In the US, Bowie achieved his first major commercial success as the album went to number five.

To follow on the release of the album, Bowie launched a massive Diamond Dogs tour in North America from June to December 1974. Choreographed by Toni Basil, and lavishly produced with theatrical special effects, the high-budget stage production broke with contemporary standard practice for rock concerts by featuring no encores. It was filmed by Alan Yentob for the documentary Cracked Actor. The documentary seemed to confirm the rumours of his cocaine abuse, featuring a pasty and emaciated Bowie nervously sniffing in the backseat of a car and claiming that there was a fly in his milk. Bowie commented that the resulting live album, David Live, ought to have been called "David Bowie Is Alive and Well and Living Only In Theory," presumably in reference to his addled and frenetic psychological state during this period. Nevertheless the album solidified his status as a superstar, going number two in the UK and number eight in the US. It also spawned a UK number ten hit in a cover of "Knock on Wood Knock on Wood (song) ". After the opening leg of the tour, Bowie mostly jettisoned the elaborate sets. Then, when the tour resumed after a summer break in Philadelphia Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for recording new material, the Diamond Dogs sound no longer seemed apt. Bowie cancelled seven dates and made changes to the band, which returned to the road in October as the Philly Dogs tour.

For Ziggy Stardust fans who had not discerned the soul and funk strains already apparent in Bowie's recent work, the "new" sound was considered a sudden and jolting step. 1975's Young Americans Young Americans (album) was Bowie's definitive exploration of Philly soul Philadelphia soul —though he himself referred to the sound ironically as "plastic soul." It contained his first number one hit in the US, "Fame Fame (David Bowie song) ", co-written with Carlos Alomar and John Lennon (who also contributed backing vocals). It was based on a riff Alomar had developed while covering The Flares' 1961 doo-wop classic "Foot Stompin'", which Bowie's band had taken to playing live during the Philly Dogs period. One of the backing vocalists on the album is a young Luther Vandross, who also co-wrote some of the material for Young Americans. The song "Win Win (David Bowie song) " featured a hypnotic guitar riff later taken by Beck for the track/live staple "Debra Debra (song) " off his Midnite Vultures album. Despite Bowie's unashamed recognition of the shallowness of his "plastic soul," he did earn the bona fide distinction of being one of the few white artists to be invited to appear on the po***r "Soul Train." Another violently paranoid appearance on ABC's American Broadcasting Company The Dick Cavett Show (1974 5 December) seemed to confirm rumours of Bowie's heavy cocaine use at this time. Young Americans was the album that cemented Bowie's stardom in the US; though only peaking there at number nine, as opposed to the number five placing of Diamond Dogs, the album stayed on the charts almost twice as long. At the same time, the album achieved number two in the UK while a re-issue of his old single "Space Oddity" became his first number one hit in the UK, only a few months after "Fame" had achieved the same in the US. Around this time, Bowie performed with Cher on her second variety tv program, The Cher Show doing a medley of his songs and po***r hits, as well as a version of his song Fame Fame (David Bowie song) .

Station to Station (1976) featured a darker version of this soul persona, called "The Thin White Duke". Visually the figure was an extension of Thomas Jerome Newton, the character Bowie portrayed in The Man Who Fell to Earth The Man Who Fell to Earth (film) . Station to Station was a transitional album, prefiguring the Krautrock and synthesiser music of his next releases, while further developing the funk and soul music of Young Americans. By this time, Bowie had become heavily dependent on drugs, particularly cocaine; many critics have attributed the chopped rhythms and emotional detachment of the record to the influence of the drug, to which Bowie claimed to have been introduced in America. Bowie refused to relinquish control of a satellite, booked for a worldwide broadcast of a live appearance preceding the release of Station to Station, at the request of the Spanish Government, who wished to put out a live feed regarding the death of Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco. His sanity—by his own later admission—became twisted from cocaine: he overdosed several times during the year. Additionally, Bowie was withering physically after having lost an alarming amount of weight.

Nonetheless, there was another large tour, the Isolar - 1976 Tour, which featured a starkly lit set and highlighted new songs such as the dramatic and lengthy title track Station to Station (song) , the ballads "Wild Is the Wind Wild Is the Wind (song) " and "Word on a Wing", and the funkier "TVC 15" and "Stay Stay (David Bowie song) ". The core band that coalesced around this album and tour—rhythm guitarist Alomar, bassist George Murray George Murray (musician) , and drummer Dennis Davis—would remain a stable unit through the 1970s. The tour was highly successful but also mired in political controversy. Bowie was quoted in Stockholm as saying that "Britain could benefit from a Fascist leader", and detained by customs in Eastern Europe for possessing Nazi Nazism paraphernalia. Matters came to a head in London on 2 May 1976, in what became known as the 'Victoria Station London Victoria station incident', when Bowie, arriving in an open-top Mercedes Mercedes-Benz convertible, 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, and later blamed his addictions and the character of The Thin White Duke for his troubles at this time.


1976–79: The Berlin era

Bowie's interest in the growing German music scene, as well as his drug addiction, prompted him to move to West Berlin to dry out and rejuvenate his career. Sharing an apartment in Schöneberg with his friend Iggy Pop, he co-produced three more of his own classic albums with Tony Visconti, while aiding Pop with his career. With Bowie as a co-writer and musician, Pop completed his first two solo albums, The Idiot The Idiot (album) and Lust for Life Lust for Life (album) . Bowie joined Pop's touring band in the spring, simply playing keyboard and singing backing vocals. The group performed in the UK, Europe, and the US from March to April 1977.

The brittle sound of Station to Station proved a precursor to Low Low (album) , the first of three albums that became known as the "Berlin Trilogy". Partly influenced by the Krautrock sound of Kraftwerk and Neu! Bowie journeyed to Neunkirchen Neunkirchen-Seelscheid near Cologne to meet the famed German producer Conny Plank. The album provided him with a surprise number three hit in the UK when the BBC picked up the first single, "Sound and Vision", as its 'coming attractions' theme music. The album was produced in 1976 and released in early 1977.

Much of the band were present for the first five days only, after which Eno, Alomar and Gardiner remained to play overdubs. By the time Bowie wrote and recorded the lyrics everybody but Visconti and studio engineers had departed. The next record, "Heroes", was similar in sound to Low, though slightly more accessible. The mood of these records fit the zeitgeist of the Cold War, symbolised by the divided city that provided its inspiration. The title track "Heroes" (song) , a story of two lovers who met at the Berlin Wall, is one of Bowie's most-covered songs.

In 1977, Bowie also appeared on the Granada music show Marc, hosted by his friend and fellow glam pioneer Marc Bolan of T. Rex T. Rex (band) , with whom he had regularly socialised and jammed before either achieved fame. He turned out to be the show's final guest, as Bolan was killed in a car crash shortly afterward. Bowie was one of many superstars who attended the funeral.


For Christmas 1977, Bowie joined Bing Crosby, of whom he was an ardent admirer, at the ATV Television Studio in Herts England to do "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy", a version of "Little Drummer Boy" with a new lyric. The resultant video in a Christmas seasonal setting was actually recorded during a late summer heatwave with the air conditioning breaking down. The two singers had originally met on Crosby's Christmas television special two years earlier (on the recommendation of Crosby's children—he had not heard of Bowie) and performed the song. One month after the record was completed, Crosby died. Five years later, the song would prove a worldwide festive hit, charting in the UK at number three on Christmas Day 1982. Bowie later remarked jokingly that he was afraid of being a guest artist, because "everyone I was going on with was kicking it", referring to Bolan and Crosby.

Bowie and his band embarked on an extensive world tour in 1978 (including his first concerts in Australia and New Zealand) which featured music from both Low and Heroes. A live album from the tour was released as Stage Stage (David Bowie album) the same year. Songs from both Low and Heroes were later converted to symphonies by minimalist composer Phillip Glass. 1978 was also the year that saw Bowie narrating Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf David Bowie Narrates Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf .

Lodger Lodger (album) (1979) was the final album in Bowie's so-called "Berlin Trilogy", or "triptych" as Bowie calls it. It featured the singles "Boys Keep Swinging", "DJ DJ (song) " and "Look Back in Anger Look Back in Anger (song) " and, unlike the two previous LPs LP album , did not contain any instrumentals. The style was a mix of New Wave New Wave music and world music, which included pieces such as "African Night Flight" and "Yassassin". A number of tracks were composed using the non-traditional Bowie/Eno composition techniques: "Boys Keep Swinging" was developed with the band members swapping their instruments while "Move On" contains the chords for an early Bowie composition, "All The Young Dudes", played backwards; the song "Red Money" took backing tracks from the Iggy Pop/David Bowie composition "Sister Midnight" from Pop's album The Idiot. This was Bowie's last album with Eno until 1. Outside 1. Outside (album) in 1995.


1980–89: From superstar to megastar

In 1980, Bowie's style retrogressed, integrating the lessons learnt on Low, Heroes, and Lodger while expanding upon them with chart success. Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) included the number one hit "Ashes to Ashes Ashes to Ashes (David Bowie song) ", featuring the textural work of guitar-synthesist Chuck Hammer, and revisiting the character of Major Tom from "Space Oddity". The imagery Bowie used in the song's music video gave international exposure to the underground New Romantic movement and, with many of the followers of this phase being devotees, 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 video, renowned as being one of the most innovative of all time.

While Scary Monsters utilised principles that Bowie had learned in the Berlin era, it was considered by critics to be far more direct musically and lyrically, reflecting the transformation Bowie had gone through during his time in Germany and Europe. By 1980 Bowie had divorced his wife Angie, stopped the drug use of the "Thin White Duke" era, and radically changed his concept of the way music should be written. The album had a hard rock edge that included conspicuous guitar contributions from King Crimson's Robert Fripp, The Who's Pete Townshend, and Television Television (band) 's Tom Verlaine.

In 1981, Queen Queen (band) released "Under Pressure", co-written and performed with Bowie. The song was a hit and became Bowie's third UK number one single. In the same year Bowie made a cameo appearance in the German movie Christiane F. Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo Christiane F. - Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo (film) , the real-life story of a 13 year-old girl in Berlin who becomes addicted to heroin and ends up prostituting herself. Bowie is credited with "special cooperation" in the credits and his music features prominently in the movie. The soundtrack was released in 1982 and contained a version of "Heroes Heroes (David Bowie song) " sung partially in German that had previously been included on the German pressing of its parent album. The same year Bowie appeared in the BBC's adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's play Baal Baal (play) . Coinciding with transmission of the film, a five-track EP Extended play of songs from the play was released as David Bowie in Bertolt Brecht's Baal Baal (EP) , recorded at Hansa by the Wall the previous September. It would mark Bowie’s final new release on RCA, as 1983 saw him change record labels from RCA to EMI America. In April 1982, Bowie released "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" with Giorgio Moroder, for director Paul Schrader's film Cat People Cat People (1982 film) .


Bowie scored his first truly commercial blockbuster with Let's Dance Let's Dance (David Bowie album) in 1983, a slick dance album co-produced by Chic's Chic (band) Nile Rodgers. The title track Let's Dance (David Bowie song) went to number one in the United States and United Kingdom. The album also featured the singles "Modern Love Modern Love (song) " and "China Girl China Girl (song) ", the latter causing something of a stir due to its suggestive promotional video. "China Girl" was a remake of a song which Bowie co-wrote several years earlier with Iggy Pop, who recorded it for The Idiot. In an interview by Kurt Loder, Bowie revealed that the motivation for recording "China Girl" was to help out his friend Iggy Pop financially, contributing to Bowie's history of support for musicians he admired. Let's Dance was also notable as a stepping stone for the career of the late Texan guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, who played on the album and was to have supported Bowie on the subsequent Serious Moonlight Tour. Vaughan, however, never joined the tour after various disputes with Bowie. Vaughan was replaced by the Bowie tour veteran Earl Slick. Frank and George Simms from The Simms Brothers Band appeared as backing vocalists for the tour.

Bowie's next album was originally planned to be a live album recorded on the Serious Moonlight Tour, but EMI demanded another studio album instead. The resulting album, 1984's Tonight Tonight (David Bowie album) , was also dance-oriented, featuring collaborations with Tina Turner and Iggy Pop, as well as various covers, including one of The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows". The album bore the transatlantic Top Ten hit "Blue Jean Blue Jean (song) " whose complete video — the 21-minute short film "Jazzin' for Blue Jean" - reflected Bowie's long-standing interest in combining music with drama. This video would win Bowie his only Grammy to date, for Best Short Form Music Video Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video . It also featured "Loving the Alien", a remix of which was a minor hit in 1985. The album also has a pair of dance rewrites of "Neighborhood Threat" and "Tonight Tonight (song) ", old songs Bowie wrote with Iggy Pop which had originally appeared on Lust for Life Lust for Life (album) .

In 1985, Bowie performed several of his greatest hits at Wembley Wembley Stadium (1923) for Live Aid. At the end of his set, which comprised "Rebel Rebel", "TVC 15", "Modern Love" and 'Heroes', he introduced a film of the Ethiopian famine, for which the event was raising funds, which was set to the song "Drive Drive (The Cars song) " by The Cars. At the event, the video to a fundraising single was premièred – Bowie performing a duet with Mick Jagger on a version of "Dancing in the Street Dancing in the Street (cover) ", which quickly went to number one on release. In the same year Bowie worked with the Pat Metheny Group on the song "This Is Not America", which was featured in the film The Falcon and the Snowman. This song was the centrepiece of the album, a collaboration intended to underline the espionage thriller's central themes of alienation and disaffection.


In 1986, Bowie contributed several songs to as well as acted in the film Absolute Beginners Absolute Beginners (film) . The movie was not well reviewed but Bowie's theme song rose to number two in the UK charts. He also took a role in the 1986 Jim Henson film Labyrinth Labyrinth (film) , as Jareth, the Goblin King who steals the baby brother of a girl named Sarah (played by Jennifer Connelly), in order to turn him into a goblin. Bowie wrote five songs for the film, the script of which was partially written by Monty Python's Terry Jones.

Bowie's final solo album of the 80s was 1987's Never Let Me Down, where he ditched the light sound of his two earlier albums, instead offering harder rock with an industrial industrial music /techno dance edge. The album, which peaked at number six in the UK, contained hit singles "Day-In, Day-Out Day-In Day-Out ", "Time Will Crawl", and "Never Let Me Down Never Let Me Down (song) ". Bowie himself later described it as "my nadir" and "an awful album".

Bowie decided to tour again in 1987, supporting the Never Let Me Down album. The Glass Spider Tour was preceded by nine promotional press shows before the 86-concert tour actually started on 30 May 1987. In addition to the actual band, that included Peter Frampton on lead guitar, five dancers appeared on stage for almost the entire duration of each concert. Taped pieces of dialogue were also performed by Bowie and the dancers in the middle of songs, creating an overtly theatrical effect. Several visual gimmicks were also recreated from Bowie's earlier tours. Critics of the tour described it as overproduced and claimed it pandered to then-current stadium rock arena rock trends in its special effects and dancing. However, fans that saw the shows from the Glass Spider Tour were treated to many of Bowie's classics and rarities, in addition to the newer material.

In August 1988, Bowie portrayed Pontius Pilate in the Martin Scorsese film The Last Temptation of Christ The Last Temptation of Christ (film) .

The ambitious, quasi-industrial industrial music release Outside Outside (album) (1995), conceived as the first volume in a subsequently abandoned non-linear narrative of art and murder, reunited him with Brian Eno. The album introduced the characters of one of Bowie's short stories, and achieved chart success in both the UK and US. The album and its singles put Bowie back into the mainstream of rock music. In September 1995, Bowie began the Outside Tour with Gabrels returning as guitarist. In a move that was equally lauded and ridiculed by Bowie fans and critics, Bowie chose Nine Inch Nails as the tour partner; Trent Reznor also contributed a remix of the Outside song "The Hearts Filthy Lesson" for its single release. On 17 January 1996, Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the eleventh annual induction ceremony.

Receiving some of the strongest critical response since Let's Dance was Earthling Earthling (album) (1997), which incorporated experiments in British jungle and drum 'n' bass drum and bass and included a single released over the Internet, called "Telling Lies"; other singles included "Little Wonder" and "Dead Man Walking Dead Man Walking (song) ". There was a corresponding world tour. Bowie's track in the Paul Verhoeven film Showgirls, "I'm Afraid of Americans" was remixed by Trent Reznor for a single release. The video's heavy rotation (also featuring Reznor) contributed to the song's 16-week stay in the US Billboard Hot 100.
Among their earliest work together in this period, was a reworking of Placebo's Placebo (band) track "Without You I'm Nothing Without You I'm Nothing (Placebo song) ", from the album of the same name, in which Visconti oversaw the additional production required when Bowie's harmonised vocal was added to the original version for a strictly limited edition single release.

In 1999 Bowie made the soundtrack for Omikron Omikron: The Nomad Soul , a computer game. Bowie and his wife, Iman Iman (model) , made appearances as characters in the game. That same year, re-recorded tracks from Omikron and new music was released in the album 'hours...' 'hours...' (album) featured "What's Really Happening", with lyrics by Alex Grant, the winner of Bowie's "Cyber Song Contest" Internet competition. This album was Bowie's exit from heavy electronica, with an emphasis on more live instruments.

Plans surfaced after the release of 'hours...' for an album titled Toy Toy (David Bowie album) , which would feature new versions of some of Bowie's earliest pieces as well as three new songs. Sessions for the album commenced in 2000, but the album was never released, leaving a number of tracks, some as yet unheard, on the editing floor. Bowie and Visconti continued collaboration with the production of a new album of completely original songs instead. The result of the sessions was the 2002 album Heathen Heathen (album) , which had a dark atmospheric sound, and was Bowie's biggest chart success in recent years.

In October 2001, Bowie opened The Concert for New York City, a charity event for to benefit the victims of the 11 September terrorist attacks, with a minimalist performance of Simon & Garfunkel's "America America (Simon & Garfunkel song) , followed by a full band performance of "Heroes".

2002 saw Bowie curate the annual Meltdown Meltdown (festival) festival in London. Amongst the acts selected by Bowie to perform were Phillip Glass, Television Television (band) and The Polyphonic Spree. Bowie himself played a show at the Royal Festival Hall which notably included a rare performance of his experimental opus Low Low (album) in its entirety.

In 2003, a report in the Sunday Express Express (newspaper) named Bowie as the second-richest entertainer in the UK (behind Sir Paul McCartney), with an estimated fortune of £510 million. However, the 2005 Sunday Times Rich List credited him with a little over £100 million.

In September 2003, Bowie released a new album, Reality Reality (David Bowie album) , and announced a world tour. 'A Reality Tour' was the best-selling tour of the following year. However, it was cut short after Bowie suffered chest pain while performing on stage at the Hurricane Festival in Scheeßel, Germany, on 25 June 2004. Originally thought to be a pinched nerve in his shoulder, the pain was later diagnosed as an acutely blocked artery; an emergency angioplasty was performed at St Georg Hospital in Hamburg by Dr Karl Heinz Kuck.

He was discharged in early July 2004 and continued to spend time recovering. Bowie later admitted he had suffered a minor heart attack, resulting from years of heavy smoking and touring. The tour was cancelled for the time being, with hopes that he would go back on tour by August, though this did not materialise. He recuperated back in New York City.

In October 2004, Bowie released a live DVD of the tour, entitled A Reality Tour A Reality Tour (film) of his performances in Dublin on 22 and 23 November 2003, which included songs spanning the full length of Bowie's career, although mostly focusing on his more recent albums.

Still recuperating from his operation, Bowie worked off-stage and relaxed from studio work for the first time in several years. In 2004, a duet of his classic song "Changes Changes (David Bowie song) " with Butterfly Boucher appeared in Shrek 2. The soundtrack for the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou featured David Bowie songs performed in Portuguese by cast member Seu Jorge (who adapted the lyrics to make them relevant to the film's story). Most of the David Bowie songs featured in the film were originally from David Bowie (debut album), Space Oddity, Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and Diamond Dogs. Bowie commented, "Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs acoustically in Portuguese I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with".

Despite hopes for a comeback, in 2005, Bowie announced that he had made no plans for any performances during the year. After a relatively quiet year, Bowie recorded the vocals for the song "(She Can) Do That", co-written by Brian Transeau, for the movie Stealth Stealth (movie) . Rumours flew about the possibility of a new album, but no announcements were made.

David Bowie finally returned to the stage on 8 September 2005, alongside Arcade Fire, for the US nationally televised event Fashion Rocks, his first gig since the heart attack. Bowie has shown interest in the Montreal band since he was seen at one of their shows in New York City nearly a year earlier. Bowie had requested the band to perform at the show, and together they performed the Arcade Fire's song "Wake Up" from their album Funeral Funeral (album) , as well as Bowie's own "Five Years" and "Life on Mars?". He joined them again on 15 September 2005, singing "Queen Bitch" and "Wake Up" from Central Park's Summerstage as part of the CMJ Music Marathon.

Bowie contributed back-up vocals for TV on the Radio's song "Province" from their album Return to Cookie Mountain. He made other occasional appearances, as in his commercial with Snoop Dogg for XM Satellite Radio. He appeared on Danish alt-rockers Kashmir's Kashmir (band) 2005 release, No Balance Palace, sharing lead vocals with Kashmir singer Kasper Eistrup on the song "The Cynic". The album was produced by Tony Visconti, who also arranged the contact. No Balance Palace also featured a spoken word performance by Lou Reed, making it the second project involving both Bowie and Reed in two years, since Reed's 2003 The Raven The Raven (Lou Reed album) .

On 8 February 2006, David Bowie was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In November, Bowie performed at the Black Ball in New York for the Keep a Child Alive Foundation alongside his wife, Iman Iman (model) , and Alicia Keys. He duetted with Keys on "Changes", and also performed "Wild is the Wind" and "Fantastic Voyage".

For 2006, Bowie once again announced a break from performance, but he made a surprise guest appearance at David Gilmour's 29 May 2006 concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He sang "Arnold Layne" and "Comfortably Numb", closing the concert. The former performance was released, on 26 December 2006, as a single.

In May 2007, it was announced that Bowie would curate the High Line Festival in the abandoned railway park in New York called the High Line High Line (New York City) where he would select various musicians and artists to perform.

Bowie contributed backing vocals to two tracks - "Falling Down" and "Fannin' Street" - on Scarlett Johansson's 2008 album of Tom Waits covers, Anywhere I Lay My Head.

On 29 June 2008, Bowie released a new compilation entitled iSELECT. This CD was a collection of personal favourites compiled by Bowie himself and was available exclusively as a free gift with the British newspaper The Mail On Sunday. The compilation is notable in that it only contained one major hit single, "Life on Mars?", and concentrated on lesser-known album tracks.

In 2009, EMI released the original multitrack recordings of Space Oddity and held a fan contest to create remixes from the material. The contest was held in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the album's release.

On 25 September 2009, a double-album of the 2003 A Reality Tour was announced. The album was subsequently released as planned in January 2010, quickly becoming a 'bestseller' for that month on music download portals such as iTunes.Bowie's first major film role in The Man Who Fell to Earth The Man Who Fell to Earth (film) in 1976, earned acclaim. Bowie's character Thomas Jerome Newton is an alien from a planet that is dying from a lack of water. In Just a Gigolo Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo (1979), an Anglo-German co-production directed by David Hemmings, Bowie played the lead role of a Prussian officer Paul von Pryzgodski returning from World War I who is discovered by a Baroness (Marlene Dietrich) and put into her Gigolo Stable.

In the 1980s, Bowie continued with film roles and also starred in the Broadway production of The Elephant Man The Elephant Man (play) (1980–81). In 1982, he made a cameo appearance as himself in Christiane F., focusing on a young girl's drug addiction. Bowie also starred in The Hunger The Hunger (film) (1983), a revisionist vampire movie with Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. In the film, Bowie and Deneuve are vampire lovers, with her having made him a vampire centuries ago. While she is truly ageless, he discovers to his horror that although immortal, he can still age and rapidly becomes a pathetic, monstrous husk as the film progresses. In Nagisa Oshima's film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), 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. Another famous musician, Ryuichi Sakamoto, played the camp commandant who begins to be undermined by Celliers' bizarre behavior. Bowie had a cameo as The Shark in Yellowbeard, a 1983 pirate comedy made by some of the members of Monty Python, and a small part as Colin the hit man in the 1985 film Into the Night Into the Night (film) . During this time Bowie was also asked to play the villain Max Zorin in the James Bond film A View to a Kill (1985), but turned down the role, stating that "I didn't want to spend five months watching my stunt double fall off mountains."

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence impressed some critics. His next major film project, the rock musical Absolute Beginners Absolute Beginners (film) (1986), was both a critical and box office disappointment. The same year he appeared in the Jim Henson cult classic, the dark fantasy Labyrinth Labyrinth (film) (1986), playing Jareth, the king of the goblins. Jareth is a powerful, mysterious creature who has an antagonistic yet strangely flirtatious relationship with Sarah (Jennifer Connelly), the film's teenage heroine. Appearing in heavy make-up and a mane-like wig, Bowie sang a variety of new songs specially composed for the film's soundtrack. Bowie also played a sympathetic Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ The Last Temptation of Christ (film) (1988). He was briefly considered for the role of The Joker Joker (comics) by Tim Burton and Sam Hamm for 1989's Batman Batman (1989 film) . Hamm recalls "David Bowie would be kind of neat because he's very funny when he does sinister roles". The role ended up going to Jack Nicholson.

Bowie portrayed a disgruntled restaurant employee opposite Rosanna Arquette in the 1991 film The Linguini Incident, and played mysterious FBI agent Phillip Jeffries in David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992). He took the small but pivotal role of Andy Warhol in Basquiat, artist/director Julian Schnabel's 1996 biopic of the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. In 1998 Bowie also co-starred in an Italian film called Gunslinger's Revenge (renamed from the original Il Mio West). However, it was not released in the United States until 2005. In it he plays the most feared gunslinger in the region.

Before appearing in The Hunger The Hunger (serial) , a TV horror serial based on the 1983 movie, Bowie was invited by musician Goldie to play the aging gangster Bernie in Andrew Goth's Brighton Rock Brighton Rock (film) inspired movie, Everybody Loves Sunshine. He played the title role in the 2000 film, Mr. Rice's Secret, in which he played the neighbour of a terminally ill twelve year old. In 2001, Bowie appeared as himself in the film Zoolander, volunteering himself to be a walkoff judge between Ben Stiller's Ben Stiller character Zoolander, and Owen Wilson's Owen Wilson character, Hansel.

In 2006, Bowie portrayed Nikola Tesla alongside Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman in The Prestige The Prestige (film) , directed by Christopher Nolan. It follows the bitter competition between two magicians around the turn of the century. Bowie has voice-acted in the animated movie Arthur and the Minimoys (known as Arthur and the Invisibles in the US) as the powerful villain Maltazard Emperor Malthazar . He also appeared as himself in an episode of Extras Extras (TV series) . Bowie (in the context of the show) improvised and sang a song mocking the main character Andy Millman, played by Ricky Gervais. He also lent his voice to the character "Lord Royal Highness" in the SpongeBob SquarePants SpongeBob SquarePants (character) TV movie SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis. His latest project is a supporting role as Ogilvie in the new film, August August (film) , directed by Austin Chick (best known for writing and directing the 2002 romantic drama XX/XY), and starring Josh Hartnett and Rip Torn (with whom he also worked on The Man Who Fell to Earth).at the premiere of Jones' directorial debut Moon Moon (film) .
Bowie met his first wife, Angela Bowie, in 1969. According to Bowie, they were "*** the same bloke". Angie's sense of fashion and outrage has been credited as a significant influence in Bowie's early career and rise to fame. They married on 19 March 1970 at Bromley Register Office in Beckenham Lane, Bromley, Kent, England where she permanently took his adopted last name. Their only son was born on 30 May 1971 and named Zowie Duncan Jones (Zowie later preferred to be known as Joe/Joey, although now he has reverted to his legal birth name - "Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones"). They separated after eight years of marriage and divorced on 8 February 1980, in Switzerland. The marriage has been cited as one of convenience for both.and Bowie in 2009.
Bowie confirmed his bi***uality in an interview with Melody Maker in January 1972, a move coinciding with the first shots in his campaign for stardom as Ziggy Stardust The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars .}}In the 1970s, Bowie caused controversy for some politically radical comments, saying that Britain could benefit from a fascist leader and that Adolf Hitler was 'the first super-star'. Such comments were a major source of stated motivation behind the Rock Against Racism group.

In September 2007, he made a contribution of $10,000 to the NAACP for the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund to help with legal bills of six black teenagers arrested and charged with crimes related to their involvement in the assault of a white teenager in Jena, Louisiana.Bowie is a multi-instrumentalist, singing vocals as well as playing electric, acoustic, and twelve string Twelve-string guitar guitar, keyboards, saxophone, piano, harpsichord, harmonica, synthesiser, Mellotron, Stylophone, xylophone, vibraphone, Koto Koto (musical instrument) , drums, percussions.*David Bowie David Bowie (album) (1967)
*Space Oddity Space Oddity (album) (1969)
*The Man Who Sold the World The Man Who Sold the World (album) (1970)
*Hunky Dory (1971)
*The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
*Aladdin Sane (1973)
*Pin Ups (1973)
*Diamond Dogs (1974)
*Young Americans Young Americans (album) (1975)
*Station to Station (1976)
*Low Low (album) (1977)
*"Heroes" (1977)
*Lodger Lodger (album) (1979)
*Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980)
*Let's Dance Let's Dance (David Bowie album) (1983)
*Tonight Tonight (David Bowie album) (1984)
*Never Let Me Down (1987)
*Black Tie White Noise (1993)
*The Buddha of Suburbia The Buddha of Suburbia (soundtrack) (1993)
*Outside Outside (album) (1995)
*Earthling Earthling (album) (1997)
*'Hours...' (1999)
*Heathen Heathen (album) (2002)
*Reality Reality (David Bowie album) (2003)Bowie has previously declined the British honour Commander of the British Empire Order of the British Empire in 2000, and a knighthood in 2003.
 

 

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