David Bowie Poster


Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (10) | Trivia (62) | Personal Quotes (66)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 8 January 1947Brixton, London, England, UK
Date of Death 10 January 2016Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA  (liver cancer)
Birth NameDavid Robert Haywood Jones
Nicknames The Thin White Duke
Ziggy Stardust
The Picasso of Pop
The Dame
The Master of Reinvention
The Chameleon of Rock
Aladdin Sane
Major Tom
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. He 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 - 10 January 2016) (his death) (1 child)
Angie Bowie (19 March 1970 - 8 February 1980) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (10)

His constantly changing appearance
His distinctive and idiosyncratic singing style, wide ranging vocals and rich baritone
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
His highly theatrical style and performances
His musical eclecticism and experimentation
Wearing sharp suits in the 1980s
The intellectual depth of his work
His marriage of music and visual art

Trivia (62)

His eyes were both blue. However, one pupil was permanently dilated due to an incident when he was punched by a school friend, George Underwood, when he was 15, and as a result, one eye looked darker than the other. Underwood became a successful artist and remained a friend of Bowie's for the rest of his life, including designing artwork for him.
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.
Bowie had 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. Duncan was Bowie's best man at his 1992 wedding to Iman. He studied at a film school in London and became a successful writer and director.
(August 15, 2000) Daughter, with Iman, Alexandria Zahra Jones born.
Bowie was the first sexually ambiguous British pop star, declaring himself "gay" in 1972 (before contemporaries such as Freddie Mercury and Elton John made declarations that they were bisexual) and only five years since male homosexuality had been decriminalized in the UK. In a magazine interview, he stated that he met his first wife when they were in a relationship with the same man. Whether this was true or a joke has been the subject of much speculation. His appearance on Top of the Pops (1964) in 1972 with "Starman", when he put his arm around guitarist Mick Ronson, has been cited by many as a key moment for gay liberation in Britain and described by journalist Caitlin Moran as "the gay moon landing". In a 1983 interview with Rolling Stone, he stated that his bisexuality was really a sham. He claimed he made the story up to create more mystery about himself and defined himself as a "closet heterosexual". In later years he would neither confirm nor deny he had engaged in gay relationships, merely admitting (in a 2002 interview with Jonathan Ross) that he'd been "incredibly promiscuous". Dancer Lindsay Kemp has often claimed in interviews that he slept with Bowie.
He was born and raised in London, England, of English parents. His father was originally from Yorkshire. His mother was from Kent and was of Irish ancestry. The Jones side of the family had 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.
Contributed the song "Everyone Says Hi" to the all-star War Child album "Hope", which assisted child victims of the war in Iraq, in 2003.
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]
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 had in common is that both men played the Elephant Man.
Bowie was consistently listed in later life as one of the wealthiest British music stars in the world. 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 estimated his fortunes at roughly $185 million (£100 million). Following his death in 2016, his estate, which was mainly bequeathed to his widow and two children, was valued at $100 million (£70 million).
His song "Five Years" was covered by former Marillion singer Fish on his 1993 album "Songs from the Mirror", a collection of songs which reflected his musical influences. 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).
Bowie cited Little Richard as his first musical influence, hearing him at the age of eight, and, according to producer Nile Rodgers, he was a key influence on his most commercially successful album, "Let's Dance". Bowie drew from a wide range of musical influences from his earliest days. In 2015, British music publication Mojo released a compilation album of 15 tracks by his earliest influences. It comprised of tracks by Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bobby Bland, Ronnie Ross, Frank Sinatra, Jacques Brel, Lotte Lenya, Nina Simone, Nat 'King' Cole, Billy Fury, Anthony Newley, The Flares, Vince Taylor, The Yardbirds and The Pretty Things.
He declined the royal honor of Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000, and turned down a knighthood in 2003.
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.
Bowie was a big fan of The Velvet Underground. He later recorded with and produced the band's songwriter Lou Reed. He also frequently collaborated as a songwriter with Iggy Pop from The Stooges. Bowie, Reed and Pop are all considered to be among the most influential rock musicians of all time. Bowie included a version of "China Girl", which he had written with Pop in the 1970s (and had been recorded by Pop on his 1977 album "The Idiot"), on his 1983 album "Let's Dance" in order to help Pop financially. The song became one of Bowie's biggest international hits. Following Bowie's death, Pop described Bowie's friendship as "the light of my life".
He played 14 different instruments. The first instrument he learned was the saxophone at the age of 12 and performed it on several of his own songs. Although a talented rhythm guitarist (which included playing the famous riff of "Rebel Rebel"), Bowie found himself lacking in ability 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]
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. [2005]
Was credited as himself in Zoolander (2001). He was 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.
He is mentioned in "Life Is a Rock But the Radio Rolled Me", a 1974 international hit single by Reunion and "Monkey Business", a 1991 international hit single by heavy metal band Skid Row (the lyric "thinkin' Bowie's just a knife").
He was the 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". He was also the winner of the 1996 Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution. In 2014, Bowie became the oldest person to date to win the British Male Solo Artist award following the success of his comeback album "The Next Day". He was more than 40 years older than the other nominees.
Gave up his 50 cigarettes a day smoking habit in 2004.
Played Serbian/American scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (2006).
He was originally approached to play Max Zorin in A View to a Kill (1985), but turned it down citing his lack of enthusiasm for the script. The role went to Christopher Walken instead. He was also considered for the role of The Joker in Batman (1989) and Max Shreck in Batman Returns (1992), but turned down the latter to appear in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992).
He was ranked #12 on VH1's 100 Sexiest Artists and #7 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Rock & Roll.
Bowie considered "Tonight" (released in 1984) and "Never Let Me Down" (released in 1987) to be his weakest albums. Both albums were critically panned and led to Bowie forming the group Tin Machine in an attempt to shed his mainstream audience and reinvent himself as a creative force. Despite his low opinion of these albums, Bowie did later choose a song from each album ("Loving the Alien" from "Tonight" and "Time Will Crawl" from "Never Let Me Down") as among his fifteen favourite tracks from his own career for the 2008 compilation album "iSelect".
Resided in New York City from 1992 until his death.
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.
Had a 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.
He was a big influence on Peter Gabriel and Tony Banks of the progressive rock band Genesis, who both followed his career from the early days in the 1960s. Banks became a fan from buying a copy of his 1966 single "Can't Help Thinking About Me", which he loved for its unusual chords. His song "Heroes" was recorded by 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.
Bowie was one of the first artists to pay tribute to Freddie Mercury following his death in 1991 and performed at The Freddie Mercury Tribute: Concert for AIDS Awareness (1992). Bowie was also a friend of his glam rock contemporary Marc Bolan, whose funeral he attended in 1977. Elton John revealed in an interview with The Evening Standard following Bowie's death that he had been close to Bowie during their early careers, they had spent time together at music venues and gay clubs, but they had also fallen out back in the 1970s due to comments Bowie made about John to Rolling Stone magazine. He said they were never close again after that. Nevertheless, John performed a version of "Space Oddity" in a concert as a tribute to Bowie following his death.
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.
Was the main inspiration for Tilda Swinton's character in A Bigger Splash (2015), Rock musician Marianne Lane. Swinton appeared next to Bowie on the music video for his song "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)".
Bob Geldof envisaged him as singing the first line on "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid. However, Bowie was unavailable for the recording, so Paul Young sang it instead as it was felt he had the closest voice to Bowie of all the performers participating. Bowie did get to eventually sing the opening of the song at the Live Aid (1985) finale at Wembley Stadium.
He is mentioned in the lyrics of the theme tune for Only Fools and Horses.... (1981), one of the UK's most popular sitcoms of all time.
Met wife-to-be Iman in October 1990 through mutual hairstylist Teddy Antolin after Bowie had earlier 'discovered' the supermodel in the pages of a fashion magazine aboard a plane between tour gigs. David proposed to Iman under the Pont Neuf bridge on the River Seine while serenading her with the love song "April in Paris".
Known for his sense of style, Bowie has been described by director Geoff Wonfor as "one of only three people in music who really looked good in a suit. The others are Bryan Ferry and Robert Palmer".
He tried to live as normal and inconspicuous a life as possible in New York in later years. He was also known to be a dedicated family man. In 2002 he said he could never come back to live in the UK because of the media intrusion which had developed there.
When Bowie was extremely young, perhaps between the ages of 2 to 4 years old, his parents enrolled him in what is called 'infant's school' in Britain. In the US it would be considered 'Nursery School' or 'Preschool'. His teachers said that during the music and dance parts of the days, Bowie astonished them with his grace and poise of movement. They said they had never witnessed a child so young able to move like that.
Died two days after his 69th birthday.
Bowie often said he was ''a collector'', and people close to him said he rarely threw anything away. He made remarks in his twenties that sounded megalomaniacal at the time, saying that he envisioned collecting everything he did in his life and organizing it all meticulously in archives. He wasn't kidding: he did make good on his intent. He saved all his handwritten lyrics, all his stage outfits once he retired them, paintings and art pieces he made, and everything else he valued that he created during his life's work, and had them stored under meticulous security in Switzerland, organized and archived as he said he would.
The BBC television dramas Life on Mars (2006) and Ashes to Ashes (2008) were named after two of his most famous songs.
Shortly after his passing, fans from Berlin, Germany, started a petition to change the name of the "Hauptstraße" in Berlin Schöneberg into "David-Bowie-Straße" (David Bowie Street). The reason behind it is that Bowie lived there from 1976 until 1978, a time that is considered for not only saving his career, but also for saving his life. During that time, he produced three of his most well-known albums, "Low", "Heroes" and "Lodger".
His video for "Ashes to Ashes" was 27th in Channel 4's countdown of The 100 Greatest Pop Videos (2005). The video featured Bowie fan Steve Strange, whose band Visage later covered Bowie's song "Loving the Alien" on their 2015 album "Demons to Diamonds".
Paul Weller named one of his children "Bowie" after him. Weller has cited "Low" as "one of my favourite records".
Bowie's first four albums, "David Bowie" (1967), "David Bowie" (1969) (also subsequently titled "Space Oddity"), "The Man Who Sold the World" (1970) and "Hunky Dory" (1971), all failed to chart in the UK on their initial release. He first entered the album chart with "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" in 1972.
In 1971, Peter Noone (of Herman's Hermits fame) had his only solo UK chart hit with a cover of Bowie's song "Oh! You Pretty Things", which reached number 12. In 1974, Lulu had a number three single in the UK with her cover of his song "The Man Who Sold the World". Neither song was a hit for Bowie in the 1970s.

Personal Quotes (66)

[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, let's 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] There was a period when I was performing in front of these huge stadium crowds at that time and I'm thinking: "What are these people doing here? Why have they come to see me? They should be seeing Phil Collins." They were definitely Phil Collins type audiences, you know? And then, that came back at me and I thought: "What am I doing here? I should be playing to people who don't look like they've come to see Phil Collins." That's what I'd been used to up until that point. I don't know the guy. There's a certain kind of mainstream field that I'm not comfortable in. I'm just not comfortable in it.
[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.
[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.
All my big mistakes are when I try to second-guess or please an audience. My work is always stronger when I get very selfish about it.
[when advised not to take drugs in his youth] Before I took them, when I took them and afterwards. Every time, that advice was right.
[on declining the role of "Max Zorin" in A View to a Kill (1985), which ultimately went to Christopher Walken instead] It was simply a terrible script; I saw little reason for spending so much time on something so workmanlike. And I told them so. I don't think anyone had turned down a major role in a James Bond movie before. It really didn't go down well at all. People were very touchy about it.
I have an undying belief in God's existence. For me it is unquestionable.
[on his reputation as a well read intellectual] I'm a born librarian with a sex drive.
I've always cited who my influences are. I felt it was important for people to be able to see how things are put together at any given stage. I let people know what's going through my head. I've been quite vocal about that through the years. It often amuses me to see bands who lie about who they're listening to, because they don't want people to know who their real influences are. They leave a trail of red herrings. It's disingenuous, to say the least. I've always loved the process - to see how things are put together.
What I have is a malevolent curiosity. That's what drives my need to write and what probably leads me to look at things a little askew. I do tend to take a different perspective from most people.
[on Kurt Cobain] I was simply blown away when I found out that Kurt Cobain liked my work, and I always wanted to talk to him about his reasons for covering "Man Who Sold The World." It was a good straightforward rendition and sounded somehow very honest. It would have been nice to have worked with him, but just talking would have been real cool.
I listen to the radio all the time in New York, on the internet. I wouldn't listen to American radio. God, it's ghastly. But I float about through the BBC frequencies.
[on his 1980s music] Commercially I sold an awful lot of albums with work that I now feel was very inferior. Artistically and aesthetically it was probably my lowest point.
[on the massive success of "Let's Dance" and how it led to a creative low in his career] I was something I never wanted to be. I was a well-accepted artist. I had started appealing to people who bought Phil Collins albums. I like Phil Collins as a bloke, believe me, but he's not on my turntable twenty-four hours a day. I suddenly didn't know my audience and, worse, I didn't care about them.
[on Tin Machine] A glorious disaster. But for better or worse it helped me to pin down what I did and didn't enjoy about being an artist. It helped me, I feel, to recover as an artist. And I do feel that for the past few years I've been absolutely in charge of my artistic path again. I'm working to my own criteria. I'm not doing anything I would feel ashamed of in the future, or that I would look back on and say my heart wasn't in that.
I often pull myself back if I feel something is becoming too melodic. But then melody comes in many forms. He'll hate me for saying it but the person who is better at hooks than almost anyone is Brian Eno, and the solo on "Virginia Plain" is probably one of the greatest three-note hooks in the history of pop.
Some people call me pretentious for working like this, but I don't think there's anything wrong with thinking of pop as an art form - you've just got to think of it without a capital A. Lower-case art is always best. And anyway, a lot of what was considered art in 1978 is now just part of our vocabulary.
John Lennon was good at telling people off, but not me. Whenever I do didactic stuff it always seems ham-fisted.
I'm just a bloke doing his job, and it's not terribly complicated. What I do is I write mainly about very personal and rather lonely feelings, and I explore them in a different way each time.
[on John Lennon] I always had such pleasure talking and being with John because there was nothing that didn't interest him, you know? He had a real appetite.
I've made over 25 studio albums, and I think probably I've made two real stinkers in my time, and some not-bad albums, and some really good albums. I'm proud of what I've done. In fact, it's been a good ride.
What happened at the beginning of the '70s with guys like myself and maybe Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno, maybe some of the guys in Floyd (Pink Floyd) before us, King Crimson, that nature of band: We were all pretty excited about letting people know what went into our work, that we weren't all trying to be Chuck Berry. I know Ferry was a huge Dada fan, for instance. He even did an album called "The Bride Stripped Bare". Eno and I went, "He shouldn't do that," thinking we should have done it first. We were excited by set design, by the way we dressed, by trying to create a whole landscape for the music we were making. The Beatles had done it to a certain extent because they had John (John Lennon).
It's unfortunate when musicians qualify their work with "now that I'm married, now that I've got kids, I've got to be more creatively pedestrian". Whereas there's people like myself, Neil Young and Scott Walker who move with the way life flows.
My idol on saxophone has always been Ronnie Ross, so I looked up his name in the phone book and asked him if he would give me lessons.
When I heard Little Richard, it just set my world on fire.

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