Born David Jones in a London suburb in 1947, David Bowie changed his name in the late '60s to avoid confusion with the singer David Jones of The Monkees. This name change would turn out to be a highly prescient act: for in incorporating an exceptionally wide variety of styles, Bowie would become the most notorious chameleon of the rock era. Due in large part to his early success in the glam rock subgenre and his claims of homosexuality (dismissed by many writers as a ploy to generate public interest and record sales), Bowie raised serious issues about sexual orientation in rock music, regardless of whether or not his claimed homosexuality was genuine or part of his on-stage character. His regular use of theatrical personae also raises interesting issues concerning authenticity and the perception of authenticity in rock music.
Although Bowie has been primarily an album artist, his recordings of Fame, Golden Years, Let's Dance, China Girl, Blue Jean, and Dancing in the Streets, all made it into the " Billboard" top 10 singles charts. Of these, all but one was written or co-written by Bowie. Even more notable are the songs he wrote and recorded that have made an impact far in excess of their chart standing. These include Space Oddity, Rebel, Rebel, Changes, Modern Love, and Young Americans. From his early 1970s albums like "Hunky Dory" and "The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars"-in both of which he assumed the character of the fictional, androgynous Stardust-to "Diamond Dogs, Heroes, Tin Machine," and "Black Tie White Noise," Bowie's albums generated both significant word-of-mouth interest and some of the most contentious critical reactions of any artist of the rock era.
This long overdue investigation lets Bowie's artistry speak for itself. After a biographical introduction, chronologically arranged chapters discuss the singer's fascinating--and iconoclastic--body of work. A discography and annotated bibliography conclude the book.
From noted author and rock ’n’ roll journalist Marc Spitz comes a major David Bowie biography to rival any other. Following Bowie’s life from his start as David Jones, an R & B—loving kid from Bromley, England, to his rise to rock ’n’ roll aristocracy as David Bowie, Bowie recounts his career but also reveals how much his music has influenced other musicians and forever changed the landscape of the modern era. Along the way, Spitz reflects on how growing up with Bowie as his soundtrack and how writing this definitive book on Bowie influenced him in ways he never expected, adding a personal dimension that Bowie fans and those passionate about art and culture will connect with and that no other bio on the artist offers.
Bowie takes an in-depth look at the culture of postwar England in which Bowie grew up, the mod and hippie scenes of swinging London in the sixties, the sex and drug-fueled glitter scene of the early seventies when Bowie’s alter-ego Ziggy Stardust was born, his rise to global stardom in the eighties and his subsequent status as an elder statesman of alternative culture. Spitz puts each incarnation of Bowie into the context of its era, creating a cultural time line that is intriguing both for its historical significance as well as for its delineation of this rock ’n’ roll legend, the first musician to evolve a coherent vision after the death of the sixties dream.
Amid the sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll mayhem, a deeper portrait of the artist emerges. Bowie’s early struggles to go from follower to leader, his tricky relationship with art and commerce and Buddhism and the occult, his complicated family life, his open romantic relationship and, finally, his perceived disavowal of all that made him a touchstone for outcasts are all thoughtfully explored. A fresh evaluation of his recorded work, as well as his film, stage and video performances, is included as well.
Based on a hundred original interviews with those who knew him best and those familiar with his work, including ex-wife Angie Bowie, former Bowie manager Kenneth Pitt, Siouxsie Sioux, Camille Paglia, Dick Cavett, Todd Haynes, Ricky Gervais and Peter Frampton, Bowie gives us not only a portrait of one of the most important artists in the last century, but also an honest examination of a truly revolutionary artist and the unique impact he’s had across generations.
From the Hardcover edition.
The Golden Years accounts for every live performance: when and where and who played with him. It details every known recording: session details, who played in the studio, who produced the song, and when and how it was released. It covers every collaboration, including production and guest appearances.
It also highlights Bowie's film, stage and television appearances: Bowie brought his theatrical training into every performance and created a new form of rock spectacle. The book follows Bowie on his journeys across the countries that fired his imagination and inspired his greatest work, and includes a detailed discography documenting every Bowie recording during this period, including tracks he left in the vault.
The Golden Years is an invaluable addition to the Digital shelves of any true Bowie fan.
The Music and The Changes kicks off with a timeline of Bowie's life, from his humble beginnings to his early albums to conquering the charts in the 1970s and 1980s and cementing his status as one of rock and pop music's most admired artists and icons. The real highlight for fans and those just getting into Bowie is the album by album and track by track analysis of every single one of his albums, up to and including his most recent release 'The Next Day'.
Wonderfully engrossing and incredibly detailed, this is indisputably the most complete analysis of Bowie's music ever published. Boasting release information, biography, historical details, full track listings and fascinating comments on individual tracks, David Bowie: The Music and The Changes is an authoritative and comprehensive guide to one of rock's most intriguing figures.
Drummer Woody Woodmansey is the last surviving member of Bowie’s band The Spiders from Mars which helped launch his Ziggy Stardust persona and made David Bowie a sensation.
In this first memoir to follow Bowie’s passing, Spider from Mars reveals what it was like to be at the white-hot center of a star’s self-creation. With never-before-told stories and never-before-seen photographs, Woodmansey offers details of the album sessions for The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and Aladdin Sane: the four albums that made Bowie a cult figure. And, as fame beckoned by eventually consumed Bowie, Woodmansey recalls the wild tours, eccentric characters, and rock ‘n’ roll excess that eventually drove the band apart.
A vivid and unique evocation of a transformative musical era and the enigmatic, visionary musician at the center of it, with a foreword by legendary music producer Tony Visconti and an afterword from Def Leppard's Joe Elliot, Spider from Mars is for everyone who values David Bowie, by one of the people who knew him best.