The Early Years
He was known as Arnold Corns, Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, and the Thin White Duke. However, most of us just called him by David Bowie.
David Robert Jones, born in Brixton, London on January 8th, 1947, whom evidently shares the same birthday with Elvis Presley. Not many people know this but Bowie went to school with rock guitarist Peter Frampton, whose father was the art teacher at the time. During Bowie’s career Frampton had gone on to play guitar with him from time to time.
Bowies trademark dilated eye was given to him by his school mate George Underwood after being punched in the eye by George. The fight was over a girl. Underwood and Bowie remained good friends after and even did artwork for some of Bowie’s earlier albums.
A Star is Born
His first release was Liza Jane/Louie Go Home in June 1964, white was under the name Davie Jones with The King-Bees. Shortly after he then changed his name to Bowie as to avoid confusion with the Monkee’s Davy Jones.Bowie went on to play various venues and release a series of singles and recordings until he landed on his 1969 hit Space Oddity, which was used by the BCC in its coverage of the moon landing.
This original pop chameleon went on to adopt many faces and personas but to me he was always Ziggy Stardust. The Album simply entitled “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” released in 1972 was one of my favorite albums of my youth.
I specifically remembering coming home early one morning after staying out an entire night on the beach playing hooky from school. My feet covered in sand, my hair wet, and falling asleep listening to that first track “5 Years” with my gigantic cans on whilst drifting to sleep. I specifically remember the back of the album cover reading “TO BE PLAYED AT MAXIMUM VOLUME,” and you better believe I did just that.
In 73’ he disbanded the Spiders, shelved Stardust and announced he was through with live shows. During this time he displayed his affection to the English mod scene with the album release of Pin Ups. Not sure how many people know this but this particular album was originally recorded by a host of popular bands, including Pretty Things and Pink Floyd.
The mid 70’s is where Bowie underwent a full-blown makeover with his outrageous costumes and heavily garnished sets. Shortly after he released David Live and Young Americans Bowie which featured the hit song Fame with backing tracks by none other than a young Luther Vandross and co-written with John Lennon.
The 80’s were only kinder to Bowie as he released hits such as “Modern Love” and “China Girl” featuring the guitar work of Stevie Ray Vaughn.
In 2004 gave us a health scare when he suffered a heart attack while onstage in Germany. He later made a full recovery.
In 2006 Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was a 2006 recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. After he was inducted Bowie laid low for a while until around 2008 where he then worked with The Arcade Fire and even an album with the actor Scarlett Johansson on an album entitled Anywhere I Lay My Head, which was a collective of Tom Waits covers. It wasn’t until 2013 with his release of The Next Day, which made it to number 2 on the Billboard charts.
On January 8th, 2015, his birthday David Bowie released his last recorded entitled Blackstar. Two days after his 69th birthday David Bowie died surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer.
David Robert Jones gave us well over 30 years of influential music, art, and an entire culture of whimsey and wonderment. To “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” May you rest in peace and your life’s work go on to inspire the completely outrageous and pure of heart. You’re a Starman now and forever.