David Bowie, 69, Barrier-Breaking Rock Star and Actor, Has Died
Steve Appleford and Matt Hamilton
January 10, 2016
Los Angeles Times
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David Bowie, the barrier-breaking British rock musician and actor, has died at the age of 69, just days after releasing a critically acclaimed album on his birthday.
Bill Zysblat, his business manager of 34 years, confirmed to The Times that Bowie died Sunday after an 18-month battle with cancer.
Bowie never stopped innovating. Times reviewer Mikael Wood said of the new album (“Blackstar” when said out loud) that it was “as fierce and unsettling and sometimes as beautiful as anything in Bowies one-of-a-kind catalog.”
During his initial rise in the 1970s, he produced an astonishing range of work, from cosmic folk (“Space Oddity”) and glam rock (“Ziggy Stardust”) to blue-eyed soul (“Young Americans”) and electronic experiments with Brian Eno (“Heroes”).
His stardom hit new heights in 1983 when he appeared on the cover of Time magazine with the worldwide success of Let’s Dance.
Born David Jones, Bowie’s first musical instrument was the saxophone, and he became a fan of early rock by Little Richard, Fats Domino and Frankie Lymon. While in high school, a fistfight over a girl damaged his left pupil, leaving him with one blue eye and the other permanently dilated and appearing darker in color.
In the mid-1960s, he began recording folk and pop music with various units and for a variety of labels. He changed his name to David Bowie in 1966 (largely to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of the Monkees), and started dabbling in theater.
In 1969, he released the album Space Oddity with a title song that became his first U.K. top 10 hit. Under the influence of Marc Bolan, Bowie formed a short-lived glittery band called Hype with guitarist Mick Ronson and, on bass, Tony Visconti, who became a Grammy-winning producer and collaborator with Bowie through his final album. A version of that group would evolve into the musicians behind some of Bowie’s groundbreaking work at the beginning of the ’70s, starting with The Man Who Sold the World.
He followed that with the flamboyant Hunky Dory in 1972, which included Changes, a single that defined the coming decade for Bowie, reaching No. 66 on the U.S. pop chart. The same year saw the debut of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, a concept album that fully ignited a cult following responding to its provocative rock and the glittery alien garb the band wore onstage.
He continued to record in that mode (the album Aladdin Sane) and produced Lou Reed’s breakthrough solo album Transformer, including the single Walk on the Wild Side. Bowie disbanded his Spiders From Mars in 1973. He soon began work on a musical translation of George Orwell’s 1984 but could not secure rights to the novel from the author’s heirs. He renamed the project Diamond Dogs (though some of the 1984 elements remained) and launched an elaborate tour.
David Bowie dies of cancer at 69
Bowie’s hits include Let’s Dance, Space Oddity, Starman, Modern Love, Heroes, Under Pressure, Rebel, Rebel and Life on Mars.
He was also well known for creating his flamboyant alter ego Ziggy Stardust.
The singer only released his latest album Blackstar on his birthday on Friday. The album, which includes just seven songs, has been well received by critics.
Mark Savage, BBC Music reporter
Today’s news is all the more shocking because David Bowie had recently emerged from suspended animation – revitalised and reinvigorated.
His two last albums, The Next Day and Blackstar, ranked with his best, the former celebrating his past, the latter casting forward to the future. The fact he won’t be there is heartbreaking.
But then Bowie’s entire career has been a vanishing act. The son of a waitress and a nightclub owner, David Jones became David Bowie, who became Ziggy Stardust, who became Aladdin Sane, who became the Thin White Duke.
All of them were fictitious. All of them became iconic.
In the 1970s, he was restless, flitting between musical styles and personas, producing Lou Reed and The Stooges, and taking up painting in Berlin. His every move sparked impersonators and inspired musical sub-genres. He was the first post-modern pop star.
He struggled to remain relevant in the 1980s and 90s, but continued to push boundaries with the industrial rock of Outside and the drum and bass influenced Earthling. An enforced hiatus, prompted by an emergency angioplasty, took him out of the spotlight for most of the 2000s before that celebrated, unexpected comeback on his 66th birthday.
That late period of creativity may now be reassessed as the work of a musician who knew his time was running out. But it remains a fitting legacy for a man who subverted and reinvented pop time and time again
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Sixty-six facts about David Bowie
David Bowie (/’bo?.i/; born David Robert Jones; (8 January 1947 10 January 2016) was an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, painter, and actor. Bowie was a figure in popular music for over four decades, and was known as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. His androgynous appearance was an iconic element of his image, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s.
Bowie’s first hit song, “Space Oddity”, reached the top five of the UK Singles Chart after its release in July 1969. After a three-year period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust, spearheaded by the hit single “Starman” and the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Bowie’s impact at that time, as described by biographer David Buckley, “challenged the core belief of the rock music of its day” and “created perhaps the biggest cult in popular culture”. The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona proved to be one facet of a career marked by reinvention, musical innovation and visual presentation.
In 1975, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the number-one single “Fame” and the hit album Young Americans, which the singer characterised as “plastic soul”. The sound constituted a radical shift in style that initially alienated many of his UK devotees. He then confounded the expectations of both his record label and his American audiences by recording the electronic-inflected album Low, the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno. Low (1977), “Heroes” (1977), and Lodger (1979)the so-called “Berlin Trilogy” albumsall reached the UK top five and received lasting critical praise. After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single “Ashes to Ashes”, its parent album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), and “Under Pressure”, a 1981 collaboration with Queen. He then reached a new commercial peak in 1983 with Let’s Dance, which yielded several hit singles. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including blue-eyed soul, industrial, adult contemporary, and jungle. He stopped touring after his 20032004 Reality Tour, and last performed live at a charity event in 2006. Bowie released the studio album Blackstar on 8 January 2016, his 69th birthday, just two days before his death from cancer.
David Buckley said of Bowie: “His influence has been unique in popular culturehe has permeated and altered more lives than any comparable figure.” In the BBC’s 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, Bowie was placed at number 29. Throughout his career, he has sold an estimated 140 million records worldwide. In the UK, he has been awarded nine Platinum album certifications, eleven Gold and eight Silver, and in the US, five Platinum and seven Gold certifications. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him 39th on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” and 23rd on their list of the best singers of all time. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
1 Early life
2.1 196267: Early career to dut album
2.2 196871: Space Oddity to Hunky Dory
2.3 197273: Ziggy Stardust
2.4 197476: Soul, funk and the Thin White Duke
2.5 197679: Berlin era
2.6 198088: New Wave and pop era
2.7 198991: Tin Machine
2.8 199298: Electronic period
2.9 19992012: Neoclassicist Bowie
2.10 20132016: The Next Day and Blackstar
3 Acting career
5 Legacy and influence
6 Personal life
6.1 Relationships and sexuality
6.4 Legal issues
8 Awards and recognition
11 See also
13 Further reading
14 External links
David Bowie (I) (19472016)
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.”
What Is David Bowie’s Blackstar Really About?
Mysterious and gorgeous, his 25th album obsesses over ego.
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David Bowie, master of reinvention, is dead at 69
By Saeed Ahmed and Joe Sutton
Updated 4:46 AM ET, Monday January 11, 2016
(CNN)David Bowie, whose incomparable sound and chameleon-like ability to reinvent himself made him a pop music fixture for more than four decades, has died. He was 69.
Bowie died Sunday after an 18-month battle with cancer, his publicist Steve Martin told CNN.
Neither his publicist nor the statement elaborated on what kind of cancer the singer was fighting.
Bowie’s death has been the regular subject of internet hoaxes for the last several years. So the news came as a shock to fans and industry insiders when it was confirmed.
“Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all,” his son, Duncan Jones, tweeted.
From a mop-topped unknown singer called David Jones, to his space alien alter ego “Ziggy Stardust,” to his dapper departure as the Thin White Duke, Bowie married music and fashion in a way few artists have been able to master.
He was theatrical, he was flamboyant, he was without parallel in his showmanship.
With a voice that soared from a baritone to a falsetto, he spoke of carrying on against the odds. Of the terror in knowing what the world is about. Of turning and facing the strange.
His songs were a salve for the alienated and the misfits of the world.
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