David Bowie was born David Jones on 8th January 1947 in Brixton and died on 10th January 2016 at the age of 69 from liver cancer. The stage name “Bowie” came about for various reasons: Davy Jones, lead singer of the Monkees was up and coming at the time and he decided on “Bowie” because it was “the ultimate American knife”. Bowie declined two major British honorary titles: Commander and a Knighthood from the Queen.
Bowie had a very interesting and unusual look. Thin and androgynous, with crazy hairdos, flamboyant makeup, clothes and shoes. He is not only an icon of the music world but an enigma. He is quickly recognised with two distinctly different eyes, one pupil much bigger than the other which was caused a small fight when he was 15 over a girl when his eyeball was scratched after being punched leading to his pupil being constantly dilated. He apparently thanked his friend as his eyes shaped his identity and became intrinsic to his character.
David Bowie was not only a singer, but an actor and a painter and collector. He starred in 28 films including Labyrinth as the Goblin King, in Basquiat playing his friend Andy Warhol and The Man who Fell to Earth as an alien. Some of his favorite artists were Picasso and Micheal Ray Charles.
Bowie has had six number one singles in the UK – Space Oddity, Ashes to Ashes, Under Pressure (alongside Queen), Lets Dance, Heroes and Dancing in the Street (alongside Mick Jagger). Throughout his long career he had many different faces. Major Tom was a hedonistic astronaut featured in three songs, whilst Thin White Duke was an aristocrat that had fascist views was sleek, extremely thin and stylish. Ziggy Stardust was possibly his most famous alter-egos, featured in his album “Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust” was a red headed, egotistic demi-god, a promiscuous “messiah” with a desire to be a rock star with his Spiders from Mars. His clothes and makeup were influenced by A Clockwork Orange and Wild Boys, he was also interested in mime. Bowie later told newspapers that his Stardust alter ego “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.” Aladdin Sane was another famous alter ego, he was a more fantastic version of Ziggy, Aladdin Sane was Stardust at the height of his stardom.
Bowie wrote over 750 songs and is believed to have sold 140 million albums whilst alive. He performed around 5,000 times live. He was named by The Rolling Stone as 23rd in a list of best singers of all time (2004). He had many different styles throughout his career include glam-rock, folk-rock, electronic, soul – a unique take on RnB through Bowie´s eyes. He played guitar, saxophone, guitar, keyboard and mouth-harp among others. The last ever single Bing Crosby recorded was with Bowie who he didn’t know at the time and they sang a duet of “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth.” Bowie´s album “The Next Day” was recorded without anyone knowing about so it could be a surprise. He had a fear of tea due to an incident when he was younger and hated flying. He also had a long and hard struggle with cocaine abuse which caused high paranoia and a substantial weight loss, he stated it was not for “hedonistic” purposes as he didn’t go out much but for working for days on end.
His first marriage was to Mary Barnett and they had one child, Duncan Zowie Jones, who now is a director. His second wife was Iman, and he had another child with her, Alexandria Zahra Jones, in 2000. He also has a stepdaughter, Zulekha, from Iman´s frist marriage.
Bowie is regarded by many as one of the best and most influential singers of his time and although he passed away his name and music will be remembered and cherished.