David Bowie born David Robert Jones, 8 January 1947 is an English rock musician and singer who has also worked as an actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for five decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s, and is known for his distinctive voice and the intellectual depth of his work.
Although he released an album (David Bowie) and several singles earlier, Bowie first caught the eye and ear of the public in July 1969, when the song "Space Oddity" reached the top five of the UK Singles Chart. 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 merely one facet of a career marked by continual reinvention, musical innovation and striking visual presentation.
In 1975, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the number-one single "Fame", co-written with John Lennon, 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 minimalist album Low (1977)—the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno over the next two years. The so-called "Berlin Trilogy" albums all reached the UK top five and garnered lasting critical praise.
After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single "Ashes to Ashes" and its parent album, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). He paired with Queen for the 1981 UK chart-topping single "Under Pressure", then reached a new commercial peak in 1983 with the album Let's Dance, which yielded the hit singles "Let's Dance", "China Girl", and "Modern Love". Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including blue-eyed soul, industrial, adult contemporary, and jungle. His last recorded album was Reality (2003), which was supported by the 2003–2004 Reality Tour.
Biographer David Buckley says of Bowie: "His influence has been unique in popular culture—he 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 136 million albums. In the United Kingdom, he has been awarded 9 Platinum album certifications, 11 Gold and 8 Silver, and in the United States, 5 Platinum and 7 Gold certifications. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him 39th on their list of the "100 Greatest Rock Artists of All Time", and 23rd on their list of the best singers of all-time.
* 1 History
o 1.1 1947–1962: Early years
o 1.2 1962–1968: The Konrads to the Riot Squad
o 1.3 1969–1973: Psychedelic folk to glam rock
+ 1.3.1 Space Oddity to Hunky Dory
+ 1.3.2 Ziggy Stardust
o 1.4 1974–1976: Soul, funk and the Thin White Duke
o 1.5 1976–1979: The Berlin era
o 1.6 1980–1989: From superstar to megastar
o 1.7 1989–1991: Tin Machine
o 1.8 1992–1999: Electronica
o 1.9 1999–present: Neoclassicist Bowie
* 2 Acting career
* 3 Sexual orientation
* 4 Musicianship
o 4.1 Voice and instruments
o 4.2 Compositions
* 5 Legacy
* 6 Awards and recognition
* 7 Discography
* 8 See also
* 9 Notes
* 10 References
* 11 Further reading
* 12 External links
1947–1962: Early years
David Bowie was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, London, on 8 January 1947. His mother, Margaret Mary "Peggy" (née Burns), of Irish descent, worked as a cinema usherette, while his father, Haywood Stenton "John" Jones, was a promotions officer for Barnardo's. The family lived at 40 Stansfield Road, located near the border of the south London areas of Brixton and Stockwell. A neighbour recalled that "London in the forties was the worst possible place, and the worst possible time for a child to grow up in." Bowie attended Stockwell Infants School until he was six years old, acquiring a reputation as a gifted and single-minded child—and a defiant brawler.
The family moved in 1953 to nearby suburb, Bromley, where, two years later, Bowie progressed to Burnt Ash Junior School. His singing voice was considered "adequate" by the school choir, and his recorder playing judged to demonstrate above-average musical ability. At the age of nine, his dancing during the newly introduced music and movement classes was strikingly imaginative: teachers called his interpretations "vividly artistic" and his poise "astonishing" for a child. The same year, his interest in music was further stimulated when his father brought home a collection of American 45s by artists including Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, The Platters, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley and Little Richard.Upon listening to "Tutti Frutti", Bowie would later say, "I had heard God". Presley's impact on him was likewise emphatic: "I saw a cousin of mine dance to ... 'Hound Dog' and I had never seen her get up and be moved so much by anything. It really impressed me, the power of the music. I started getting records immediately after that. By the end of the following year he had taken up the ukelele and tea-chest bass and begun to participate in skiffle sessions with friends, and had started to play the piano; meanwhile his stage presentation of numbers by both Presley and Chuck Berry—complete with gyrations in tribute to the original artists—to his local Wolf Cub group was described as “mesmerizing ... like someone from another planet. Failing his eleven plus exam at the conclusion of his Burnt Ash Junior education, Bowie joined Bromley Technical High School