David Bowie

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David Bowie (2002)

David Bowie (* 8. January 1947 as David Robert Jones in London ; † 10. January 2016 in New York City ) was a British musician , singer , producer and actor . In a career spanning more than 40 years, he was one of the most influential musicians in rock and pop music with 26 studio albums and was also very successful commercially with around 140 million records sold.


Childhood and youth

He was born in 1947 as the son of Haywood Stenton "John" Jones (1912-1969) and Margaret Mary "Peggy" Burns (1913-2001) in the London borough of Brixton and grew up in a simple but secure family. His father was marketing director for the Barnardos Children's Fund and his mother worked as a waitress. The family atmosphere was characterized by silence, which Bowie characterized in a 1993 interview as follows: “My childhood was not happy. Not that it was brutal, but I had a certain kind of British parent: They were pretty hypothermic and you didn't hug each other very often. ”David was considered a shy, polite child.

The family's social advancement began in the early 1950s . In the winter of 1953 she moved to the middle-class London suburb of Bromley , and David became a showpiece for the striving for status of his parents, who attached great importance to decent clothing and a well-groomed appearance. David developed a particularly close bond with his half-brother Terry, who also lived in the house as his mother's son. He loved his little brother, and David admired the older, emotional, and rebellious Terry. They were treated very differently by their parents; While they pampered David, they mostly treated Terry with cool correctness, but sometimes ignored him.

First musical steps

At the age of nine, David Bowie came into contact with rock 'n' roll through his father, who gave him his first singles . About the first record, Little Richards Tutti Frutti , he later said: “I had heard God.” In addition to his parents, his brother Terry also promoted the interest in music aroused in David by introducing him to US beat poets and jazz, back then For example, 13-year-olds took them to concerts in London's Soho entertainment district . In 1962, at the age of 15, Bowie sang under the stage name Dave Jay in the group The Kon-Rads, in which he also played the saxophone . The band recorded a song co-composed by Bowie called I Never Dreamed in August 1963 . In 2018, the only known recording of this session was found in an old bread basket. The demo tape recorded for Decca was rediscovered by David Hadfield, the band's former drummer. When the success failed, Bowie left the group. The picture was sold in 2018 at the Omega auction house in northwest England for just under £ 40,000.

In 1964 he recorded his first own single, Liza Jane , which also flopped. In the 1960s he gained experience as a singer and musician in other bands such as the Manish Boys and the Lower Third, none of which were known. In 1967 he worked with the British mime artist Lindsay Kemp , whose influence was shown in Bowie's stage shows in the following years. Through these experiences, the shy young Bowie gradually began to develop very versatile artistic expressions. As a rising rock star, however, he feared that his name would be too similar to that of Davy Jones , a member of the well-known band The Monkees . Hence he gave himself a stage name; after Jim Bowie he called himself David Bowie from then on.

His debut album David Bowie , released in 1967, contained some songs that were inspired by musicals , as well as folk songs and ballads , including the title Please Mr. Gravedigger . The lack of success caused him to change his concept. He got start-up help from his future producer Tony Visconti , whom he met in late 1967 and who also worked for his friend Marc Bolan . In early 1969, a half-hour promotional film called Love You Till Tuesday was shot. Some songs from the first album and some new compositions were staged. One of them was the space ballad Space Oddity , which was last added to the set . Bowie, who was inspired by the Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey , describes the rocket launch of the fictional astronaut Major Tom and his emotional state alone in space as well as the communication with the ground station, which suddenly breaks off at the end of the play. Ten years later, in the song Ashes to Ashes , Bowie broke up the space excursion as a junkie's drug trip .

In November 1969, the second album was released, in the United States under the title Man of Words, Man of Music , in Great Britain like the first album again under the title David Bowie . In 1972 it was re-released by RCA Records with a new cover under the title Space Oddity . The album includes a re-recording of the title track, which also appeared as a single and was Bowie's first commercial success. Bowie was honored with the Ivor Novello Award in 1969 for this composition , it is one of his most famous works. The single reached number six in the UK sales charts and stayed in the top ten for four weeks, when the title was re-released in 1975, it reached number one. The song produced by Gus Dudgeon stood out from the overall album with its novelty song character. The rest of the album was not a commercial success with the mixture of folk music, Bowie's voice and his twelve-string guitar.

In early 1970 Bowie recorded two new songs with Marc Bolan: The Prettiest Star , which was also released as a single, and London Bye Ta Ta . In May a new recording of Memory of a Free Festival was released as a single. Although this was also unsuccessful, it is historically interesting because the guitarist Mick Ronson can be heard for the first time on a studio recording ; until 1973 he remained Bowie's musical companion. Bowie, Ronson, Visconti on bass and John Cambridge on drums appeared briefly under the band name The Hype from early 1970. With this band, Bowie tried a new stage concept in which all four appeared in costumes and used the style of the theater. Bowie disguised himself as "Rainbow Man", Visconti as "Hype Man", Ronson as "Gangsterman" and Cambridge as "Pirate Man".

In 1971 another unsuccessful single (Holy Holy) and Bowie's third album, The Man Who Sold the World , was released, which in turn was produced by Visconti. Stylistically, it was based on hard rock , and instrumentally dominated Ronson's guitar playing. In the texts, Bowie referred to science fiction , Buddhism and mysticism . On the cover he showed himself in a dress, which he deliberately gave himself an androgynous image that shaped his appearances in the early 1970s. In 1972 the album was re-released by RCA with a new and less controversial cover. This album was not very successful either. The theme song was covered several times in later years, including Lulu and Nirvana .


David Bowie on the 1974 Diamond Dogs Tour

In 1971 the album Hunky Dory followed . The keyboardist is Rick Wakeman , who later became known with the band Yes . In addition, with Mick Ronson (guitar), Mick (Woody) Woodmansey (drums) and Trevor Bolder (bass), all members of the later backing band of his alter ego Ziggy Stardust , The Spiders from Mars, played. It was Bowie's first album for the record company RCA Records, to which his new manager Tony DeFries had referred him. Among other things, it contains one of the most famous Bowie songs, Changes , and the ballad Life on Mars? , after which a television series was named in 2006 . Bowie's preoccupation with the music and art scene in the USA at the time was reflected on this album in reverence to Bob Dylan , The Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol . Bowie said this was the first time he had received broad artistic recognition for this album before becoming an icon of glam rock with the next few albums .

In 1972 he had his commercial breakthrough. With the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and the subsequent world tour, which lasted until 1973, he became known for good. The tour was only briefly interrupted once when he spontaneously boarded a plane from England to New York on June 10, 1972 to listen to a concert by Elvis Presley in Madison Square Garden and then immediately fly back to England and continue his tour. One reason for this was the "invention" of his sensational alter ego Ziggy Stardust, whose rise and fall is told in a doomed world. Another was his theatrical stage show with its provocatively homoerotic features. He also fueled this scandalous game with homosexuality by pretending to be gay in an interview . At the time, he had been married to Angela Barnett for two years and had their son Duncan Jones , born in 1971 , whom he later raised alone.

In late 1972, Bowie recorded a top ten hit in his home country with The Jean Genie . When working on his album Aladdin Sane , the pianist Mike Garson was there for the first time , who became Bowie's long-time companion. The album received over 100,000 pre-orders in England, a number that until then had only been reached by the Beatles . On July 3, 1973, Bowie let Ziggy Stardust "die" (My Death - Jacques Brel ) at the last concert of his world tour in London's Hammersmith Odeon , before singing the last time with his band Rock 'n' Roll Suicide .

During this time, Bowie also worked as a producer and promoter of other musicians. Together with Ronson he produced Lou Reed's second solo album Transformer with the hit Walk on the Wild Side , published in 1972 , wrote the successful song All the Young Dudes (1972) for the band Mott the Hoople and produced their album of the same name . He was responsible for the mixing for the Stooges album Raw Power (1973). In 1973 Bowie also recorded the album Pin Ups , which contains cover versions from the 1960s. The concept album Diamond Dogs (1974), which is largely based on George Orwell's dystopia in 1984 , Bowie recorded without his previous band The Spiders from Mars and his long-time companion, lead guitarist Mick Ronson. Bowie fell out with his manager DeFries during the US tour and was left with a mountain of debt.

Influenced by his move to New York, the Sigma Sound Studios 1975 album Young Americans , a musical new beginning, in which Bowie dealt with the music that had shaped him as a young man, namely rhythm and blues and soul ; he himself ironically called his music Plastic Soul . Bowie was performing in a bespoke suit at the time - another image change for the artist. Included on the album is his first number one hit in the United States, Fame . This song, which Bowie recorded with John Lennon in a session at Electric Lady Studios in New York, was not originally intended for release.

Following the album production, Bowie took on the lead role in the science fiction film The Man Who Fell From Heaven by Nicolas Roeg . He then produced the album Station to Station in Los Angeles , which was released in early 1976. After the Isolar tour in 1976, the musician moved back to Europe. He first went to Switzerland and, after recording the album Low in France with Brian Eno and Tony Visconti , to West Berlin .

The Berlin time

House in Berlin-Schöneberg, where Bowie lived from 1976 to 1978

Bowie first lived with Edgar Froese from Tangerine Dream in Berlin's Bavarian Quarter , where he went through a cold withdrawal from hard drugs . Bowie described Froese's album Epsilon in Malaysian Pale as "an incredibly beautiful, enchanting, fitting work ... That was the soundtrack to my life when I lived in Berlin." From 1976 to 1978 he lived in a seven-room apartment in an old building at 155 Hauptstrasse in the West Berlin district of Schöneberg . In later interviews, for example in a report by Arte , he described West Berlin as the "world capital of heroin " at the time.

In the Berlin Hansa Studios he finished the album Low , the first part of the so-called Berlin trilogy . Bowie was from German bands like Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk , Cluster , Can or Neu! , but also influenced by Steve Reich . Actually, he saw the albums, which shouldn't be about sales, as an experiment. But the released single Sound and Vision was a big hit; it rose to number 6 in Germany and even reached number 3 in England. While the first side of the LP Low consists of song fragments, the second side surprises with the fact that it almost exclusively contains instrumental pieces, as does the successor “Heroes” , the few Months later was also recorded in Berlin.

With the title track of the same name, "Heroes" contains one of Bowie's most famous songs, which was recorded in several languages ​​in French / English and German / English. The text is about two lovers who kiss on the Berlin Wall while border guards are shooting at them. In this song, Bowie processed not only his own observations in Berlin but also impressions of Expressionism from the 1920s, such as the painting by Otto Mueller Lovers between Garden Walls from 1916.

With Iggy Pop , who had come to Berlin with Bowie and moved into a neighboring apartment in the same house, Bowie recorded the albums The Idiot and Lust for Life , the music of which was largely written by him. He also went on tour as a keyboardist with Iggy Pop. In his Berlin years he also played the leading role in Schöne Gigolo, Poor Gigolo , Marlene Dietrich 's last film. In 1978 Bowie went on tour again and took up the children's fairy tale Peter and the Wolf with the Philadelphia Orchestra . In the same year the live album Stage was released and Bowie moved to Switzerland. In 1979 Bowie and Brian Eno recorded their third so-called "Berlin album" Lodger in the Mountain Studio near Bowie's residence in Montreux . It was mixed in New York and delivered smaller chart successes with the singles Boys Keep Swinging and DJ , especially in Great Britain.

Success in the charts of the 1980s

David Bowie, 1987

The new decade began for Bowie after divorcing Angela Barnett and the transfer of sole custody of their son with his Broadway - debut in the play The Elephant Man , for which he was praised as an actor. In 1980 he had the album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) , the last album produced by Tony Visconti until 2002, and his single Ashes to Ashes success. In 1981 he was seen in a cameo in the film Christiane F. - Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo at a concert in the Deutschlandhalle . The soundtrack consists entirely of Bowie songs, including “Heroes” . With the band Queen he recorded the title Under Pressure in the same year . The song, created in a six-hour session, reached number 1 in the UK in November of that year . In 1982 Bowie starred alongside Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon in the film Desire by Tony Scott , and it released the second best-of album ChangesTwoBowie .

In 1983 he released Let's Dance, his first album for his new label EMI , produced by Nile Rodgers . Together with the Serious Moonlight Tour that followed, it was by far the greatest commercial success Bowie has ever had. The single Let's Dance made it to number one in the United States and stayed there alongside such successful American productions as Michael Jackson's Billie Jean . Other songs on the album such as China Girl also made it to the top of the charts. The tour took Bowie around the world from May to December 1983. David Bowie no longer stood for extraordinary music with experimental peculiarities, but also for audience-friendly pop music .

After Let's Dance , however, the ebb of the first mass success was followed by an internal creative crisis. The following albums Tonight (1984) and Never Let Me Down (1987) were panned by the critics and are still considered his worst. Despite later derogatory remarks by Bowie about his own creative period between 1984 and 1987, relatively successful titles such as This Is Not America (with Pat Metheny ), the duet Dancing in the Street with Mick Jagger , the single Absolute Beginners from the soundtrack of the same name fall during this period Film , Blue Jean , a single from Tonight , the score for Labyrinth , in which he starred, and the epic theme song for When The Wind Blows .

New discovery

Iman and David Bowie, 2009

Following the commercial and artistic failure of the 1987 album Never Let Me Down , Bowie reappeared two years later with the Tin Machine project. " Tin Machine " was the band around Reeves Gabrels and the brothers Hunt and Tony Sales, with whom Bowie recorded the Iggy pop record Lust for Life in 1977 as producer and co-writer. Bowie insisted on being "just one member of the band" and rejected any special role. In 1991 Tin Machine II followed and the moderately successful single You Belong in Rock 'n' Roll .

In 1992, Bowie married Iman Abdulmajid , a world-famous model and actress from Somalia . In the same year he moved with her into a 175 m² apartment in Essex House on New York's Central Park , 160 Central Park South. During this time his album for the film adaptation of Hanif Kureishi's The Buddha of Suburbia falls , which was misleadingly referred to as the soundtrack and distributed. The Tin Machine project came to an end in 1993 with the solo album Black Tie, White Noise  - again produced by Nile Rodgers. Artistically little innovative overall, and commercially and failed due to sales problems especially in the USA, it marked Bowie's opinion the overcoming of his creative crisis of the 1980s.

The very complex and experimental album 1. Outside was released in September 1995 and produced again with Brian Eno. Despite some positive and many irritated reviews, Outside was also not a commercial success. On the subsequent Outside Tour , which included 100 concerts around the world , Bowie supported well-known bands with “ Placebo ” in Europe and “ Nine Inch Nails ” in the United States. With Earthling followed in 1997 a work that again confirmed Bowie's creative urge and has strong drum and bass influences . The follow-up album Hours… (1999), in which Bowie turned back to simpler song structures, attracted little artistically or commercially . Bowie's daughter was born in August 2000.

The year 2002 saw the continuation of the collaboration with Tony Visconti with Heathen . Artistically as well as commercially (especially in Germany), the album complied with classic Bowie works for some of the fans and was also seen as a comeback by critics and fans . In 2003 the album Reality was released, again produced by Visconti, with the single releases New Killer Star and Never Get Old . In the run-up to its release on September 8, 2003, Bowie made music and technology history: On this day, his new studio album was presented live and interactively in cinemas around the world. A live show produced especially for the occasion was broadcast simultaneously via satellite in all participating European cinemas and - due to the time difference - one day later in Asia, Japan and Australia as well as North America, Canada and South America. The show was filmed in digital widescreen format , the sound recorded in DTS - 5.1 surround sound and transmitted to the cinemas completely digitally. The process thus represented the most comprehensive and innovative use of digital technology in cinemas to date .

With A Reality Tour from October 2003, Bowie went on one of the longest world tours of his career. Shortly before its end, however, he had to cancel the tour on June 25, 2004 at the Hurricane Festival near Scheeßel due to a heart attack - after his last song Ziggy Stardust  . A stent was placed in Bowie in what was then Hamburg's St. Georg General Hospital . After his recovery, in addition to guest appearances at concerts by " Arcade Fire " and David Gilmour, he last appeared in May 2007 as curator of the Highline Music Festival in New York.

On January 8, 2013 - his 66th birthday - he released a new single for the first time in ten years with the title Where Are We Now and a video by Tony Oursler , a homage to his time in Berlin from 1976 to 1979 March 2013 released the album The Next Day . It became one of his most successful albums, becoming the first Bowie album in Germany to reach number 1 in the charts and simultaneously topping the charts in 40 countries. A modification of the Heroes cover was used as the cover ; a white square in the center with the title of the current work hides the singer's face.

On November 18, 2015, Bowie's musical Lazarus with Michael C. Hall in the lead role was performed for the first time; The official premiere in attendance was on December 7, 2015 in New York. The musical is an adaptation of the 1976 film The Man Who Fell From Heaven , in which Bowie starred. The title track was released as a single.

Bowie contributed the title song Blackstar to the series The Last Panthers , which will be shown on various European pay TV channels from October 2015 . Blackstar was released as a single on November 20 and was the title of Bowie's 26th solo album, which was released on January 8, 2016, his 69th birthday. Blackstar was the first Bowie album to reach the top spot on the American Billboard 200 and was, after The Next Day , Bowie's second number 1 album in Germany. On October 21, 2016 the sampler Lazarus Cast Album was released with Bowie songs from the musical Lazarus sung by the musical performers . The album also contains the three previously unreleased Bowie studio recordings No Plan , Killing a Little Time and When I Met You . These pieces are considered to be Bowie's last recordings made shortly before his death. Recorded with the Blackstar musicians, the songs were once again produced by Bowie's long-time companion Visconti.


Together with his wife Iman and their daughter, David Bowie had been living relatively secluded since 1999 in two penthouse apartments in SoHo , 285  Lafayette Street , between Prince Street and Houston Street . On January 10, 2016, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of the album Blackstar , Bowie died there of liver cancer . He had not disclosed the disease to the public, which was diagnosed 18 months before his death. In his 2004 will, Bowie ordered his body to be cremated . Following his will, according to a Buddhist ritual, his ashes were scattered on the Indonesian island of Bali .


In 2019, the production of a biopic about the life of David Bowie was confirmed. Thus working Neil Gaiman on the script, to Peter Ramsey directing and Johnny Flynn starred in Starman take. In August 2019, David Bowie's son Duncan Jones stated that the film would have to do without the music rights to David Bowie's records.


David Bowie, 2002

David Bowie was inspired by diverse influences from western and non-western culture, both in terms of image and music. At the beginning of his career he orientated himself mainly on the then modern beat music , but also on the British tradition of the novelty song . He was also interested in the American avant-garde band " The Velvet Underground " and the proto- punk band " The Stooges " from Detroit .

Through Lindsay Kemp he became acquainted with a certain school of pantomime, which among other things also had references to the Japanese kabuki theater. He used elements from this again and again in the 1970s for his stage show. He was also fascinated by the aesthetics of transvestites and the homosexual avant-garde, especially in the New York subculture . Initially, he was guided by the aesthetics of characters from Andy Warhol's environment , on which he formed his character "Ziggy Stardust".

When he moved to the United States in 1973, he became increasingly interested in soul music, especially the style that came from Philadelphia and is known as Philly Sound . This influence was first heard on the album Diamond Dogs and shaped the album Young Americans (1975). Since 1974 at the latest, he has also developed a keen interest in German electronic music from “ Kraftwerk ” and “ Neu! “As well as the music of Steve Reich . This was initially reflected on the album Station to Station and came into its own in the so-called Berlin Trilogy , which, in cooperation with Brian Eno, became groundbreaking for the further development of electronic music. In the 1980s he focused primarily on contemporary pop music, in the 1990s he took a. a. Influences of drum and bass .

Its versatility earned Bowie the nickname "Chameleon of Pop". He countered this by stating that a chameleon adapts to its surroundings, while it has mostly done the opposite. He was often accused of plagiarizing himself . However, well-meaning critics credit him with the fact that he combines the various influences into a whole and also helps to make lesser-known, subcultural forms of art and culture known to a wider audience. In addition, numerous younger artists refer to him and his influence on their music and their image.



David Bowie is seen as one of the most influential artists of his time - and a pioneer until the early 1980s - in the field of contemporary popular music. This is due to his decades of creative power with a wide musical range: rock with Ziggy Stardust and Diamond Dogs , jazz style elements with Aladdin Sane , soul with Young Americans and Black Tie, white noise , electronic concert performance with Low - symphonically set to music like Heroes Philip Glass - and 1st Outside .


Bowie achieved the strongest cultural impact with his fictional character "Ziggy Stardust". Their image influenced punk, independent and new romantic musicians from Steve Strange to Morrissey . Madonna says a Ziggy Stardust concert she attended when she was 14 changed her life. The fictional character David Bowie changed continuously. This creativity alone, in this always contradicting form of thematic self-portrayal, was absolutely innovative until the very end in the music scene.

Bowie in 1976 as Thin White Duke

In connection with the album Station to Station , Bowie turned into another fictional character called Thin White Duke in 1976 , a name that refers to the line The return of the Thin White Duke in the title song. His wardrobe now consisted of a white shirt with black trousers and a waistcoat, his hair was combed back strictly, his appearance appeared distant and hypothermic. Not only because of his self-chosen title Duke , he came under suspicion that he was fascist . During a live performance, a captivating gesture was observed and in interviews he uttered sentences that could be interpreted in this direction. This caused some fans to turn away. Bowie later distanced himself from this phase; the ambiguous statements were probably due to his considerable cocaine consumption . An examination of the events at that time also came to the conclusion that Bowie was not a fascist.

His play with sexual identity and gender roles in the 1970s, which he developed on the image of Andy Warhol's bizarre entourage from the late 1960s and early 70s, was initially a driving force in the development of glam rock ; it was also recorded by subsequent artists. Bowie was instrumental in making sexual ambiguity socially acceptable in the mainstream as well. Brian Slade, main character in the film Velvet Goldmine (1998) about the glam rock era, is a reference to David Bowie and is modeled after him; however, there is no explicit reference to him in the film.

Almost at the same time as his musical comeback with The Next Day , the David Bowie Is exhibition took place in London's Victoria and Albert Museum in 2013 . In the international exhibition, the museum showed private pieces from the David Bowie archive for the first time. The exhibition comprised around 300 exhibits, including handwritten texts, photographs, films and music videos, set designs, musical instruments, personal collection items, 60 stage costumes, self-written song texts, drawings and personal diary entries. A vernissage in March 2013 opened the museum's most successful exhibition to date with a total of 312,000 visitors in five months. She was on tour until March 2016, visiting cities like Chicago, Paris and Berlin.

Bowie as an actor

Since the mid-1970s, Bowie has also worked regularly as an actor in feature films and television series. He gained general recognition, but not to the same extent as with his musical work. He also saw himself primarily as a musician, as he stated in interviews. He gained his first experience as an actor in the late 1960s in the experimental short film The Image and in small promotional strips as a pantomime for his mentor Lindsay Kemp at the time.

In 1975 Nicolas Roeg cast him for the lead role in The Man Who Fell From Heaven , although Bowie had no significant acting experience. This film is still considered his best acting performance to this day. However, Bowie later noted self-critically that he was actually just playing himself. He was severely addicted to cocaine at the time. His portrayal of Paul in Schöne Gigolo, poor Gigolo, was less successful in 1979 . The film and its game were both panned by critics and later dismissed by Bowie himself.

In 1981 he had a brief appearance in Christiane F. - We Children from Zoo Station . He can be seen there in a concert given by him in Berlin. These scenes were shot especially for the film and mixed with archive footage. He achieved a respectable success in 1983 in the film Furyo - Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence , in which he played the leading role of Major Cellier alongside Ryūichi Sakamoto under the direction of Nagisa Ōshima, whom he admired . In the same year the film Desire appeared , in which he played alongside Catherine Deneuve and Dotterbart , in which he played a British ensign .

In 1985 Bowie had a minor role in Upside Down the Night , a John Landis thriller . In 1986 he became known to a younger audience as the Kobold King Jareth in Jim Henson's film The Journey into the Labyrinth , which fell far short of expected commercial success. He made a brief appearance in Martin Scorsese's 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ, alongside Willem Dafoe and Harvey Keitel as Pontius Pilatus .

His leading role in the 1991 film Houdini & Company - The Linguini Incident, opposite Rosanna Arquette, has remained relatively unknown . In Twin Peaks - The Film , the prequel to the cult series Twin Peaks by David Lynch , Bowie played the FBI agent Phillip Jeffries "long believed lost" in a short sequence in 1992 . Bowie's appearance in the 1996 film Basquiat in a supporting role as Andy Warhol received attention .

In 2006 he appeared in a supporting role as Nikola Tesla in the movie Prestige - The Masters of Magic . In 2007 he lent his voice to the Lord Royal Highness in the English-language original of SpongeBob's Atlantic adventure .


David Bowie's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

In 1996, Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame . In 1999 he was appointed Commandeur de l ' ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the then French Minister of Culture, Caroline Trautmann , after he had already been appointed Officer of this order in 1997 .

However, Bowie has rejected both the appointment as CBE ( Commander of the Order of the British Empire ) in 2000 and the even higher honor of a KBE ( Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2003, which was titled “ Sir “would have been connected.

In 2000 the New Musical Express voted Bowie "Most Influential Pop Musician of All Time". In 2007, at the eleventh presentation of the Webby Awards, he was awarded a prize for his life's work, among other things in connection with his work as a pioneer of the music scene on the Internet.

The giant crab spider species Heteropoda davidbowie is named after David Bowie and was discovered in 2009 by Peter Jäger from the Arachnology Section at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt am Main. In 2017 another newly discovered spider species was named after him: Spintharus davidbowiei .

In February 2014 Bowie received a Brit Award as the oldest musician so far at the age of 67 , for him the first since 1984. For the award ceremony, he did not travel from his adopted home New York, but sent model friend Kate Moss in an outfit to receive it Bowie's famous character "Ziggy Stardust" remembered.

In January 2015 the asteroid (342843) Davidbowie was named after him.

On August 22, 2016, Berlin's Governing Mayor Michael Müller unveiled a Berlin memorial plaque on the  155 Hauptstrasse building , David Bowie's former home in Berlin-Schöneberg . The board was forcibly removed from the house wall on September 17, 2016 under unexplained circumstances, so that a new board had to be installed on October 5, 2016.

In the Warsaw district of Żoliborz , the Polish artist Dawid Celek created a mural on a residential building on Maria-Kazimiera-Straße (Polish: Marii Kazimiery Street ) at the beginning of 2016 . It extends over six floors and shows half the face of the musician, the tower of the Warsaw Palace of Culture is placed over the eye. The picture is made in the Ziggy Stardust look. The occasion was David Bowie's short stay in the Polish capital in 1976. He had taken a walk near the so-called Danzig train station, bought a record in a music store and later composed the song Warszawa .

The Rolling Stone listed Bowie 39th of the 100 greatest musicians and the 100 best songwriters and 23rd of the 100 best singers of all time .

In 2013, Bowie was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

On February 6, 2018, during the live broadcast of the first launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket , the refrain of Life On Mars? played. The rocket carried a Tesla Roadster from Elon Musk's inventory into space, in which sat a spaceman doll named Starman , named after Bowie 's song of the same name . It was also announced that the vehicle itself should play the song Space Oddity , which, however, cannot be heard due to the lack of atmosphere in space.

Musical collaboration with other artists

In his long career, Bowie has worked with many prominent colleagues, for example with his former partner Romy Haag , but also with Marc Bolan (Prettiest Star, Madman, Standing Next to You), Brian Eno (Heroes, Low, Lodger, 1 Outside) , Mick Jagger ( Dancing in the Street ) , John Lennon (Fame) , Marianne Faithfull (I Got You Babe), Bing Crosby ( Little Drummer Boy ), Tina Turner (Tonight), on whose 1985 European tour he made a guest appearance , Pat Metheny (This Is Not America), Philip Glass (Low and Heroes Symphony), Luther Vandross , Quincy Jones , Queen ( Under Pressure ), Meshell Ndegeocello , Klaus Nomi , Frank Black , Pet Shop Boys (Hello Spaceboy), Lou Reed and Iggy Pop . In the mid-1990s, he toured with Nine Inch Nails ( Trent Reznor ), worked with Placebo ( Without You I'm Nothing ), Moby , British DJ Goldie (Truth) and Kashmir , US singer Kristeen Young , (The Cynic) from Denmark, TV on the Radio , the Canadian band Arcade Fire and Scarlett Johansson . In 1979 he promoted Klaus Nomi's career by appearing on a major US TV show with the singer, who was previously only known to insiders.

On January 9, 1997, on his 50th birthday, Bowie gave a concert in New York's Madison Square Garden in front of 20,000 spectators. Lou Reed and well-known representatives of the "new alternative" music scene, such as Frank Black ( Pixies ), were guests. , Billy Corgan ( The Smashing Pumpkins ), Robert Smith ( The Cure ), Sonic Youth , Brian Molko of Placebo and the Foo Fighters . Lou Reed ( Transformer ), Iggy Pop ( The Idiot ) and Mott the Hoople (All the Young Dudes) particularly benefited from Bowie's producer qualities. In 2006 Bowie and David Gilmour re-recorded the Pink Floyd song Arnold Layne and placed themselves in the British charts.



David Bowie was considered one of the richest artists in the world. There are different details about the amount of assets. Forbes estimated Bowie's net worth at $ 230 million. It was shared by Bowie in his will between his wife, children, an assistant and a nanny.

Bowie bonds and the Internet

In February 1997, Bowie embarked on a new way to make money with his music: He issued a bond ( Bowie Bonds ) that was secured with the future income of 287 of his songs and brought him 55 million US dollars in one fell swoop. The ten-year bond was initially rated by the Moody’s agency with a very good credit rating of "A3". After a significant slump in sales of the Bowie recordings, the 2004 bond was downgraded to “Baa3”, one notch above junk level .

Bowie is also considered to be a pioneer of its own marketing on the Internet. His website has been online since 1996. Most of the content could only be viewed by members. There was the opportunity to create your own blog and take part in special raffles reserved for members, including concerts and meet and greets .

Eye color

The pupil muscles of his left eye were injured in a 1962 brawl with his friend George Underwood over a girl. This resulted in a dilated, rigid pupil (traumatic mydriasis ) and the left eye appeared darker as a result. Bowie and Underwood remained good friends despite the incident. As a painter, Underwood was later even involved in the design of some record covers. E.g. the album cover of Bowie's Hunky Dory (1971).

Sexual orientation

There was often speculation about Bowie's possible bisexuality . Headlines like "David Bowie Loves a Man" from the time of his relationship with transsexual entertainer Romy Haag were commonplace in the 1970s. Bowie himself had created this image with his androgynous, sometimes almost feminine appearance and announced to Melody Maker I am gay (“I'm gay”), a sensational revelation at the time , mainly for publicity reasons . Affairs with Bowie's temporary roommate Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger were rumored in the press, and the Rolling Stones song Angie is said to be based on a love triangle between Jagger, Bowie and his ex-wife Angela Barnett, which was later denied. Bowie's public announcement that he was “no longer gay” coincided with his image change from avant-garde artist to pop star in the early 1980s.



Solo works

With tin machine

  • Tin Machine (1989)
  • Tin Machine II (1991)
  • Live - Oy Vey, Baby (1991)


year title
1972 Mott the Hoople : All the Young Dudes (Columbia)
1972 Lou Reed : Transformer (RCA)
1974 Steeleye Span : To Know Him Is to Love Him (Sax; from the album Now We Are Six )
1977 Bing Crosby : Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy (Video + Song)
1977 Iggy Pop : The Idiot (RCA), Lust for Life (RCA)
1978 Philadelphia Orchestra : David Bowie narrates Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf (RCA)
1981 Queen : Under Pressure (EMI)
1985 Mick Jagger : Dancing in the Street (Warner)
1986 Iggy Pop: Blah-Blah-Blah (A&M Records)
1988 Tina Turner : Tina Live in Europe (Capitol)
1990 Adrian Belew : Young Lions (Atlantic)
1994 Mick Ronson : Heaven and Hull (Epic)
1995 Reeves Gabrels: The Sacred Squall Of Now (Upstart Records) - Duet: New recording of You've Been Around
1997 Pet Shop Boys : Hello Space Boy (EMI)
1997 Nine Inch Nails : I'm Afraid of Americans (Virgin Records)
1999 Placebo : Without You I'm Nothing (Virgin Records)
2001 Massive Attack : Nature Boy (musical film Moulin Rouge )
2001 Sean Combs : American Dream ( Training Day soundtrack )
2003 Earl Slick : Zig Zag (Sanctuary)
2003 Maynard James Keenan ( Tool ): Bring Me the Disco King
2003 Lou Reed : The Raven
2003 Kristeen Young : Breasticles (Test Tube Baby) - Duet on the song Savior
2004 Butterfly Boucher : Changes - Re-recording of the song as a duet on the soundtrack for Shrek 2 - The daredevil hero returns
2005 Kashmir : No Balance Palace (Sony Music)
2006 TV on the Radio : Return to Cookie Mountain
2008 Scarlett Johansson : Anywhere I Lay My Head (Rhino Warner)
2013 Arcade Fire : Reflector (Arcade Fire)

Filmography (selection)

Theater roles (selection)


Web links

Commons : David Bowie  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jody Thompson: Sixty things about David Bowie. In: BBC News. January 8, 2007
  2. Peter Gillman, Leni Gillman: Alias ​​David Bowie: A Biography. 1987, p. 44: At the end of the war, Peggy Burns was working as a waitress at the Ritz cinema in Tunbridge Wells.
  3. Marc Spitz: David Bowie - The Biography , 2010, ISBN 978-3-941378-87-2 , Chapter 1 - 1940s: The Family , pp. 25–34
  4. a b c Marc Spitz: David Bowie - The Biography , 2010, ISBN 978-3-941378-87-2 , Chapter 2 - Bromley (until 1953) , pp. 34-48
  5. Marc Spitz: David Bowie - The Biography , 2010, ISBN 978-3-941378-87-2 , Chapter 2 - Bromley (until 1953) , pp. 48-66
  6. David Bowie tape from the 60s found in a bread basket. In: 80s80s.de. Retrieved July 26, 2018 .
  7. "Crazy bidders" at auction of Bowie admission. Retrieved September 13, 2018 .
  8. David Bowie biography (davidbowie.com) ( Memento of the original from January 11, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.davidbowie.com
  9. David Quantick: Making of: David Bowie - Low / Heroes , Classic Rock, March 21, 2014, accessed January 11, 2016.
  10. ^ Pascale Hugues : Edgar Froese, Tangerine Dream, Berlin. With David Bowie in the Bavarian Quarter. In: Der Tagesspiegel . January 26, 2015, accessed July 12, 2015.
  11. Contemporary stories: Tangerine Dream. In: Groove. January 26, 2015, accessed September 21, 2018 .
  12. "Contrary to what everyone thought". In: Gala , January 16, 2016, accessed on January 16, 2016.
  13. Philipp Löwe: David Bowie's apartment for sale. This is where Ziggy Stardust lived . In: Spiegel Online , March 31, 2017.
  14. Michael C. Hall (Dexter) will play the lead role in David Bowie's musical "Lazarus". In: Rollingstone.de, June 24, 2015, accessed January 11, 2016.
  15. ^ David Bowie's Lazarus, Starring Michael C. Hall, Extends Before Opening Off-Broadway. In: Broadway.com, October 9, 2015, accessed January 11, 2016.
  16. ^ David Bowie's theme song for The Last Panthers. In: The Guardian , October 6, 2015, accessed January 11, 2016.
  17. David Bowie's new album: "The Strangest Work So Far". In: Der Spiegel , October 26, 2015, accessed on January 11, 2016.
  18. David Bowie's 'Blackstar' album Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart. In: Billboard.com, January 17, 2015, accessed January 20, 2016.
  19. David Bowie posthumously tops the official German charts. In: officialcharts.de, January 15, 2015, accessed on January 20, 2016.
  20. Kate Kelly: Ziggy in SoHo! David Bowie Buys Two Penthouses for $ 4 Million. In: Observer , January 18, 1999.
  21. Thomas Hüetlin : Our Man from Mars . In: Der Spiegel . No. 3 , 2016, p. 124–127, here p. 127 ( online ).
  22. Shock and condolences as the Netherlands reacts to David Bowie's death. In: dutchnews.nl. January 11, 2016, accessed January 11, 2016 .
  23. Caroline Davies, Edward Helmore: David Bowie dies of cancer at 69. In: theguardian.com . January 11, 2016, accessed January 11, 2016 .
  24. James Barron: David Bowie's Will Splits Estate Said to Be Worth $ 100 Million. In: The New York Times, January 29, 2016 ; accessed on December 30, 2018
  25. Nicky Woolf: David Bowie leaves estate of around $ 100m to his wife and children in will. In: The Guardian January 30, 2016 ; accessed on December 30, 2018
  26. David Bowie film: first expressions of interest. Retrieved June 13, 2019 .
  27. The first photos from the David Bowie film. Retrieved August 29, 2019 .
  28. Christoph Dallach: Dance until you drop. In: Der Spiegel , April 28, 2008.
  29. David Bowie's Metamorphosis: tweet_video pbs.twimg.com, discontinued on January 16, 2016.
  30. Timeline about David Bowie as Thin White Duke , accessed November 11, 2010.
  31. Arad Alper: Taking it all the right way: was David Bowie a Fascist? ( Memento of March 13, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (on alleged tendencies towards fascism by Bowie), Tel Aviv University, 2007, accessed on November 11, 2010 (English).
  32. ^ Bowie Submerges for 'Spongebob' . Zap2it. October 12, 2006. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  33. Stuart Heritage: David Bowie Does SpongeBob SquarePants . In: Heckler Spray . October 12, 2006. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  34. David Bowie in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (English)
  35. ^ David Bowie commandeur des Arts et des Lettres. Institut national de l'audiovisuel , October 14, 1999, accessed on August 16, 2017 (French).
  36. ^ French Honor Bowie. (No longer available online.) October 13, 1999, archived from the original on August 17, 2017 ; accessed on August 16, 2017 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.davidbowie.com
  37. You can call me sir - musicians that have received honors from the Queen. New Musical Express , November 25, 2011, accessed August 16, 2017 .
  38. Ingi Agnarsson et al. a .: A radiation of the ornate Caribbean 'smiley-faced spiders', with descriptions of 15 new species (Araneae: Theridiidae, Spintharus). In: Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. zlx056, 2017, doi: 10.1093 / zoolinnean / zlx056
  39. At 67, David Bowie is the oldest winner ever to have been named best British solo artist at the Brit Awards. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , February 20, 2014.
  40. ^ Memorial plaque for David Bowie in Schöneberg destroyed. Berliner Morgenpost , September 18, 2016, accessed on August 16, 2017 .
  41. ^ David Bowie - Plaque replaced. Press release of the Berlin Senate Department for Culture, October 5, 2016, accessed on August 16, 2017 .
  42. Philipp Fritz: Bowie and the Pope. Warsaw's cultural scene is diverse, but the PIS party is gaining more and more influence. In: Berliner Zeitung , August 30, 2016, p. 21.
  43. 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Rolling Stone , December 2, 2010, accessed August 7, 2017 .
  44. The 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. Rolling Stone , August 2015, accessed August 7, 2017 .
  45. 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Rolling Stone , December 2, 2010, accessed August 7, 2017 .
  46. ^ Science fiction awards database - David Bowie . Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  47. Falcon Heavy Test Flight , from minute 25:40. SpaceX, Youtube video.
  48. By Frank Wunderlich-Pfeiffer: Falcon Heavy: With David Bowie into the solar system . In: golem.de , February 6, 2018.
  49. David Bowie: The Man Who Created Chaos. In: Hamburger Abendblatt , January 6, 2012.
  50. David Bowie - restless clock and style icon. In: Handelszeitung , January 11, 2016.
  51. David Bowie bequeaths fortunes to family and employees. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung , January 30, 2016.
  52. David Bowie leaves behind a fortune of $ 100 million. In: SZ.de, January 30, 2016.
  53. Bowie Bonds: Investing in a Legend. boerse.ard.de, January 11, 2016, accessed on February 11, 2017 .
  54. Alastair Marsh: Bowie: The Man Who Sold Royalties and Brought Music to Bonds. Bloomberg, January 11, 2016, accessed February 11, 2017 .
  55. ^ David Bowie: The Official Website ( Memento October 18, 1996 in the Internet Archive )
  56. Bowie's mismatched eyes were the result of a love rivalry. In: Daily Express , October 23, 2009.
  57. Spiegel.de of May 18, 2017
  58. Rolling Stone v. January 11, 2016
  59. Welt.de of July 15, 2012
  60. SWR3 of May 4, 1990 ( Memento of the original of August 17, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.swr3.de
  61. Why Are We Creative? In: Rise And Shine Shop. Retrieved April 10, 2019 .
  62. Why Are We Creative. Retrieved April 10, 2019 .