David Bowie

Born: January 8, 1947
Brixton, London, England

After graduating early from prep school, David Jones went to work as a commercial artist. On the side, however, he was in a few mod bands as a saxophone player, including the King Bees and the Manish Boys. Changing his name to David Bowie after Davey Jones became a household name with the Monkees, he released a couple of insignificant singles. Determined to reach for inspiration to find himself, he went to such extreme measures as to briefly join a monastery, and he studied in a mime troupe, eventually forming his own mime troupe. The mime company, called Feathers, fizzled out after less than a year, and Bowie formed a group called Beckenham Arts Lab. Bowie signed with Mercury Records as a solo act and released Man of Words, Man of Music. And, even though his solo release was only supposed to finance the Beckenham Arts Lab, it produced a major hit with “Space Oddity”, and Bowie was convinced that he should pursue his music career. After touring with T. Rex, Bowie put out another solo album, entitled The Man Who Sold the World, which didn’t receive much attention. The follow-up album, Hunky Dory, also fell short. It was after this album, however, that Bowie began to experiment with his “alter ego”, Ziggy Stardust. Ziggy was supposed to be a space-aged androgynous rock star with bisexual tendancies, and Bowie played the part to the extreme. He released The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, which would help him break through in America. He was already a star in England, and this catapulted him to superstar status. He re-released “Space Oddity”, and this time it would hit the American Top 20. The following year, he released Aladdin Sane, as well as helping to produce three albums by other bands. The next Ziggy album release was Pin-Ups, which was followed by a surprise announcement that Ziggy was retiring from live performances, and the band was breaking up. He released a solo album under the name Davie Bowie, titled Diamond Dogs, in 1974. After the supporting tour for the album, which produced the hit “Rebel Rebel”, Bowie became enthralled with Philly soul music. He released David Live, which replicated his new sound called “plastic soul”. But, he found the soul sound more on his next album, Young Americans, which pummeled him into the spotlight with such hits as “Fame”. Next came Station to Station, which was just as popular as the previous album, although it as a bit darker and edgier. Bowie’s drug use was out of control at this point. He often indulged in cocaine, and began to lose touch with reality. It was obvious in England when he gave a Nazi salute to a crowd of adoring fans that he had gone too far. Controversy ensued, and Bowie left England for Berlin, where he moved in with producer Brian Eno and worked. In Berlin, he was able to get off cocaine and study art. Bowie was also into the electronic club music that prevailed in Germany at the time. He released Low in 1977, which was a mixture of pop and electronic music. He then released Heroes in the same year, which was much the same style of music. Critics didn’t know what to think of this new sound, and the albums didn’t sell very well, but they would end up being two of the most influential albums of the late seventies. He was also constantly producing other artists’ albums as well as his own, and he found time in between to tour as Iggy Pop’s keyboardist. He continued to put out albums, but was also getting parts in movies such as Just a Gigolo, Christine F, and the Hunger. In the early eighties, however, he signed with EMI and released Let’s Dance, which featured the work of a brilliant young unknown guitarist named Stevie Ray Vaughan. This album spun such hits as “China Girl” and the title track. After a couple of somewhat disappointing albums, Bowie seemed to begin concentrating on film again, as he accepted roles in Labyrinth, Absolute Beginners, and Into the the Night, none of which did too well at the box office. In 1995, Bowie finally scored again with Outside, which he supported with a tour along with Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails, although the success didn’t last. Generally, Bowie keeps releasing albums that are not popular with young people or his old fans.

Instruments Played / Skills:
Songwriter Vocals Guitar Piano Synthesizer Organ Saxophone Clarinet Producer Backup Vocals Engineer

1990's Alternative Electronica British Invasion Glam Rock Progressive Rock Stadium Rock

Bands That David Bowie Has Played For:
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders Tin Machine

David Bowie Has Worked With:
Adrian Belew John Lennon Mick Jagger Iggy Pop Freddie Mercury

David Bowie Was Influenced By:
Syd Barrett

Artists That Were Influenced By David Bowie:
Wes Borland Phil Collen Eric Dover Martin Fry Kirk Hammett Daniel House Terry Lee Miall Lewis Partridge Iggy Pop Trent Reznor Robert Smith Scott Weiland
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