Known for his distinctive voice, David Bowie, born David Robert Jones, is an Englishman recognized the world over for his work as a music producer, actor, and musician. Read on to know more about his life…
Often cited as a major influence by musicians around the world, David Bowie changed the scene of popular music drastically, imbibing thought-provoking lyrics with subtle arrangements. His trademark baritone voice has relentlessly captured the hearts of audiences around the globe.
Born on January 8, 1947, in Brixton, London, Bowie’s parents, Hayward Stenton Jones and Margaret Mary, tied the knot soon after he was born. At the age of six, his family shifted to Bromley in Kent. David Bowie did his schooling from Bromley Technical High School. He developed an interest in music at the age of nine, when his father gave him records by Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Fats Domino. At the age of fifteen, he got punched on his left eye by his friend, George Underwood, who was wearing a ring, all for the sake of a girl. Bowie, who could just as easily have been completely blinded by this blow, missed school for eight months, due to the frequent operations performed by doctors on his eye. The extent of damage done to his injured eye couldn’t be corrected fully by doctors; the vision through his left eye is a brown tone.
Despite all this, Bowie and Underwood’s friendship grew steadily, with Underwood contributing significantly on the artwork done on Bowie’s early albums.
‘The Konrads’ was the first band that Bowie formed, in 1962. Thereon, he performed with different bands, doing blues and beat shows. In the early 1960s, Bowie used to perform under the stage name ‘Davie Jones’, at a time when Davy Jones, a vocalist of ‘The Monkees’, was doing relatively well in the music fraternity. To avoid confusion between the two names, David chose the name ‘Bowie’. With an inclination towards performing arts, Bowie studied the tricks of the trade from Lindsay Kemp. In the year 1967, he released a self-titled album with Deram records, which was an amalgamation of psychedelic and pop.
Bowie garnered serious attention from fans and critics all over the world with the release of the 1969 single ‘Space Oddity’. In November of the same year, he released his second album, which was also a self-titled album. It was named Man of Music/Man of Words to avoid confusion between the first and the second album. Later, it was re-released and popularized by RCA records as ‘Space Oddity’. Influenced by the British heavy metal scene, his next offering was an album called ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, which incorporated a new sound, using the services of Mick Ronson. The 1971 album ‘Hunky Dory’ explored the lyrical prowess of Bowie. His influence of diverse artists led him to include songs such as ‘Song for Bob Dylan’ and ‘Andy Warhol’.
The conceptual album ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ narrates a musical story of a world that is coming to an end through the protagonist, Ziggy Stardust. The album was critically acclaimed the world over, and songs such as ‘Suffragette City’ and ‘Moonage Daydream’ became cult favorites. This album, which was a benchmark in conceptual album releases, paved the way for Bowie’s long and rewarding career in music.
Over the years, he has recorded a number of albums that have enjoyed chart-topping success, and even today, he continues to baffle and enthrall audiences with his enigmatic style and eclectic approach towards music.