P. 1
David Bowie: A Biography

David Bowie: A Biography

|Views: 158|Likes:
Published by Hyperink
Even in the days when he was Davie (or Davy) Jones of the the Kon-Rads, King Bees or the Manish Boys (a few of his early bands) — David Bowie was, and still is, a fully formed, timeless pop artist. Although he always experimented and changed stylistically, he seems to have simply burst into this world as Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke, David Bowie, and finally just Mr. Jones — all rolled into one. He is a shimmering chimera changing to reflect what we hope to find, and what we don’t expect to find: the romantic troubadour, the glammed outer space messiah, the burnt-out case from another world, the sophisticated, world-weary philosopher, the aging artist facing his own mortality.
Even in the days when he was Davie (or Davy) Jones of the the Kon-Rads, King Bees or the Manish Boys (a few of his early bands) — David Bowie was, and still is, a fully formed, timeless pop artist. Although he always experimented and changed stylistically, he seems to have simply burst into this world as Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke, David Bowie, and finally just Mr. Jones — all rolled into one. He is a shimmering chimera changing to reflect what we hope to find, and what we don’t expect to find: the romantic troubadour, the glammed outer space messiah, the burnt-out case from another world, the sophisticated, world-weary philosopher, the aging artist facing his own mortality.

More info:

Published by: Hyperink on Oct 21, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved
List Price: $2.99

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Full version available to members
See more
See less

06/09/2015

I.

David Bowie: A Biography
Looking down the valley of years
The boy who became the man who fell to earth
And so the story goes they wore the clothes
I’ll survive your naked eyes
Bring us the disco king
I’m not a prophet or a stone age man (public statements and quotes)
Trivia: Things odd, things mod
Everything’s falling into place
Source links
Table of Contents
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
11
I.
David Bowie: A
Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
22
Even in the days when he was Davie (or Davy) Jones of the the Kon-Rads, King Bees or
the Manish Boys (a few of his early bands) — David Bowie was, and still is, a fully formed,
timeless pop artist. Although he always experimented and changed stylistically, he seems
to have simply burst into this world as Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke,
David Bowie, and finally just Mr. Jones — all rolled into one. He is a shimmering chimera
changing to reflect what we hope to find, and what we don’t expect to find: the romantic
troubadour, the glammed outer space messiah, the burnt-out case from another world,
the sophisticated, world-weary philosopher, the aging artist facing his own mortality.
David Bowie’s best known, and most groundbreaking character is Ziggy Stardust. If the
trappings of Ziggy Stardust, glam-androgyn, are stripped away, what we have left is
simply great pop music. The gender-smashing concept of Ziggy — as stimulating, and
some would say, as freeing for society as it was — isn’t a bolt out of the blue for us today
as it was then. What survives is the music. So the sociological effect of David Bowie’s
depiction of gender with his character Ziggy Stardust isn’t his most valuable contribution
to pop music. The music is.
Besides his popular success, part of why David Bowie is such a great contributor to late
20th century rock and roll is that the answer to who or what David Bowie is is a reflection
of who we are. Like all great artists he shows us aspects of our own imaginations. And in
an uncanny way, he has always managed to presage certain trends or events at a time
when Western pop culture was changing in a way that in hindsight seems inevitable. At
any given time, the shape of the future is unknown. An obvious observation, but one that
needs restating in order to place ourselves more fully in the shoes of those who came
before us.
In 2004, Rolling Stone put David Bowie at number 39 on its “100 Greatest Artists of All
Time ” list. His friend and sometime collaborator, Lou Reed, commented that ”he has a
melodic sense that is just way above anyone else in rock and roll.” Listen to just a few of
his songs, and it becomes obvious that he is a great songwriter as well as a great
performer: “Space Oddity”, “Changes”, “Ziggy Stardust”, “Life on Mars?”, “Young
Americans”, “Fame”, ”Sound and Vision”, “Heroes”, “Let’s Dance”. His music varies so
Looking down the valley of years
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
33
much over the years — from the English music hall style of some of the songs on the
1967 album, David Bowie, to the American soul style of Young Americans, to the euro-
rock, post punk sounds of the Berlin Trilogy, Heroes, Low, and Lodger, to mainstream
hits of the 80s, ”Let’s Dance” and ”Modern Love”, to his late career, jazz-influenced song
“Bring Me the Disco King”.
Despite the fact that he has varied his approach stylistically, Bowie explains his approach
to his subject matter in this YouTube video of a Danish interview given at the start of his A
Reality Tour of 2003. He has returned to the same themes throughout his life: “loneliness,
isolation, abandonment, spirituality, and the lack thereof.” He tells the interviewer that he
is fundamentally the same person that he was a teenager, except that he is three and a
half inches taller.
According to Bowie, he has shifted his perspective, but not his artistic preoccupations.
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
44
At the time that David Robert Jones came into this world, his birthplace, Brixton, still bore
scars of the Second World War bombardment. The German bombs that fell on the area
south of the river Thames left their mark in the vacant spaces and ruined buildings. This
landscape was a strange, wonderful playground for the postwar children — who played
games like hide and seek, football, and cricket in the streets and bombed-out ruins.
As the postwar generation began life anew amid the devastation, so Britain’s culture
began to bloom in the post war years. This rebirth culminated in the British rock and roll
invasion of the 1960s. While Bowie was slightly behind the wave of British rock music that
crashed across the Atlantic and washed over the world, as soon as he gained
prominence, he became a major influence in pop music from then on. His musical vision
is a powerful shaper of pop music right up to now.
There is a story that the Lambeth Town Hall clock struck thirteen the morning of January
8, 1947 — the morning David Robert Jones was born at the family home at 40 Stansfield
Road. The winter that year was exceptionally cold; this was the explanation for the
extraordinary occurrence of the clock striking thirteen.
The boy who became the man who
fell to earth
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
55
Lambeth Town Hall by Stuart Taylor via geograph.org
David’s father, Haywood Stenton Jones, was a Yorkshireman. Haywood, known as John,
lost his father in World War I. John’s mother also died when he was quite young; he was
raised by the local council, and by an aunt. Although he had a family inheritance, John lost
it in unwise investments in a theater troupe, and a London West End nightclub. Inspired
by a dream about his working for a children’s charity, John went to work for Dr.
Barnardo’s, a British philanthropic organization which sheltered, trained, and cared for
homeless children.
John’s work took him to Royal Tunbridge Wells in the county of Kent. Here in her
hometown, he met Margaret Mary Burns, David’s mother. Peggy, as she was known,
worked at the cafe of the local Ritz cinema. After they married, she and John set up home
in Brixton, South London. Both Peggy and John had children from previous marriages or
relationships — a situation not uncommon in the fractured war years.
The chaos and privation of living in wartime Britain no doubt left their mark on John and
Peggy. Perhaps this can account for the fact that Peggy was an exacting and hypercritical
mother. John was also cautious and fiscally conservative — although he enjoyed a
warmer relationship with David than did Peggy. David is remembered as a perfectly
behaved and impeccably groomed little boy.
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
66
The Joneses moved out of Brixton to Bromley when David was six years old. Bromley was
a more middle class, suburban environment than the funky, eclectic, working class
Brixton.
Peggy had struggled during the war; she had two children out of wedlock — one of which,
a girl, she gave up for adoption. She had to deal with the reality of the family malady,
schizophrenia, that left its mark on three of her sisters, her mother, and on her son —
David’s older, half-brother, Terry Burns. Peggy is remembered by her contemporaries —
neighbors and family — as an animated woman of intelligence, and also as someone who
was overly concerned with appearances. George Tremlett, in his book David Bowie: Living
on the Brink writes that Peggy was not happy with David’s choice of a career, preferring
that he find a steady job. John was ever supportive of David’s musical ambitions.
(Tremlett, 21)
From about 1955, Terry was in the Royal Air Force, and later worked for Amalgamated
Press. He was in and out of David’s life. During his visits back home, Terry introduced
young David to Jack Kerouac and Tibetan Buddhism — influences which stimulated
David’s artistic and intellectual curiosity. Around the time when he was convalescing from
the famous eye injury dealt him by his friend, George Underwood, David was the
beneficiary of Terry’s interests in the beat writers and poets, jazz and Buddhism. David
told George Tremlett “Yes, it was Terry who started everything for me” (Tremlett, 19).
David also feared for his sanity based upon what he witnessed of mental illness in his
own family.
Bowie tells Cameron Crowe in this 1976 article in Rolling Stone:
“Who knows? Maybe I’m insane too, it runs in my family, but I always had a repulsive sort
of need to be something more than human. I felt very, very puny as a human. I thought,
‘Fuck that. I want to be a superman.’ … I took a look at my thoughts, my appearance, my
expressions, my mannerisms and idiosyncracies and didn’t like them. So I stripped myself
down, chucked things out and replaced them with a completely new personality.”
The British Art School movement had a great influence on Bowie’s artistic formation. The
art schools were a crucial part of the rebirth of British creativity in advertising,
publishing, and film. Many of the nascent artists educated in the art school system were
also musicians, so the art schools were also part of the catalyzation of the British pop
music invasion. To a new generation, the idea that one could make a livelihood based on
one’s own creativity — as promoted by the art school system — was liberating.
In his article, “The Arty Teddy Boy”, Mike Evans describes the art schools as fostering the
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
77
creative development of such giants of British rock and roll as John Lennon and Pete
Townshend, among others. These rockers might be termed Bowie’s older brothers, yet
the factors which influenced art school-goers Townshend, Clapton, Lennon, and Ray
Davies also influenced David Bowie.
At age eleven, Bowie made the rather precocious choice to forego a place at Bromley
Grammar. He opted to go to Bromley Technical School — a training ground for
commercial artists and engineers. Bromley Tech had links to the nearby Bromley College
of Art, and had moved next door to the Bromley School of Art just before David began at
Bromley Tech. The grammar school would be the usual choice for any student qualified
to be accepted, yet David joined his childhood friend George Underwood at Bromley
Tech. As Paul Trynka describes in his biography, David Bowie|Starman, David’s peers,
Keith Richards and Dick Taylor of the Pretty Things were on similar trajectories (Trynka,
20).
John Jones supported his son’s interest in music and performing. He bought David a
Grafton alto saxophone around 1960. This was the saxophone David would play in his first
band, the Kon-Rads. In the summer of 1962 David teamed up with his schoolmate,
George Underwood, and two other budding musicians, Dave Crook and Neville Wills to
perform at the Bromley Technical School’s PTA celebration.
After leaving Bromley Tech, in July, 1963, David went to work as a runner and paste-up
artist at an ad agency on New Bond Street. In the next few years, David was in no fewer
than five bands. In 1965, he changed his name to David Bowie. In April, 1967 Bowie
signed a management contract with Kenneth Pitt. Pitt was well-established, and injected
professionalism and direction into David’s career.
Kenneth Pitt got to know David’s parents quite well because he consulted with them
about many aspects of David’s career. David was only nineteen years old when Pitt
became his manager, and Pitt was meticulously old school. He made sure David’s parents
were in the loop regarding any important career decisions.
Kenneth Pitt saw that David’s parents were very protective of their unusual son. In 1967
Bowie still lived at home. His mother made meals for him and washed his clothes. His
father watched over his finances (Tremlett, 53).
David’s career as a pop musician began with his first public performance at a Boy Scout
camp in 1958, and by the mid-sixties he was making a name for himself as a performer
and songwriter, although he hadn’t yet “made it.” As a teenager, he was in a series of
bands — the Kon-Rads, the King Bees, the Manish Boys, the Lower Third, and the Buzz.
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
88
Finally in 1967 he recorded his first album, David Bowie. Kenneth Pitt was instrumental in
doing the record deal with Deram, a subsidiary of Decca.
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
99
Because Deram, the imprint under which the album was recorded and released, did not
put much energy into promoting the album, David Bowie wasn’t a commercial success.
Bassist Derek Fearnley, the bassist from David’s early band, the Buzz, worked with David
on the arrangements for the album. He recounts how the two of them were not
experienced arrangers — David would hum what he wanted, and Derek would do the
musical notation (Trynka, 82). It was a laborious process, and Derek remembers being
embarrassed at handing over his “scribblings” to the musicians of the London
Philharmonic who would play on the album.
On David Bowie, in tackling tasks with which he was unfamiliar, and experimenting with
orchestration, subject matter (child murder, “Laughing Gnomes”, love ditties), and
recording techniques, Bowie showed his artistic mettle. The album has a vaudeville,
music hall flair, for which it has been criticized. The music hall was the popular musical
entertainment mode of the previous century, at least, hence this music hall sensibility
found its way into much British popular music of the late 1960s.
David Bowie was released in June, 1967. Until he signed with Mercury Records in 1969,
Bowie’s career took an underground tack. He developed his stagecraft, and honed his
artistic sensibility with the dance teacher, mime and actor, Lindsay Kemp. Bowie toured
the country with Kemp’s small troupe. Their show, Pierrot in Turquoise, was based on the
tale of Pierrot and Harlequin. The two performers shared an interest in Buddhism, and
according to Kemp, David suggested the title based on the Buddhist symbol for
everlastingness, turquoise. (Trynka, 96)
In 1968, Bowie formed a group called Feathers with his first love, Hermione Farthingale,
and the guitarist from the Buzz, John Hutchinson — “Hutch”. They performed multimedia
shows that included spoken word pieces, mime and dance. David wrote “Space Oddity”
during this dreamy, experimental time of his life. The song features another of David’s
alter egos, Major Tom. Major Tom personified the idealism and exploratory zeitgeist of
the times — a dream that disintegrates into alienation, isolation and disaster.
And so the story goes they wore
the clothes
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
10 10
In 1969, Tony Visconti joined Bowie to produce Bowie’s next album, Space Oddity. The
two men have worked together on other of Bowie’s albums, including The Man Who Sold
the World, Low, Lodger, Scary Monsters, Heathen, and Reality — by no means a complete
list.
The single “Space Oddity” was recorded in June of 1969. It was played constantly during
news coverage of the The Apollo 11 moon landing. In July, Bowie won the Best Produced
Record Award for “When I Live My Dream” at the Premio Internazionale Del Disco in
Pistoia, Italy. David lost his father shortly after winning this award.
In November, 1969, Bowie won the Ivor Novello Award for the album, Space Oddity.
After the The Man who Sold the World recording sessions of April/May, 1970, the band of
musicians who were to coalesce into the Spiders from Mars began to assemble. Mick
Ronson, Woody Woodmansey and Trevor Bolder came to live at Haddon Hall with Bowie
and his wife, Angie. Bowie embarked upon a frenetic period of performing, writing and
recording. The musicians worked on new material which was to become the album,
Hunky Dory — which was released in December, 1971. The hit single from that album,
“Changes”, brought Bowie his first success in the United States.
Hunky Dory was released in December, 1971 — at the same time as Ziggy was being
distilled. The process of birthing Ziggy began in earnest after David’s February, 1971 trip
to New York. The successful critical reception in the United States of The Man who Sold
the World led to this trip.
In early 1971, after the New York trip, David began to record demos and write the
material which was to be included on Hunky Dory. Recording of the album began soon
after David’s performance at Glastonbury Fayre in June, 1971. By August 500 promo discs
were pressed.
Haddon Hall has been described as a hippie commune, Angie and David’s Graceland, and
a fin de siècle salon. The house is a Victorian mansion in Beckenham, just down the road
from Bromley, where David grew up. Angie found the place, and by September, 1969
they had moved there. Haddon Hall habituès and residents did songwriting and demo
recording in a makeshift studio under the stairs. It was in that little room that Bowie and
his collaborators — Tony Visconti and Mick Ronson — had written much of the material
for The Man Who Sold the World.
Another trip to New York in September, 1971, was a seminal event in Bowie’s career. He
was in New York with his new manager, Tony DeFries, to sign a contract with RCA
records. It was then that he met Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Andy Warhol.
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
11 11
In 1973, Bowie produced Reed’s album Transformer, which featured one of Reed’s best
known songs “Walk on the Wild Side”. Bowie did backing vocals on the song, “Satellite of
Love” — also on Transformer. In 1972, Bowie re-mixed Raw Power, Iggy’s album with his
group, The Stooges. Bowie also collaborated with Iggy on The Idiot, and Lust for
Life during Bowie’s Berlin period.
Bowie claimed that the concept of Ziggy came to him in a dream (Trynka, 181). In this
YouTube interview Bowie explains that in the album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust
and the Spiders From Mars he referenced the Velvet Underground (the band Lou Reed
was in); further, Ziggy was a ”British view of American street energy… Ziggy was
simplistic thing… — an alien rock star… and for performance value, I dressed him and
acted him out. …”
The process of “making it” had been a slow build up for David Bowie. The release of The
Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in June of 1972 was his
breakthrough. The album, his fifth, sold 8,000 copies in Britain in the first week of release.
Ziggy and the Spiders’ performance of “Starman” on Top of the Pops in July, 1972, was a
transformational moment in popular culture. The birth of Ziggy was the culmination of
years of performance, study and preparation by his creator. The impetus, inspiration and
specifics about Ziggy’s look, sound and name came from a wide range of sources. Bowie
encountered a primary inspiration for Ziggy during his January, 1971 United States
promotional tour for The Man Who Sold the World. In Chicago, David had received a copy
of the single “Paralyzed” by the Legendary Stardust Cowboy — this is the source of
Ziggy’s last name, as David relates in this YouTube video.
Ziggy owed his look to people like Freddie Buretti, who based the designs of Ziggy’s and
the Spiders’s costumes on the droogs from A Clockwork Orange. David’s wife, Angie,
encouraged David to cut his long, blond hair. The hair stylist Suzi Fussey further refined
his look, and by July Ziggy’s hair was dyed and styled in a precision cut that stood straight
up around his head like a vibrant aureola. David got a red leotard costume by Kansai
Yamamoto — a major innovation to Ziggy’s ensemble.
In September, 1972, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars played to a sold-out crowd
at Carnegie Hall. Bowie released Aladdin Sane in April of the following year. The title was
a play on words. The huge success of Ziggy Stardust had taken its toll. From the first
performance of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in February, 1972 at the Toby
Jug pub in Tolworth, until the last performance at Hammersmith Odeon in July, 1973,
Ziggy and the Spiders had performed in well over 180 concerts (probably closer to 190).
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
12 12
Bowie announced at the end of the Hammersmith concert that Ziggy would play no
more.
Ziggy’s incarnation has lasted a little over one year. His afterlife has been over a
generation as children and grandchildren of Ziggy’s original fans are now discovering
Ziggy Stardust.
Diamond Dogs (released in April, 1974) was written and recorded in London in the period
after Ziggy Stardust’s demise. It marked a the beginning of Bowie’s cocaine addiction.
The album presented an apocalyptic view of society; drug imagery is prevalent. Bowie
was working with the cut-up technique he borrowed from William Burroughs.
Bowie recorded Young Americans in Philadelphia in 1974. By this time he was a total
cocaine addict. His appearance on the Dick Cavett show reveals a jittery, emaciated
young man — still charming, but obviously troubled. The music he made during this
period was more genre-busting brilliance from Bowie as he lost himself in American soul
music.
In 1975, Bowie was living in Los Angeles, and his cocaine addiction intensified. He
suffered from paranoia and psychosis; he feared demonic possession; sat for hours
watching the same movies over and over again with his companion at the time, Glenn
Hughes, a young English musician who shared his addiction; and theorized that aliens
could spy on humanity via the television which was their eyes. (Trynka, 288) Bowie’s
relationship with Ava Cherry — a singer who worked with him on Young
Americans among other recordings and live performances — had ended, in major part
due to his addiction.
In April, 1976, the Station to Station tour finished in Europe. By September of that year,
David was in the recording studio at Château d’Hérouville outside Paris. The new album
was Low, a complete departure from anything he had done before, and the beginning of
his Berlin Trilogy.
Bowie reduced his entourage that had encumbered him in Los Angeles, and moved to
Berlin. There, he had a much simpler, saner lifestyle than what he had experienced in Los
Angeles. The music he produced there with his collaborators Brian Eno, Carlos Alomar,
Robert Fripp, Tony Visconti, and Adrian Belew (among others) ranks with the greatest and
most innovative of all pop/rock works in the late 20th century.
Bowie describes the transition from the insanity, cocaine-addled corrupt Los Angeles life,
to the stripped-down existence in Berlin in this YouTube interview. As he tells Alan
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
13 13
Yentob In this YouTube interview, Bowie tells how his time in Los Angeles was one of the
“worst periods” of his life; he got into “a lot of emotional and spiritual trouble there.”
Bowie describes the music he made in Berlin as “expressionistic realism”.
Bowie’s now estranged wife, Angie, was living in Clos De Mesanges in Switzerland; there,
in January of 1978, Angie tried to kill herself. This marked the end of a marriage that had
been troubled from the start. David was awarded custody of their seven-year-old son,
then called Zowie. (In later years, Zowie began to go by his first name, Duncan.)
The 1980s saw Bowie’s influence drop off slightly as he seemed to trail trends rather than
herald them. Let’s Dance (released in April, 1983) was a mainstream album with the huge
singles “Let’s Dance” and “Modern Love”.
In 1983, Bowie got back into touring after a five-year absence with the Serious Moonlight
World Tour. It was a mammoth success. Bowie meant for it to take him out of the
category of “freak” and into the mainstream, and it did. The tour brought Bowie’s music
to a larger audience than ever before. It was a mixed blessing, however, because in
appealing to this new, mainstream audience, Bowie produced the most lackluster music
of his career with the comparatively insipid albums Tonight (1984), and Never Let Me
Down (1987).
In the 1990s, David came back into creative shape. He formed the hard rock band, Tin
Machine, with the Sales brothers in 1989. Bowie made three albums with Tin Machine.
The nineties also found him collaborating with various artists such as Trent Reznor, and
the Pet Shop Boys.
In April, 1992, David Bowie married Iman Abdulmajid in a civil ceremony in Montreux,
Switzerland. In June of that same year, the couple celebrated their marriage in a
ceremony at St. James American Church in Florence, Italy.
Bowie worked with Nile Rodgers on Black Tie White Noise (1993). He got back together
with Brian Eno for Outside (1995).
In the noughties, Bowie hit another artistic bullseye with his twin albums Heathen and
Reality. Both albums were critically and commercially well-received. He toured
extensively with each of these albums.
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
14 14
In an era when there was more shame attached to mental illness than there is today
(although we still deal with this stigma up to the present day) there was little meaningful
help for David’s half-brother, Terry who suffered from schizophrenia. The streak of
mental illness that ran through David’s mother’s side of the family cast a shadow in
David’s life from his youth onward.
in 1967, David experienced one of Terry’s full blown bouts of schizophrenia. He had taken
Terry to see Cream at the Bromel Club. The loud music induced a bad reaction in Terry.
David took him outside to the street to get some relief. David recounts that Terry fell to
the ground. There was fire coming out of cracks on the street, and Terry was trying to
hold onto the road to keep from falling into the sky. David recounts this experience, and
Terry’s illness in this VH1 “Legends” (part 1) documentary on YouTube.
Terry was institutionalized at Cane Hill mental hospital. Eventually, Terry took his own life
in 1983.
It was nearly a decade before David could deal with his brother’s death in terms of
coming to grips with it as a source material for his work. In “Jump They Say” on the
album Black Tie White Noise, Bowie seems to be trying to understand what happened. He
is also empathizing with the feeling of being on the verge of self-destruction — having
been on the edge himself in his days of cocaine addiction in the mid-seventies.
The feeling or idea conveyed by “Jump They Say” (and its video) is the helplessness of
watching a loved one deteriorate into madness and self-destruction. There is an
inevitability about the end result. Family members and clinicians watch impotently.
Figures take pictures (the prying eyes of the media?) and look on with morbid interest.
The man who self-destructs in the video is part David, part Terry. The overwhelming
sense one gets is of onlookers contributing to, or just doing nothing to alleviate the
anguish of the sufferer. At the end, the mother, the father, a man in a conductor’s hat
(Terry was killed by a train), and another woman grieve. A priest makes the sign of the
cross. Nothing changes the fact that this man did away with himself, and there was
nothing anyone could do.
In the song, ”Survive” from the 1999 album, Hours, David addresses his brother. It is a
I’ll survive your naked eyes
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
15 15
In the song, ”Survive” from the 1999 album, Hours, David addresses his brother. It is a
song filled with regret at not having been “a wiser kind of guy.” He tells Terry “I should
have kept you/I should have tried” and ”I love you.” It is Bowie coming to grips with a
terrible tragedy in his life. His honesty and emotional openness make it a very moving
song.
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
16 16
Bowie’s fans have been starved for new material from a man who has been cranking out
the tunes since the 1960s. Bowie hasn’t done an album since Reality in 2003. Since then,
he has rarely appeared on stage or television. He played the genius of electricity, Nikola
Tesla, in Christopher Nolan’s 2006 film, The Prestige.
After witnessing his brilliant trajectory through rock history, it seems churlish to complain
about his lack of output in recent years. Fans keep hope alive that he will return in any
guise. There have been vague rumors that he might be dabbling in jazz, or teaming up
with his old collaborator, Brian Eno. These reports have mostly fizzled in the ether.
A round-up of his recent public performances is a very skinny haul. At Fashion Rocks,
2005, Bowie appeared on stage with Arcade Fire, a band he championed. He joined the
band for their song “Wake Up”. At this same show, he sang “Five Years”. Looking fragile
and rueful, he gave a striking rendition of this classic.
The lack of new music from Bowie didn’t stop cyber-denizens from celebrating his 65th
birthday in January of this year. SPIN.com put together a digest of some of what could be
found on the internet marking the occasion.
If there was any doubt that posterity would have a place for David Bowie, it was erased in
March of this year when a plaque was unveiled at the Heddon Street location of the cover
photograph of the album The Rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.
This honor marked the 40th anniversary of the release of the album.
In an effort to supply Britain’s hunger for anything Bowie, BBC 2 broadcast lost footage of
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders performing “Jean Genie” in December, 2011.
Bring us the disco king
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
17 17
Several months after Low was released, Bowie discussed his inspiration for the album
with journalist, Tim Lott:
“ ’Warszawa‘ is about Warsaw and the very bleak atmosphere I got from that city. ’Art
Decade‘ is West Berlin — a city cut off from its world, art, and culture, dying with no hope
of retribution. ’Weeping Wall‘ is about the Berlin Wall, and the misery of it, and
’Subterraneans‘ is about the people who got caught in East Berlin after the separation —
hence the faint jazz saxophones representing the memory of what it was.” (Tremlett,
273)
In this 1974 Rolling Stone article, Bowie discussed his stage name with author and artist,
William Burroughs:
”The name Bowie just appealed to me when I was younger. I was into a kind of heavy
philosophy thing when I was sixteen years old, and I wanted a truism about cutting
through the lies and all that.”
Referring to the bowie knife, Burroughs replied:
“Well, it cuts both ways, you know, double-edged on the end.”
Bowie’s reaction seems a bit sheepish:
“I didn’t see it cutting both ways, till now.”
Bowie discussed his interest in Buddhism with the author George Tremlett:
“You can’t show people what Buddhism is. You can only show them the way towards it.
Buddhism is really a process of self-discovery, of discovering the truth for oneself… .”
(Tremlett, 74)
I’m not a prophet or a stone age
man (public statements and
quotes)
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
18 18
In a 1972 feature in Melody Maker, Bowie announced he was gay. A snippet from the
article, as excerpted by Tremlett:
“ ‘I’m gay,’ he says, ‘and always have been, even when I was David Jones.‘ ” (Tremlett,
181)
Four years after that interview, Bowie was talking with the reporter who wrote the
original story, Michael Watts. Bowie told Watts in answer to the question of whether he
was bisexual:
“I’ve never done a bisexual action in my life, onstage, on record, or anywhere else… .”
Later that same year, he told Cameron Crowe in a Playboy interview:
”It’s true, I am bisexual. But I can’t deny I have used that fact very well…” (Tremlett, 183)
The world will never know the truth! Nor does it need to.
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
19 19
A row over a girl — the culmination of which was that George socked David in the eye
— is the cause of David’s apparent unmatched eye color. His eyes are actually the
same color, but one pupil is permanently enlarged due to damage that prevents the
pupil from contracting and enlarging naturally as it should. David and George are still
friends to this day. David has often said that he should actually thank George for the
injury; it has added to David’s mystique over the years as the man with two different
colored eyes.
In November, 1964, David made an appearance on the BBC television show, Tonight.
The appearance was a publicity stunt to gain attention for David and his band, The
Manish Boys. David’s father, John, helped David get the notoriety which led to this
appearance when by contacting a columnist for the London Evening News. (The
columnist also happened to have once been in the care of Dr. Barnardo’s children
charity.) His role as spokesman for The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long
Haired Men marks David’s first television appearance (Tremlett, 30).
Owen Frampton, head of the art department at Bromley Tech, is the father of rocker
Peter Frampton. Peter was also a student at the school at the same time as David.
Owen was an inspiring teacher, and it was during these years that David’s avocation
as a painter and sculptor began.
David’s first public musical performance was at a Boy Scout camp on the Isle of Wight
in 1958. David accompanied his friend George Underwood on his ukulele, while
George played washboard bass and sang. They played a couple of songs around the
campfire (Trynka, 19).
Nicholas Roeg, the director of The Man who Fell to Earth, worked with two other huge
stars of pop and rock: Mick Jagger (Performance, 1970), and Art Garfunkel (Bad
Timing: A Sensual Obsession, 1980).
The Château d’Hérouville, where Bowie recorded Low in 1976, is supposedly haunted
by old residents of the château, George Sand and Frédéric Chopin. The ghostly stories
persist to this day. The château is scheduled to be renovated — with the aim of
Trivia: Things odd, things mod
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
20 20
getting it back into operation in the near future.
A fact well known to Whovians, is that in 1983, Bowie was offered the role of Sharaz
Jek, a villain maker of androids on the television show, Doctor Who. Whovians are
known to have an ongoing pipe-dream fantasy of Bowie guesting on the space-based
television show.
Brian Eno uses a method he devised with painter, Peter Schmidt, called Oblique
Strategies. A card is pulled at random to spark a creative breakthrough or solution
when an artist is faced with a creative blockage or problem. Brian describes the whole
process during this radio show, BBC 6’s Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service.He has shared
this process with his collaborators on Low, Lodger, and other projects.
Brian Eno was an art school student (Winchester School of Art, University of
Southampton) as many of his and Bowie’s contemporaries were.
Some of the lyrics on the album, Heathen, seem to prefigure 9/11. Strikingly, the lyrics
from the song “Heathen” — “Steel on the skyline/Sky made of glass/Made for the real
world/All things must pass” — conjure images of 9/11. The whole of the song, “Slow
Burn,” is evocative of the terrible and bewildering time immediately following 9/11.
Although the album was released after September 11, 2001, the songs were written
before then.
Bowie appeared at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival to support his son, film director,
Duncan Jones. Duncan’s first major motion picture, Moon, was screened at the
festival.
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
21 21
David and son, Duncan Jones by David Shankbone via flickr
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
22 22
David Bowie, 2008 by Adam Bielawski via Wikimedia Commons
Bowie was brought up in a post-World War II, post-Victorian, pre-sexual revolution London
of the 1950s and 60s. In the United States we associate that era with the expansion of the
suburbs and the advent of television. The London of Bowie’s youth was a city that had
barely begun to heal itself of the wounds of the Second World War. The American
counterparts of the postwar Britons did not grow up with bombed-out buildings as their
playgrounds. This rebirth in the aftermath of the horror of war imbued the postwar British
music scene where Bowie forged his style with seriousness, glamour and depth.
In his early years, and throughout his career, Bowie has gone through a succession of
transformations of style and substance: the early rhythm and blues musician,
vaudevillian/music hall performer, hippie warbler, avant-garde mime, glam-rock pioneer,
continental chanteur, Broadway actor, cinematic enigma. Throughout all his prodigious,
Everything’s falling into place
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
23 23
potent, and game-changing output the fixed element is always Bowie’s musical
achievement.
The singles “Starman”, “Space Oddity” ,“Changes”, “Life on Mars”,“Rebel, Rebel”, ”Young
Americans”, ”Fame”, “Golden Years”, “Heroes”, and “Ashes to Ashes” represent high
points in the first decade or so of Bowie’s career. Low is revolutionary as pop music, both
in terms of its production and subject matter.
Bowie’s purposeful attempts to write top-40 hits like “Let’s Dance” and “Modern Love”
were giant successes commercially, yet he has said on numerous occasions, that the
commercial success around the time of his Serious Moonlight Tour left him artistically
dessicated. As he relates in this YouTube video of VH1 “Legends” series, it was the one
time in his life when he felt like giving it (music) up: “…when everything was really
successful, I thought, this is not what I wanted…”
In the 21st century, Bowie made the introspective investigations of mortality in
Heathen and Reality. In this YouTube video of “Bring Me the Disco King” (the last song on
his last album to date, 2003’s Reality) Bowie experiences the reality of his own mortality
in a surreal setting: a searchlight pierces the darkness of a barren forest of leafless
trees. Rather than making a definitive statement, Bowie seems to be conjuring a mood or
impressionistic motif to convey his confrontation with his own approaching death. He
feverishly digs and stabs at the earth until he strikes water. He seems to be questioning
the validity of his life as he looks back over the years ”killing time in the 70s”. He begs
someone — God? — “don’t let me know when you’re opening the door.”
As an aging human being, Bowie faces his mortality with no saccharine illusions of an
afterlife, nor with the self-pitying despair of someone filled with regret at a life half-lived.
The “Bring Me the Disco King” video is a startling, straightforward meditation on death,
not unlike a Buddhist contemplation of one’s own death — the sort of meditation said by
Buddhist teachers to increase one’s spiritual development.
Ironically, The Reality Tour was the occasion of a brush with death for Bowie. According
to this BBC News Online report, He was forced to interrupt his concert schedule when he
underwent an emergency angioplasty for a blocked artery to his heart. Perhaps he had a
presentiment of this health crisis as he conceived of ”Bring Me the Disco King” and its
accompanying video.
One can only hope we see more of Mr. Jones before his starship takes off for its last
journey from planet earth.
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
24 24
Rolling Stone, 100 Greatest Artists of All Time
YouTube, Danish interview (Reality)
GoogleEarthHacks.com, 40 Stansfield Road
Rolling Stone, Ground Control to Davy Jones
Google user content, “The Arty Teddy Boy”
Amazon.com, David Bowie|Starman
Amazon.com, David Bowie: Living on the Brink
Glastonbury Festivals, 1971 (20th – 24th June)
YouTube, DAVID BOWIE — Threepenny Pierrot
YouTube, David Bowie Interview 1977
YouTube, Legendary Stardust Cowboy – Paralyzed
YouTube, David Bowie The Legendary Stardust Cowboy
YouTube, 1978 Interview
YouTube, VH1 Legends: David Bowie (Part 1)
YouTube, DAVID BOWIE — Dick Cavett PART 1
SPIN.com, How the Internet Celebrated David Bowie's 65th Birthday
YouTube, Fashion Rocks, 2005
YouTube, David Bowie and Arcade Fire
The Independent, Ziggy Stardust at 40 celebrated with Heddon Street plaque
Source links
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
25 25
YouTube, Tonight
Tardis Index File wiki, Sharaz Jek
BBC 6, Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service
BBC, David Bowie ‘lost’ footage to be broadcast
Tumblr.com, Beat Godfather Meets Glitter Mainman
BBC News Online, Bowie recovers after heart surgery
Other links
YouTube, Cracked Actor, part 1
BOWIEGOLDENYEARS blog, http://www.bowiegoldenyears.com/index.html
Rock, Art &More blog, The Artful Codger
The Guardian, Any Day Now: David Bowie — in pictures
The Guardian, David Bowie: Myth-maker turns 65 away from the limelight
Become a Hyperink reader. Get a special surprise.
Like the book? Support our author and leave a comment!
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
26 26
Davanna Cimino
Davanna has a life-long love of literature. She is a copy editor and
copywriter, writes fiction and poetry, and has a law degree. She lives on
the Gulf Coast of Florida. She has three sons, and a Brittany named Jubal.
About The Author
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography About The Author
About The Author
About The Author
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
27 27
About the Publisher
Hyperink is the easiest way for anyone to publish a beautiful, high-quality
book.
We work closely with subject matter experts to create each book. We cover topics
ranging from higher education to job recruiting, from Android apps marketing to barefoot
running.
If you have interesting knowledge that people are willing to pay for, especially if you've
already produced content on the topic, please reach out to us! There's no writing
required and it's a unique opportunity to build your own brand and earn royalties.
Hyperink is based in SF and actively hiring people who want to shape publishing's future.
Email us if you'd like to meet our team!
Note: If you're reading this book in print or on a device that's not web-enabled, please
email books@hyperinkpress.com with the title of this book in the subject line. We'll send
you a PDF copy, so you can access all of the great content we've included as clickable
links.
Get in touch:

David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography About The Author
About The Author
About The Author
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
28 28
Other Awesome Books
Biography of Nicolas Sarkozy John Grisham: A Biography
Biography of Andrew Luck Biography of Lewis Carroll
Leslie Nielsen: A Biography Biography on Stephen King
Biography of Willa Cather J.D. Robb: A Biography
Biography of John McEnroe Bill Clinton: A Biography
Hyperink Benefits
Interesting Insights The Best Commentary Shocking Trivia

INKYBUCKS1 INKYBUCKS1

David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography Other Awesome Books
Other Awesome Books
Other Awesome Books
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
29 29
Copyright © 2012-Present. Hyperink Inc.
The standard legal stuff:
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any
electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems,
without permission in writing from Hyperink Inc., except for brief excerpts in reviews or
analysis.
Our note:
Please don't make copies of this book. We work hard to provide the highest quality
content possible - and we share a lot of it for free on our sites - but these books are how
we support our authors and the whole enterprise. You're welcome to borrow (reasonable)
pieces of it as needed, as long as you give us credit.
Thanks!
The Hyperink Team
Disclaimer
This ebook provides information that you read and use at your own risk. This book is not
affiliated with or sponsored by any other works, authors, or publishers mentioned in the
content.
Thanks for understanding. Good luck!
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography
David Bowie: A Biography Other Awesome Books
Other Awesome Books
Other Awesome Books
Hyperink
Hyperink
Hyperink
30 30

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd