David Bowie (born David Robert Jones; 8th January 1947 – 10th January 2016) was a highly-influential and iconic English musician, songwriter, music producer, actor and artist. He was known for frequent changes of musical and performance styles throughout his career, which included 27 studio and nine live albums, as well as several film appearances.
Bowie was born in Brixton, London, and studied art, music and design at Bromley Technical High School. His left eye was left permanently dilated after a fight with George Underwood, a friend who later created the cover art for Bowie's early albums. The first, Space Oddity, was released in 1969.
In 1972, Bowie debuted his most famous alter-ego, 'Ziggy Stardust'. With red hair and an androgynous appearance, Bowie saw considerable success, particularly for the "Starman" single. He moved to the US in 1974, reinventing himself with a new style he called "plastic soul" and a fresh persona, the 'Thin White Duke'. By this point, Bowie was suffering drug-related problems, and later described himself in this period as "out of my mind". Nevertheless, he took on a major film role in 1976 with his lead performance in The Man Who Fell to Earth.
The 1980s saw further commercial success for Bowie, with his platinum-selling album Let's Dance. In the 1990s, his Black Tie White Noise album included strong electronic and hip-hop influences. In 2004, he suffered a heart attack, but later returned to performing. His final album, Blackstar, was released on his 69th birthday and just two days before his death from cancer.
- Quoted in Christopher Sandford (1996) Bowie: Loving the Alien.