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David Bowie Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (5) | Trivia (58) | Personal Quotes (45)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 8 January 1947Brixton, London, England, UK
Birth NameDavid Robert Haywood Jones
Nicknames The Thin White Duke
Ziggy Stardust
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

David Bowie is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of pop music. Born David Jones, he changed his name to Bowie in the 1960s, to avoid confusion with the then well-known Davy Jones (lead singer of The Monkees).

The 1960s were not a happy period for Bowie, who remained a struggling artist, awaiting his breakthrough. He dabbled in many different styles of music (without commercial success), and other art forms such as acting, mime, painting, and playwriting. He finally achieved his commercial breakthrough in 1969 with the song "Space Oddity," which was released at the time of the moon landing. Despite the fact that the literal meaning of the lyrics relates to an astronaut who is lost in space, this song was used by the BBC in their coverage of the moon landing, and this helped it become such a success. The album, which followed "Space Oddity," and the two, which followed (one of which included the song "The Man Who Sold The World," covered by Lulu and Nirvana) failed to produce another hit single, and Bowie's career appeared to be in decline. However, he made the first of many successful "comebacks" in 1972 with "Ziggy Stardust," a concept album about a space-age rock star. This album was followed by others in a similar vein, rock albums built around a central character and concerned with futuristic themes of Armageddon, gender dysfunction/confusion, as well as more contemporary themes such as the destructiveness of success and fame, and the dangers inherent in star worship. In the mid 1970s, Bowie was a heavy cocaine abuser and sometime heroin user. In 1975, he changed tack. Musically, he released "Young Americans," a soul (or plastic soul as he later referred to it) album. This produced his first number one hit in the US, "Fame." He also appeared in his first major film, The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). With his different-colored eyes and skeletal frame, he certainly looked the part of an alien. The following year, he released "Station to Station," containing some of the material he had written for the soundtrack to this film (which was not used). As his drug problem heightened, his behavior became more erratic. Reports of his insanity started to appear, and he continued to waste away physically. He fled back to Europe, finally settling in Berlin, where he changed musical direction again and recorded three of the most influential albums of all time, an electronic trilogy with Brian Eno "Low, Heroes and Lodger." Towards the end of the 1970s, he finally kicked his drug habit, and recorded the album many of his fans consider his best, the Japanese-influenced "Scary Monsters." Around this time, he played the Elephant Man on Broadway, to considerable acclaim.

The next few years saw something of a drop-off in his musical output as his acting career flourished, culminating in his acclaimed performance in Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983). In 1983, he recorded "Let's Dance," an album which proved an unexpected massive commercial success, and produced his second number 1 hit single in the US. The tour which followed, "Serious Moonlight," was his most successful ever. Faced with this success on a massive scale, Bowie apparently attempted to "repeat the formula" in the next two albums, with less success (and to critical scorn). Finally, in the late 1980s, he turned his back on commercial success and his solo career, forming the hard rock band, Tin Machine, who had a deliberate limited appeal. By now, his acting career was in decline. After the comparative failure of Labyrinth (1986), the movie industry appears to have decided that Bowie was not a sufficient name to be a lead actor in a major movie, and since that date, most of his roles have been cameos or glorified cameos. He himself also seems to have lost interest in movie acting. Tin Machine toured extensively and released two albums, with little critical or commercial success.

In 1992, Bowie again changed direction and re-launched his solo career with "Black Tie White Noise," a "wedding" album inspired by his recent marriage to Iman. To date, the 1990s have been kinder to Bowie than the late 1980s. He has released three albums to considerable critical acclaim and reasonable commercial success. In 1995, he renewed his working relationship with Brian Eno to record "Outside." After an initial hostile reaction from the critics, this album has now taken its place with his classic albums.

In 2003, Bowie released an album entitled 'Reality.' The Reality Tour began in November 2003 and, after great commercial success, was extended into July 2004. In June 2004, Bowie suffered a heart attack and the tour did not finish it's scheduled run.

After recovering, bowie did not release any new music, but did a little acting. In 2006, he played Tesla in The Prestige (2006) and had a small cameo in the series Extras (2005). In 2007, he did a cartoon voice in SpongeBob SquarePants (1999) playing Lord Royal Highness. He has not appeared in anything since 2008; however, after a ten year hiatus from recording, he released a new album called 'The Next Day.'

Bowie has influenced the course of popular music several times and influenced several generations of musicians. His promotional videos in the 1970s and 80s are regarded as ground-breaking, and as a live concert act, he is regarded as the most theatrical of them all.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Dara O'Kearney <daraok@iol.ie>

Spouse (2)

Iman (6 June 1992 - present) (1 child)
Angie Bowie (19 March 1970 - 8 February 1980) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (5)

His constantly changing appearance
His wide ranging vocals
His one permanently dilated pupil that gives him the appearance of different colored eyes
Known for having a different theme on almost every album
Lyrics with science fiction or fantasy themes

Trivia (58)

His eyes are both blue. However, one pupil is permanently dilated due to a fight, and as a result, one eye looks darker than the other.
In 1968 while he was still a struggling artist, Bowie wrote some English lyrics to a French song titled "Comme d'Habitude" ("As Usual"). His version, "Even a Fool Learns to Love", never did get recorded, but when the French melody caught the attention of Paul Anka, he reworked the lyrics and the song became "My Way". Of course, when Frank Sinatra recorded "My Way" his way, it turned to gold.
Has one son in 1971 with his then-wife Angie Bowie, originally named Zowie - who later changed it to Joe and who is now known as Duncan Jones.
(August 15, 2000) Daughter, with Iman, Alexandria Zahra Jones born.
In a magazine interview, he stated that he met his first wife when they were dating the same man.
Has family roots in West Wales.
In his composition "Slip Away", on his album "Heathen", he makes cryptic references to The Uncle Floyd Show (1974), a program popular in the late 1970s and 1980s in the New York City area. Broadcast on a local television station, it featured two puppets, "Oogie" and "Bones Boy", mentioned in the song, as well as the host, "Uncle" Floyd Vivino.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and the American Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005.
Contributes the song "Loving the Alien" to the War Child album "Hope".
His 1972 album "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" came 8th in Classic Rock Magazine's list of the 30 greatest concept albums of all time. [March 2003]
Has performed with (on separate occasions) Queen, Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, Al B. Sure!, Tina Turner, Annie Lennox, Nine Inch Nails and Bing Crosby.
Something that he and actor John Hurt have in common is that they have both played the Elephant Man.
Consistently listed as one of the richest British born pop stars in the world. Heat magazine listed his earnings for the year 2001 at over $30 million.
Turned down the role of Max Zorin for the James Bond film A View to a Kill (1985), citing his lack of enthusiasm for recent Bond villains.
His song "Life on Mars" was covered by Marillion frontman Steve Hogarth and the H Band on the album "Live Spirit: Live Body" (released 2002).
Cites Little Richard as his first musical influence.
He declined the royal honor of Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000, and turned down a knighthood in 2003.
His song "Five Years" was covered by former Marillion singer Fish on his 1993 album "Songs from the Mirror".
In a 1983 interview with Rolling Stone, he revealed that his bisexuality was really a sham. He claimed he made the story up to create more mystery about himself.
Took the pseudonym "David Bowie" to keep himself from being confused with Davy Jones of The Monkees.
(June 25, 2004) Had an emergency angioplasty in Germany while on his current tour. The remainder of the tour was obviously cancelled.
Has recorded with the late Lou Reed.
He can play basically any kind of instrument, even performing the excellent sax solo at the end of "Heroes". Although a talented rhythm guitarist, the one aspect of music Bowie finds himself lacking in is as a lead guitarist.
He was voted the 39th Greatest Artist in Rock 'n' Roll by Rolling Stone.
Turned down the role of Captain Hook in Hook (1991), which went to Dustin Hoffman.
Underwent triple heart bypass surgery following a heart attack. [July 2004]
His son, Duncan Jones, was his best man at his 1992 wedding to Iman.
His son is currently studying at a film school in the United Kingdom.
He was loosely the basis for the film Velvet Goldmine (1998).
Sang a duet with Kasper Eistrup on the album "No Balance Palace" by the Danish rock band Kashmir.
Is credited as himself in Zoolander (2001). He is the judge of the fashion "walk-off" between Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller.
He was the first major recording artist to release a song only on the Internet.
Mentioned in the song "Life Is a Rock But the Radio Rolled Me" by Reunion.
Winner of the British Phonographic Industry Award for British Male Solo Artist in 1984 following the success of his multi-million selling album "Let's Dance".
Winner of the 1996 Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution.
Gave up his 50 cigarettes a day smoking habit in 2004.
In November 1997, Business Age magazine reported his net worth as being over $900 million, surpassing even that of fellow British musician Paul McCartney, making him Britain's richest rock star. In 1999, Reuters placed his net worth at roughly $917 million. In 2003, the Sunday Express claimed his net worth was still in the $900 million (£510 million) range but that this placed him second to Paul McCartney. However, in 2005, the Sunday Times Rich List pegged his fortunes at roughly $185 million (£100 million).
Plays 14 different instruments.
Has played Serbian/American scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (2006).
He was originally supposed to play Max Zorin in A View to a Kill (1985), but the role went to Christopher Walken instead. Many years later he admitted, "It was simply a terrible script and I saw little reason for spending so long on something that bad, that workmanlike. And I told them so. I don't think anyone had turned down a major role in a Bond before. It really didn't go down too well at all. They were very tetchy about it.".
Ranked #12 on VH1's 100 Sexiest Artists.
Ranked #7 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Rock & Roll.
He allegedly declined British knighthood in 2003 for his services to music.
Considers "Tonight" (released in 1984) and "Never Let Me Down" (released in 1987) to be his weakest albums.
Resides in London, England and New York City.
Has appeared in Bing Crosby's last television show before his death, a Christmas special taped in London that aired after Crosby's death in December 1977. It is memorable for Crosby and Bowie singing a duet of "The Little Drummer Boy": Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas (1977).
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 12, 1997.
Early in his career, Bowie was once snubbed by The Beatles' Apple record label.
Suffers from fear of flying (Aviophobia).
Asked Stevie Ray Vaughan to play guitar on the album "Let's Dance" after seeing Double Trouble perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
The Sunday Times list estimated his net worth at $164 million.
His song "Heroes" was recorded by Peter Gabriel on his album "Scratch My Back", released in 2010. It was a very different arrangement from Bowie's original, with Gabriel's voice accompanied only by orchestral instruments.
In 1969, he starred in a black-and-white Lyons Maid ice cream commercial directed by Ridley Scott. (The slogan was: "The pop ice cream. Nine pence.") In 1983, Bowie starred in The Hunger (1983) directed by Ridley's brother Tony Scott.
He went through a heroin addiction, which resulted in him blacking out and unable to account for his own behavior for much of the mid-1970s. His song "Ashes to Ashes" documents his struggles with drugs.
Was good friends with the late Freddie Mercury and remains friends with Elton John, both of whom were his big chart rivals in the 1970s and 1980s.
He was awarded Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by French culture minister Catherine Trautmann in 1999.
Inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in June 2013.

Personal Quotes (45)

[on whether he thinks he is a good actor] I took you in, didn't I? I rest my make-up case.
[during an interview about his new album in 1999] I have nothing to say about the new album. Can I go now?
Talking about art is like dancing about architecture.
I rate Morrissey as one of the best lyricists in Britain. For me, he's up there with Bryan Ferry.
[on receiving an honorary degree from Boston's Berklee College of Music] Any list of advice I have to offer to a musician always ends with, "If it itches, go and see a doctor.".
I know about Kylie [Kylie Minogue] and Robbie [Robbie Williams] and Pop Idol (2001) and stuff like that. You can't get away from that when you hit the [British] shore, so I know all about the cruise ship entertainment aspect of British pop.
I'm an instant star; just add water.
[from 1992] It would be my guess that Madonna is not a very happy woman. From my own experience, having gone through persona changes like that, that kind of clawing need to be the center of attention is not a pleasant place to be.
I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human.
I'm looking for backing for an unauthorized autobiography that I am writing. Hopefully, this will sell in such huge numbers that I will be able to sue myself for an extraordinary amount of money and finance the film version in which I will play everybody.
[in 1976 interview with Playboy] It's true - I am a bisexual. But I can't deny that I've used that fact very well. I suppose it's the best thing that ever happened to me. Fun, too.
You would think that a rock star being married to a supermodel would be one of the greatest things in the world. It is.
I don't know how many times someone has come up to me and said, "Hey, Lets dance!". I hate dancing. God, it's stupid.
I reinvented my image so many times that I'm in denial that I was originally an overweight Korean woman.
[on being 50] Fab. But, you know, I don't feel fifty. I feel not a day over forty-nine. It's incredible. I'm bouncy, I feel bouncy.
I once asked [John Lennon] what he thought of what I do. He said, "It's great, but its just rock and roll with lipstick on.".
I gave up smoking six months before I had the heart attack - so that was worth it, wasn't it! I started to give up when my daughter was born because I wouldn't smoke in the house with her there so I had to go outside. It's bloody cold in winter in New York, so I just quit.
[on Syd Barrett] The few times I saw him perform in London at UFO and the Marquee clubs during the '60s will forever be etched in my mind. He was so charismatic and such a startlingly original songwriter. Also, along with Anthony Newley, he was the first guy I'd heard to sing pop or rock with a British accent. His impact on my thinking was enormous. A major regret is that I never got to know him. A diamond indeed.
[on his pop sound during the 1980s] When I performed I was thinking, "You all look like you should be seeing Phil Collins.". Then I thought, "Hang on, I sound like Phil Collins.". So I've changed. I'm not comfortable with the mainstream thing.
[from 1983] I get offered so many bad movies. And they're all raging queens or transvestites or Martians.
[in 2002] I had no problem with people knowing I was bisexual. But I had no inclination to hold any banners or be a representative of any group of people. I knew what I wanted to be, which was a songwriter and a performer, and I felt that bisexuality became my headline over here for so long. America is a very puritanical place, and I think it stood in the way of so much I wanted to do.
[on Elvis Presley] I saw a cousin of mine when I was young. She was dancing to "Hound Dog" and I had never seen her get up and be moved so much by anything. It really impressed me, the power of the music. I started getting records immediately after that.
[Sigmund Freud] would have a heyday with me.
The whole animal of rock keeps changing itself so fast and so furiously that you just can't plan ahead.
Rock has always been the devil's music.
The only thing I ever got out of fame was a better table in a restaurant. And for that I gave up being able to relate to people.
I think Mick Jagger would be astounded and amazed if he realized to many people he is not a sex symbol, but a mother image.
I like crazy art and, most of the time, out-there music. Rather than having a hit song these days, I like the idea that I'm in there changing the plan of what society and culture look like, sound like. I did change things; I knew I would. It feels great, and very rewarding.
"Hunky Dory" gave me a fabulous groundswell. I guess it provided me, for the first time in my life, with an actual audience - I mean, people actually coming up to me and saying,"'Good album, good songs.". That hadn't happened to me before. It was like, "Ah, I'm getting it, I'm finding my feet. I'm starting to communicate what I want to do. Now: what is it I want to do?" There was always a double whammy there.
[speaking in 2002] Of the 26 albums I've made I think there were two when I really wasn't involved and that was "Tonight" and "Never Let Me Down", the two follow-ups to "Let's Dance". That period was my Phil Collins years.
[speaking in 2002] It seems to be traditional now that every album since "Black Tie White Noise" is the best album I've put out since "Scary Monsters".
[on the song "Dance Magic" from Labyrinth (1986)] In a recording studio, a baby I'd picked from one of the backup singers . . . couldn't put two gurgles together. And it wouldn't work for me, it wouldn't go, I kicked it, I did everything to make it scream but it wouldn't, it really buttoned its lips so I ended up doing the gurgles, so I'm the baby on that track as well. I thought "What the hell? I've done "Laughing Gnome", I might as well go all the way with that.". I never thought in 20 years I'd come back to working with gnomes.
[on Freddie Mercury] Of all the more theatrical rock performers, Freddie took it further than the rest. He took it over the edge. And of course, I always admired a man who wears tights. I only saw him in concert once and as they say, he was definitely a man who could hold an audience in the palm of his hand.
[in 1972] Sometimes I don't feel as if I'm a person at all. I'm just a collection of other people's ideas.
[in 1980] I have a lot of reservations about what I've done, inasmuch as I don't feel much of it has any import at all.
[in 1975] I like fast drugs. I hate anything that slows me down.
[on declining the royal honor of Commander of the British Empire in 2000, and turning down a knighthood in 2003] I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don't know what it's for. It's not what I spent my life working for.
[in 1973] Offstage, I'm a robot. Onstage, I achieve emotion. It's probably why I prefer dressing up as Ziggy to being David.
The lowest point in my life was in 1975, when I was 28, living in Los Angeles. I really did think that my thoughts about not making 30 would come true. Drugs had taken my life away from me. I felt as though I would probably die and it was going to be all over. My assistant, Coco, got me out of it. Thanks to her, I got myself out of America to Berlin. Best advice, which I wish I had known at 18? Don't do drugs.
[on Annie Lennox] Most exquisite. Absolutely fabulous.
God bless Queen.
I should be playing to people who don't look like they've come to see Phil Collins.
[on the late Lou Reed] He was a master.
[in 2014] I'm completely delighted to have a Brit for being the best male but I am, aren't I Kate [Kate Moss]? I think it's a great way to end the day. Thank you very very much - and Scotland, stay with us.
[on Live Aid (1985)] I'd do it again like a shot. This has to become an annual event. It really does. And I think a lot of us would pledge to do a show like this every year until starvation in many areas of the world, not just Ethiopia, was under some kind of control. Everybody had such a fantastic time, I'd love to do it again.

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