The Life and Death of David Bowie



Bowie in action

David Bowie is one of England’s biggest names in the music business. He was born David Robert Jones in Brixton England on January 8th, 1947. He grew up with many American influences like Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Little Richard, and The Platters. As a teenager he learned how to play the upright bass and ukulele. In 1962, Bowie formed his first band, a simple, old-school, rock-and-roll band. With the uprising of the pop bands at the time, such as The Beatles and Herman’s Hermits, it was very hard for a traditional rocker like Bowie to get big. Another upcoming star at this time was David Jones of the American band The Monkees. This promptly made him change his name to David Bowie. In 1966, Bowie released his debut album, and it gave him some success, but nothing noteworthy. After 3 years of working on his “sound” Bowie released Hunky Dory. This was his breakthrough record. It had hits like “Life on Mars,” “Queen Bitch,” and the unforgettable “Space Oddity.”

In 1972, Ziggy Stardust, Bowie’s alter ego was born. This bisexual alien from Mars that wore too much eye makeup left fans in awe after every performance. Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was an album like no other, it told Ziggy’s story of coming to earth and the things he encountered on his journey. At the end of 1974, Bowie killed off Ziggy. The glam era was dying and disco was the hot new trend. Bowie released Fame in 1976 with hits like “Young Americans” and “Fame.” In the next few years, Bowie released some albums that got decent reviews like Station to Station, Diamond Dogs, and Heroes. In 1983, he released Let’s Dance, and after years without any big hits, Bowie was back and better than ever. This album, offered all kinds of hit songs like “Cat People (Putting out Fire with Gasoline),” “Modern Love,” and the extremely popular dance tune, “Let’s Dance.” Also around this time, Bowie released “Under Pressure” with rock legends Queen.

In 1986, he starred in the Jim Henson classic, Labyrinth. He was at the height of his popularity, but also the height of his drug use. During the 80’s Bowie was a regular user of cocaine. It took him until his marriage and the birth of his daughter to finally get clean. In the 90’s, Bowie stayed out of the spotlight, releasing only one album. In 2006, he had his last tour, The Reality Tour. This tour stretched worldwide and fans were pleased with the setlist. In January of 2016, Bowie released his final album Blackstar. On January 10th, 2 days after the release of Blackstar and his 69th birthday, David Bowie died of liver cancer. He had been diagnosed two years prior and kept it hidden from the public. His death shocked and saddened fans all over the world. His music goes on to inspire musicians all across the globe and makes outcasts feel wanted. There is no doubt his music will stand the test of time.