Sad news music fans, David Bowie has died after an 18 month battle with liver cancer. His death occurred two days after he turned 69 years old and released his twenty fifth studio album, Blackstar.
Here are some facts about David Bowie:
- He was born as David Robert Jones on the 8th of January 1947 in Brixton, London, England.
- He shared his birthday with Elvis Presley.
- Bowie started playing the saxophone when he was 12 years old.
- He changed his stage name from Davy Jones to David Bowie to avoid confusion with Davy Jones (who was a member of the Monkees).
- One of his pupils was permanently dilated. His friend George Underwood punched him in the eye while they were still at school. The fight was over a girl.
- His first-ever release was Liza Jane/Louie Louie Go Home in June 1964, under the name of Davie Jones with The King-Bees. He released his self-titled debut album in 1967.
- When he was 17, he was interviewed on the BBC as the founder of The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-haired Men. He complained: “It’s not nice when people call you darling and that”.
- At the same age, Bowie (who was then still David Jones) loved meeting his friend Reginald Kenneth Dwight (later Elton John) at the Soho’s Giaconda Cafe, to talk about music.
- His first hit in the UK – 1969’s “Space Oddity” was used by the BBC in its coverage of the moon landing.
- Bowie’s first US number one was his single “Fame” in 1975. It was co-written by former Beatle John Lennon and features him on backing vocals.
- It is believed that David Bowie sold +/- 140 million albums during the course of his career.
- He appeared in numerous films including “The Man Who Fell to Earth” (1976), “Labyrinth” (1986), “Zoolander” (2001) and “The Prestige” (2006).
- His song “The Man Who Sold The World” has been covered by Lulu and Nirvana.
- Bing Crosby recorded his last-ever single with David Bowie. Their duet version of “The Little Drummer Boy” was recorded for Christmas 1977. It was a hit 5 years later.
- He was offered a knighthood from the Queen in 2003, but turned it down. He told The Sun, “I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don’t know what it’s for. It’s not what I spent my life working for.”
- In 1990, Queen and Bowie filed a lawsuit against American rapper Vanilla Ice for copying the bass line of “Under Pressure” with only minor modifications in his song “Ice Ice Baby”. The dispute was later resolved with an undisclosed out-of-court settlement.
- Bowie toured as the character Ziggy Stardust (with his backing band the Spiders from Mars) from 1972-73, before retiring the persona live on stage at the Hammersmith Odeon in June 1973, stating: “not only is this the last show of the tour, but it’s the last show that we’ll ever do.” Bowie later said that the alter-ego “wouldn’t leave me alone for years. That was when it all started to go sour … My whole personality was affected. It became very dangerous. I really did have doubts about my sanity.”
I have to admit that I’m not familiar with ALL of his music, but I have to admit that David Bowie had a huge impact on music. Check out this live performance of his song “Starman” from 1972 below:
To quote his producer, Tony Visconti:
“He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry.”
RIP David Bowie, your music will be enjoyed and you will be remembered by many generations to come.
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