David, born as David Robert Jones, was born in Brixton, south London. His mother was a waitress with an Irish decent named Margaret Mary ‘’Peggy’’. His father was from Yorkshire and worked for a charity for children called Barnardo’s. His name was Haywood Stenton ‘’John’’ Jones. They had a home near the border of Brixton and Stockwell. He studied at the Stockwell Infants School and was considered as a gifted child there until they moved to a suburb in Bromley. Two years later, he joined the Burnt Ash Junior School. There, he was a part of the choir group and performed astonishingly well in dance classes as a child. He was also talented in playing the wooden instrument called recorder. His passion further ignited when he came into the influence of the American music by artists like
Elvis Presley, the Platters, etc.
During his school life, he learnt to play the piano, the ukulele, tea-chest bass and also the plastic alto saxophone after being introduced to modern jazz. He joined the Bromley Technical High School where he studied art, music, layout and typesetting. His early phase of the career was a series of failures. He formed a band called the Konrads in 1962 with an intention to become a pop star. His band-mates did not share the same aspirations which made David leave the band to join another band called the King Bees. For financial support, he wrote to John Bloom, a machine entrepreneur, to seek what was done for the Beatles by Brian Epstein. The effort failed, but he landed a deal with Leslie Conn who was Dick James’ partner.
When Leslie began to promote David, he took up the name Davie Jones and released a single called Liza Jane with the band King Bees. It was the beginning of a series of failed releases as Liza Jane got no commercial success. Davie quit the band and joined the blues band Manish Boys. With them, he released ‘’I Pity the Fool’’ which was another failure. He joined another band called the Lower Third after leaving the Manish Boys with whom he released ‘’You’ve Got a Habit of Leaving’’, a failure. With the band
The Buzz, he released ‘’Do Anything You Say’’ which did not gain any success too. This continued until he took up the stage name David Bowie released his own single album of the same name. It failed like the past projects as well after which he was not seen for two years.
After tasting failure again, he went away from the industry for a while to experiment other things. He experimented with dancing by joining the London Dance Center in 1967 where he met Lindsay Kemp who affected his life in a major way. He also joined the Tibet House, London to study more about Buddhism. Funnily enough, he was told by a Lama just to pursue music as it was his calling. He also started a troupe known as Feathers which performed mimes. During this break period of his, he got married to Angela Barnett. They remained married for ten years (1970-1980) and had a son named Duncan Jones.
By 1969, Bowie returned to music with full dedication. He released a single called Space Oddity with Mercury Records, and it marked the beginning of numerous successful songs and albums. That song resonated with the audience and the charts had it at number 15 in 1972. It was also used by BBC during Apollo 11’s moon landing. He released two albums in consecutive years from 1970 called The Man Who Sold the World and Hunky Dory respectively which shot him up to stardom. He was always known for his experimental gigs and one that really stuck on was him becoming an imagined character called Ziggy Stardust who was a part of the band The Spiders from Mars.
The stunt got famous really quickly, and he released an album as Stardust called ‘’The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’’. He used wild costumes and acted differently. This marked the end of the 1960s as well as of the Woodstock era. He let go of Stardust in 1973 and released an album in the same year called Aladdin Sane which featured
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. He then released an album full of cover songs called Pin Ups. He released two more albums in 1974 and 1975 called David Live and
Young Americans respectively. The latter had his first number one song in America. He updated his previous Space Oddity and released a new version called Ashes to Ashes as a part of the album Scary Monsters in 1980. It was highly appreciated.
In 1980, his Let’s Dance album came out which was a success too. On the side, he did many acting gigs too. In 1976, he had the title role in the movie called The Man Who Fell to Earth. His Broadway debut was with his performance in The Elephant Man (1980) in which he was appreciated a lot by the critics and the audience. He was also a part of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth which was a cult classic movie. His musical career suffered a bit when he collaborated with the Tin Machine and released two failed albums with them. His own album called Black Tie White Noise also failed to impress the fans. The album was supposed to be a wedding gift for his wife Iman whom he married in 1992 and remained with her until his death in 2016. They had a daughter together.
In 1996, he was honoured when he was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After having suffered and recovered from a heart attack in 2004, he joined work again and collaborated with Arcade Fire,
Scarlett Johansson, etc. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy’s in 2006. He lay flat for a few years until 2013 in which he released the album called The Next Day which immediately got placed at number 2 on the charts. In 2014, Nothing Has Changed came out which was a big hit.
In 2015, he joined another acting gig in which he replayed his character from The Man Who Fell to Earth in its Off Broadway version called Lazarus. On his birthday in 2016, an album was released called Blackstar which was later known to be his final album and a way to say goodbye to everyone. He had been struggling with cancer for around 18 months, and that album was his ‘’parting gift’’. He passed away on January 10th, 2016 surrounded by his family.