69 (passed away Jan. 10th, 2016)
Jan. 8th, 1947
Brixton, London, England, UK
David Bowie's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
David Bowie is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of pop music. Born David Jones, he changed his name to Bowie in the 1960s, to avoid confusion with the then well-known Davy Jones (I) (lead singer of The Monkees).
The 1960s were not a happy period for Bowie, who remained a struggling artist, awaiting his breakthrough. He dabbled in many different styles of music (without commercial success), and other art forms such as acting, mime, painting, and playwriting. He finally achieved his commercial breakthrough in 1969 with the song "Space Oddity," which was released at the time of the moon landing. Despite the fact that the literal meaning of the lyrics relates to an astronaut who is lost in space, this song was used by the BBC in their coverage of the moon landing, and this helped it become such a success. The album, which followed "Space Oddity," and the two, which followed (one of which included the song "The Man Who Sold The World," covered by Lulu (I) and Nirvana) failed to produce another hit single, and Bowie's career appeared to be in decline. However, he made the first of many successful "comebacks" in 1972 with "Ziggy Stardust," a concept album about a space-age rock star. This album was followed by others in a similar vein, rock albums built around a central character and concerned with futuristic themes of Armageddon, gender dysfunction/confusion, as well as more contemporary themes such as the destructiveness of success and fame, and the dangers inherent in star worship. In the mid 1970s, Bowie was a heavy cocaine abuser and sometime heroin user. In 1975, he changed tack. Musically, he released "Young Americans," a soul (or plastic soul as he later referred to it) album. This produced his first number one hit in the US, "Fame." He also appeared in his first major film, The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). With his different-colored eyes and skeletal frame, he certainly looked the part of an alien. The following year, he released "Station to Station," containing some of the material he had written for the soundtrack to this film (which was not used). As his drug problem heightened, his behaviour became more erratic. Reports of his insanity started to appear, and he continued to waste away physically. He fled back to Europe, finally settling in Berlin, where he changed musical direction again and recorded three of the most influential albums of all time, an electronic trilogy with Brian Eno "Low, Heroes and Lodger." Towards the end of the 1970s, he finally kicked his drug habit, and recorded the album many of his fans consider his best, the Japanese-influenced "Scary Monsters." Around this time, he played the Elephant Man on Broadway, to considerable acclaim.
The next few years saw something of a drop-off in his musical output as his acting career flourished, culminating in his acclaimed performance in Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983). In 1983, he recorded "Let's Dance," an album which proved an unexpected massive commercial success, and produced his second number 1 hit single in the US. The tour which followed, "Serious Moonlight," was his most successful ever. Faced with this success on a massive scale, Bowie apparently attempted to "repeat the formula" in the next two albums, with less success (and to critical scorn). Finally, in the late 1980s, he turned his back on commercial success and his solo career, forming the hard rock band, Tin Machine, who had a deliberate limited appeal. By now, his acting career was in decline. After the comparative failure of Labyrinth (1986), the movie industry appears to have decided that Bowie was not a sufficient name to be a lead actor in a major movie, and since that date, most of his roles have been cameos or glorified cameos. He himself also seems to have lost interest in movie acting. Tin Machine toured extensively and released two albums, with little critical or commercial success.
In 1992, Bowie again changed direction and re-launched his solo career with "Black Tie White Noise," a "wedding" album inspired by his recent marriage to Iman (I). To date, the 1990s have been kinder to Bowie than the late 1980s. He has released three albums to considerable critical acclaim and reasonable commercial success. In 1995, he renewed his working relationship with Brian Eno to record "Outside." After an initial hostile reaction from the critics, this album has now taken its place with his classic albums. In a career spanning four decades, Bowie has influenced the course of popular music several times and influenced several generations of musicians. His promotional videos in the 1970s and 80s are regarded as ground-breaking, and as a live concert act, he is regarded as the most theatrical of them all.
- 25 June 2004 - Had an emergency angioplasty in Germany while on his current tour. The remainder of the tour was obviously cancelled.
- His song "Life on Mars" was covered by 'Marillion' (qv) frontman 'Steve Hogarth' (qv) and the H Band on the album "Live Spirit: Live Body" (released 2002).
- In 1968 while he was still a struggling artist, Bowie wrote some English lyrics to a French song titled "Comme d'Habitude" (As Usual). His version, "Even a Fool Learns to Love", never did get recorded. But when the French melody caught the attention of 'Paul Anka' (qv), he reworked the lyrics and the song became "My Way". Of course, when 'Frank Sinatra' (qv) recorded "My Way" his way, it turned to gold.
- His song "Five Years" was covered by former 'Marillion' (qv) singer 'Fish (I)' (qv) on his 1993 album "Songs From The Mirror".
- He was loosely the basis for the film _Velvet Goldmine (1998)_ (qv).
- Turned down the role of Max Zorin for the 1985 James Bond film _A View to a Kill (1985)_ (qv), citing his lack of enthusiasm for recent Bond villains.
- Resides in London and New York City.
- Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.