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David Bowie


David Bowie was born on 08/01/1947 in Brixton, London. His full birth name was David Robert Jones. In 1953, David and his family moved to Bromley, London. When he was 9, his father bought a collection of American 45s by artists such as the Teenagers, the Platters, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley and Little Richard. When he heard Little Richard's song "Tutti Frutti", David would later say he "had heard God". Elvis Presley would also be a big influence. By the end of the next year, David had taken up ukulele, tea chest bass and started playing the piano. He started playing in skiffle sessions with his friends. In 1961, his mother bought him a plastic alto saxophone after he began interested in modern jazz. In 1962, David was left seriously injured after being punched in the left eye by his friend George Underwood during a fight over a girl. After a series of operations along with four months in the hospital, he was left with faulty depth perception and a permanently dilated pupil which gave the impression of a different iris colour. Underwood and David would remain good friends despite the incident and Underwood would provide artwork for David's early albums. Also in 1962, David formed his first band called the Konrads, which included Underwood. David left technical school the next year and informed his parents he was going to be a pop star. His mother arranged for him to become an electrician mate. Bowie left the Konrads and joined the King Bees. David wrote to washing machine entrepreneur John Bloom and invited him to become their manager. Bloom did not respond but he referred them to Dick Jame's partner Leslie Conn. Conn began to promote. David released his first single "Liza Jane" credited to Davie Jones and the King Bees. Though it did not find commercial success. David quit the band less than a month later to join the Manish Boys. They released a cover of Bobby Bland's "I Pity the Fool" which was not a hit either. David moved again to join the Lower Third. They released "You've Got a Habit of Leaving". It was the last single with Conn as he came to the end of his contract. Ralph Horton became David's manager and moved him to another group called the Buzz. With the Buzz, he released another unsuccessful single called "Do Anything You Say". Whilst with the Buzz, David joined the Riot Squad, though no recordings were released. Ken Pitt took over as David's manager. David changed his name from Davy Jones, which was confused with Davy Jones from the Monkees, to David Bowie. The name was taken from the 19th-century pioneer James Bowie who invented the knife of the same name.
In 1967, Bowie released his debut single "The Laughing Gnome". Six weeks later, he released his debut album "David Bowie". It failed to chart and would be his last released for two years. Also in 1967, Bowie met dancer Lindsay Kemp and enrolled in his dance class. With Kemp, he developed an interest in his image. Bowie would also write the song "Over the Wall We Go" which was released in 1967 by Oscar.
In 1968, the Bowie song "Silly Boy Blue" was released by Billy Fury as a single. In January 1968, Bowie performed a Kemp choreographed dance scene with dancer Hermoine Farthingale for a BBC play called "The Pistol Shot". Bowie and Farthingale began dating and formed a group with John Hutchinson.
In 1969, Bowie and Farthingale broke up when she moved to Norway to take part in a film. He was deeply affected by the split and would reference her in several songs. They were last together for the filming of "Love You till Tuesday" it was not released till 1984. Bowie went on tour with Marc Bolan's duo Tyrannosaurus Rex, performing as a mime act. In July, Bowie released the single "Space Oddity" which reached the top 5 of the UK chart. It would also win an Ivor Novello Special Award For Originality. In November, Bowie released the album "David Bowie" which caused confusion being the same name as his first album. In the US, it was released as "Man of Words/Man of Music" and internationally as "Space Oddity". The album was not a commercial success at the time.
Bowie formed a band with John Cambridge, Tony Visconti and Mick Ronson. They called themselves the Hype but reverted to presenting Bowie as a solo act after a disastrous first gig. Cambridge was later replaced by Mick Woodmansey after a bust-up in the studio with Bowie. Bowie fired his manager Pitt and replaced him with Tony Defries. After years of litigation Bowie had to pay Pitt compensation.
In 1970, Bowie released the album "The Man Who Sold the World". Bowie went on US publicity tour for the album in 1971.
In 1971, Bowie released the album "Hunky Dory".
In 1972, Bowie launched his Ziggy Stardust persona with his backing band named the Spiders from Mars. The show was highly successful and he toured the UK to build a following. Later in 1972, Bowie released the album "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars". The album would remain in the chart for two years. At the same time, his composition "All the Young Dudes" was a hit for Mott the Hoople. His UK tour then went on to the US. Also in 1972, Bowie sang backing vocals on Lou Reed's album "Transformer" co-produced with Mick Ronson.
In 1973, Bowie released the album "Aladdin Sane" which reached number 1 on the UK chart. The songs "The Jean Genie" and "Drive-In Saturday" from the album both reached the UK top 5. His onstage personas would start to affect him offstage as he struggled to separate the two. In July 1973, Bowie retired the Ziggy Stardust persona. His earlier work was re-released including the novelty record "The Laughing Gnome" which reached number 6.
In 1974, Bowie moved the US. Initially, he moved to New York before later moving to Los Angeles. He released the album "Diamond Dogs" which included some soul and funk. It went to number 1 in the UK and included the hits "Rebel Rebel" and "Diamond Dogs". Also in 1974, Bowie released the live album "David Live" which charted at number 2 in the UK and number 8 in the US.
In 1975, Bowie released the album "Young Americans". Bowie described the sound of the album as "Plastic Soul". The song "Fame" co-written with John Lennon from the album would be his first US number 1. The song "Space Oddity" was re-released and became Bowie's first number 1 in the UK. Also in 1975, Bowie fired his manager and hired Michael Lippman who had been Bowie's lawyer during negotiations. Bowie fired Lippman the next year.
In 1976, Bowie released the album "Station to Station" with the new persona of the thin white duke. During the period, Bowie was suffering from drug addiction. He overdosed several times during the year. Later in the year, Bowie moved to Switzerland. In Switzerland Bowie's cocaine use decreased. By the end of 1976, Bowie moved to West Berlin to try to stop his drug addiction and restart his career. He worked in the studio with Brian Eno and lived with Iggy Pop. He co-wrote Iggy Pop's debut solo album called "The Idiot" and his second album "Lust for Life".
In 1977, Bowie released the album "Low" which he had produced in Germany and featured Krautrock influences. The album had mixed reviews when it was released. Bowie's former manager Tony Defries tried to prevent the release. The album still contained the single "Sound and Vision" which reached number 3 in the UK. Also in 1977, Bowie released the album "Heroes" the second album he had recorded in Germany. Robert Fripp would play on the album. The album reached number 3 on the UK chart. Bowie played the title track on Marc Bolan's TV show "Marc" and two days later for Bing Crosby's final CBS Christmas Special. He also sang a duet with Crosby of "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy".
In 1978, Bowie went on a world tour. By then he had kicked his drug habit.
In 1979, Bowie released the last of his Germany trilogy, the album "Lodger". It reached number 4 in the UK and number 20 in the US.
In 1980, Bowie released the album "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps". It featured the single "Ashes to Ashes". The song reached number 1 on the UK charts. Also in 1980, Bowie starred in the Broadway play "The Elephant Man".
In 1981, Bowie joined Queen for the hit single "Under Pressure". It reached number 1 in the UK.
In 1982, Bowie starred TV adaptation of "Baal".
In 1983, Bowie released the album "Let's Dance" co-produced with Nile Rodgers. The album went platinum in the UK and the US. The songs "Let's Dance", "Modern Love" and "China Girl" from the album became top 20 hits in both countries. Stevie Ray Vaughan would play the solo on the song "Let's Dance".
In 1984, Bowie released the album "Tonight". It also included Tina Turner and Iggy Pop. Bowie would win a Grammy Award for "Best Short Form Music Video" for the song "Blue Jean" from the album.
In 1985, Bowie performed at Wembley Stadium, London for Live Aid. He also released a duet cover with Mick Jagger of the song "Dancing in the Street" for Live Aid. In the same year, Bowie collaborated with the Pat Methany Group to record "This Is Not America" for the soundtrack of "The Falcon and the Snowman".
In 1986, Bowie starred in the film "Absolute Beginners". The film was not well received by critics but Bowie's theme song for the film reached number 2 on the UK chart. Bowie also appeared in the film "Labyrinth" in the same year.
In 1987, Bowie released the album "Never Let Me Down". It reached number 6 on the UK chart. Peter Frampton played the guitar on the following tour.
In 1989, Bowie founded the hard rock quartet Tin Machine with Reeves Gabrels, Tony Sales and Hunt Sales. In the same year, Tin Machine released their debut album "Tin Machine". The album reached number 3 in the UK. The band's first world was a commercial success. Tin Machine's singles failed to chart and Bowie left EMI after disagreeing with the label. Bowie put the band on hold to return to his solo career to tour.
In 1991, after Bowie returned to the band, Tin Machine released their second album "Tin Machine II". Following a disappointing response to the album and the live album that followed, Bowie resumed his solo career.
In 1992, Bowie appeared at "The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert" following Mercury's death the year before.
In 1993, Bowie released the album "Black Tie White Noise" co-produced by Nile Rodgers. The album featured influences from soul, jazz and hip-hop. The album reached number 1 on the UK charts. Also in 1993, Bowie released the soundtrack album "The Buddha of Suburbia" for the TV adaptation.
In 1995, Bowie released the quasi-industrial concept album "Outside".
In 1996, Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 1997, Bowie celebrated his 50th birthday with a concert at Madison Square Garden. It featured guest appearances from Lou Reed, Dave Grohl, Robert Smith, Billy Corgan and Black Francis. Also in 1997, Bowie released the album "Earthling". Later in 1997, Bowie performed on the BBC Children in Need charity single "Perfect Day". It reached number 1 in the UK.
In 1998, Bowie launched his own internet service provider called BowieNet. The service was closed in 2006.
In 1999, Bowie created the soundtrack for the computer game "Omikron". In the same year, Bowie released the album "Hours". The album featured a song with lyrics by the winner of an internet competition, Alex Grant. Also in 1999, Bowie was made a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. He also received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music.
In 2000, Bowie started work on the album "Toy". The album would never be released. In the same year, Bowie appeared at Glastonbury festival, 30 years after he appeared there for the first time. In the same year, Bowie turned down the honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
In 2001, Bowie opened the "Concert for New York City" a charity event to benefit the victims of the September 11 attacks.
In 2002, Bowie released the album "Heathen".
In 2003, Bowie released the album "Reality". Whilst on the tour for the album, Bowie was hit in the eye by a lollipop thrown by a fan, he suffered chest pain a week later whilst performing. The pain was diagnosed as an acutely blocked coronary artery, which required an emergency angioplasty in Hamburg. In the same year, Bowie turned down a Knighthood.
In 2004, Bowie sang a duet with Butterfly Boucher of his song "Changes" for the film "Shrek 2".
In 2005, he recorded vocals for the song "(She Can) Do That" co-written with Brian Transeau for the film "Stealth".
In 2006, Bowie was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2008, the spider Heteropoda davidbowie was named after him.
In 2013, Bowie released the album "The Next Day".
In 2014, Bowie became the oldest recipient of a Brit Award when he won the award for "Best British Male". Also in 2014, he released the compilation album "Nothing Has Changed".
In 2015, Bowie wrote and recorded the opening title song to the TV series "The Last Panthers". Later in 2015, Bowie's musical "Lazarus" debuted in New York. He made his last public appearance at the premiere. Also in 2015, a main-belt asteroid was named 342843 Davidbowie.
In 2016, Bowie released the album "Blackstar". It would be his final album and debuted at number 1 on the UK chart as well as in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and the US. At the Grammys, Bowie won five awards including his first for musical categories.
On 10/01/2016, two days after the release of "Blackstar", Bowie died from liver cancer in his New York apartment.