David Bowie: Biography and music career

Published At: 08 February 2020 , 04:23 PM


David Bowie is a famous British singer and musician who was involved in musical creativity for more than 50 years.

"Rock Chameleon" by David Bowie

The "Rock Chameleon" created the most substantial legendary cult in the music world and became one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century due to constant innovative transformations in all genres of music. Effectively alternating images from a folk singer to an alien, he won the title of one of the most successful artists in the history of the British charts and the best musicians of the last 60 years.

Childhood and youth

David Robert Jones (later David Bowie) was born on January 8, 1947, in Brixton, London, in the family of Irish Margaret Mary Peggy, who worked as a cashier at the cinema, and Hayward Stanton John Jones, an English national who was a clerk in the human resources department of the charity. Later it turns out that David was born on the same day as his idol Elvis Presley, precisely 12 years after him. According to the zodiac sign, both musicians turned out to be Capricorn, and according to Chinese astrology, the Boar became their patron.

David Bowie in childhood and adolescence

At the time of the birth of his son, David's parents lived in a civil marriage, only after eight months, they legalized their relationship. From early childhood, the future rock musician showed his interest in music, and in the preparatory school, he established himself as a talented, purposeful and intelligent boy. At the same time, he was a slightly naughty child with a cocky character, which did not prevent him from receiving high marks in school performance.

david bowie

In 1953, David Bowie's family moved to Bromley, where he enrolled in Burnt Ash Primary School. In school, he began to study music, attended a choir and music club, where teachers noted his phenomenal ability to interpret. After he first heard the songs of Elvis Presley, David decided that he would undoubtedly become a pop star. He persuaded his father to buy him a ukulele and independently fashioned bass to participate in skill sessions with friends. Passion for music negatively affected school performance, as a result of which Bowie failed his final exam and went to study at a technical college.

David Bowie in his youth

In college, the future rock star discovered modern jazz and got the idea to become a saxophonist. Then he had to work as a loader in a local butcher's shop to buy his first pink-plastic Selmer saxophone, and a year later his mother gave David a white alto saxophone for Christmas.

At the age of 15, a misfortune happened with Bowie - he fought with his friend in college and received a severe injury to his left eye. The next four months, the musician spent in the hospital, where doctors performed a series of operations to prevent his blindness. Alas, they failed to fully restore their vision, as a result of which the singer partially lost his perception of colour, and after the transformation, the eye began to see everything in brown. Also, for the rest of his life, the musician remained with signs of heterochromia, the color of the iris of the injured eye remained darker.

David Bowie diagnosed with heterochromia and anisocoria of the eye

By the end of college, the future legend of rock music could play many musical instruments, including a guitar, saxophone, keyboards, harpsichord, electric guitar, vibraphone, ukulele, harmonica, piano, koto and percussion. Given that the singer was left-handed from birth, he uses musical instruments as a right-hander and plays the right-handed guitar.

Music and creativity

David Bowie's musical career began with the creation of his band The Kon-rads, with whom he played rock and roll at local weddings and parties. But the aspirations of a novice musician did not allow him to stay in its composition, and he moved to the team of "The King Bees". Working with the new group, David Jones wrote a bold letter to millionaire John Bloom, asking the oligarch to become its producer and earn another million. But Bloom ignored the aspiring musician's offer and handed his letter to one of the Beatles songwriters Leslie Conn, who became interested in Bowie and entered into his first contract.

David Bowie in his youth

Even in his youth, David took the pseudonym Bowie to avoid confusion with Davy Johnson from The Monkees, who was gaining popularity in those years. A star named David Bowie was born on January 14, 1966. Then he began performing in the famous Club "Marks" as part of the band "The Lower Third". The first few recorded singles of the singer were completely disastrous, which led to the termination of the contract with Conn. After that, Bowie released his debut album and marked the sixth single, which also did not hit the charts.

David Bowie - Life On Mars? ("Is there life on Mars?")

The first setbacks in the music arena forced the musician to abandon his dream for several years. He plunged into the world of theatrical performances and joined the circus. Studying dramatic art, Bowie wholly immersed in the creation of images, characters and characters, which later conquered the whole world.

The first success in the musical direction to David Bowie came only seven years after the start of his career. His single "Space Oddity" in 1969 was in the top five of the British charts, after which he released the self-titled album, which became successful throughout Europe. The musician stirred up the rock culture that existed at that time, giving this genre of music progressiveness.

David Bowie - Space Oddity

In 1970, Bowie released his third album, The Man Who Sold the World, in which he switched to hard rock. Critics called this work of the musician "the beginning of the era of glam rock." After that, the singer creates the group "Hype", which includes the first big concert, performing under the pseudonym Ziggy Stardust. He made a splash in the music world and lifted the musician to the pinnacle of fame.

World fame came to David Bowie in 1975 after the release of the album Young Americans, which included the musical piece "Fame", which became the first hit in the United States. At that time, he performed on stage in the image of the Exhausted White Duke, performing rock ballads.

David Bowie - Fame

In 1980, Bowie again blew up the musical world with the Scary Monsters record, which brought the musician not only fame and recognition but also huge profit. Then he began to collaborate with the popular group "Queen", with whom he recorded the song "Under Pressure", which became the No. 1 hit on the British charts. In 1983, the musician released the next album with dance music "Let's Dance", which became a bestseller - its sales reached 14 million copies.

Queen & David Bowie - Under Pressure

In the early 90s, the singer began experimenting with images and genres, securing the status of a "rock chameleon." He deftly preserving an individual image, constantly changes musical directions and themes of songs, appearing on stage in different photos. During this period, he released several albums, the most exciting and conceptual of which was "1.Outside". In 1997, the rock musician celebrated his 50th birthday at Madison Square Garden, where he awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his invaluable contribution to the recording industry.

Outrageous David Bowie experimented with images

David Bowie's latest album was Blackstar, which he released on January 8, 2016, on his 69th birthday. It included seven compositions, some of which will be used later in the musical "Lazarus" and the series "The Last Panthers". In the last two video clips created for the songs "The Stars" and "The Next Day", famous artists such as Tilda Swinton, Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard played. The last appearance of the singer on the screen was a clip for the musical composition "Lazarus", in which David appeared in the role of a dying old man.

The artist's discography is 26 studio and nine concert albums, 46 collections. David Bowie also has 112 singles and 56 clips. The legend of rock music in 2002 entered the list of "100 Greatest Britons" and received the title of the most famous singer of all time. In 2006, he was awarded a Grammy Award for his contribution to the development of world music.

David Bowie - Aladdin Sane

In addition to music, David Bowie actively starred in films. During his creative biography, Bowie managed to turn from an actor who transforms mainly into the images of rebel musicians, into a diverse master of reincarnation. The musician played the role of an alien in the science-fiction film "The Man Who Fell to the Ground", the goblin king in the American children's movie "Labyrinth", work in the drama "Beautiful Gigolo, Poor Gigolo."

David Bowie in the movie "Labyrinth"

Together with Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon David Bowie appeared in the erotic-vampire horror "Hunger" in the role of a 200-year-old vampire. No less significant work was the role of Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese's film "The Last Temptation of Christ". In the image of the FSB agent, the singer starred in the prequel to the mystical cult series of the 90s "Twin Peaks: Through the Fire".

In the drama "Basquiat" about an artist of African descent, David Bowie tried on the role of Andy Warhol. The last film role of the legend of rock music was the main character of the movie "Prestige" Nikola Tesla, in which he played with Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale.

David Bowie in the TV series Twin Peaks Through Fire

Interestingly, David Bowie visited Russia three times. The musician's first tour took place in the 70s, then David crossed 1/6 of the land from the Far East to Moscow. The second appearance in the capital of Russia took place a year later. This time the artist was compiled by his friend and colleague, Iggy Pop.

David Bowie and Iggy Pop in Moscow

Well, in the late 90s, a rock star was already waiting for a concert in the Grand Kremlin Palace, which he brilliantly held, although he was unsatisfied with the performance.

Personal life

The personal life of David Bowie has always interested his fans. This is due to the fact that in the mid-70s in an interview, he declared his bisexuality. Since then, David Bowie's sexual orientation has widely discussed in society, even though in 1993 he denied these frank confessions, calling them the biggest mistake of life.

David Bowie with wife Angela Barnett and son Zoe

The rock musician associated his past interest in homo- and bisexuality with the "fashion trends" of that time, and not with the manifestations of his true feelings. At the same time, he emphasized that having created the image of a bisexual, he managed to achieve fame and realize his dreams.

The rock musician was married twice, and he has two adult children. The first time Bowie married in 1970, model Angela Barnett, who in 1971 gave birth to his son Duncan Zoe Haywood Jones. Since David Bowie had a strong friendship with Mick Jagger in those years, fans suggest that the rocker wrote the romantic ballad "Angie" in honor of Barnett, although Jagger himself does not confirm this information.

David Bowie and Mick Jagger - Dancing In The Street

Bowie's first marriage broke up after ten years of marriage. David's son later became famous in the field of cinema, creating as a director of the films "Moon 2112" and "Source Code". The same years saw a time of close cooperation with Iggy Pop, the godfather of grunge and punk rock, about which the biographical documentary "Lust for Life" was later created.

David Bowie and Iman Abdulmajid

In 1992, David Bowie again went down the aisle - his second chosen one was the model from Somalia, Iman Abdulmajid. Before the wedding, the girl became famous for starring in the role of Nefertiti in the Michael Jackson video clip "Remember the Time". In 2000, the couple had a daughter, Alexandria Zahra. Choosing models as wives, Bowie could afford it, because his height was 178 cm with a weight of 74 kg. A tall, athletic physique, the singer looked harmoniously in the photo next to each of the chosen ones.

David Bowie with his wife

In 2004, Bowie underwent severe heart surgery associated with a blockage of the heart artery. He underwent angioplasty, after which it took time to recover. Then he began to appear on stage rarely and reduced the number of performances. In 2011, information appeared that the "rock chameleon" had completed his singing career, but in 2013 he again began to delight fans with the release of new albums.


On January 10, 2016, David Bowie died in London. The death of the legend of rock music came as a result of a 1.5-year-old battle with cancer. During this time, in addition to the primary illness, the artist was attacked by heart problems - he suffered six heart attacks. The singer began to have health problems in the mid-70s when he became addicted to drugs.

David Bowie shortly before his death

Even though the singer managed to get rid of drug addiction, she left an indelible mark on his health - Bowie suffered from memory lapses and compared his brain with "leaky Swiss cheese".

The death of David Bowie came in the family circle and with the support of loved ones. Before his death, the singer managed to celebrate his 69th birthday, marking the release of his new album "Blackstar". He left behind a rich musical heritage around the world, selling more than 136 million of his records and discs.

David Bowie Dies of Oncology

According to the will, the singer's body cremated, and the ashes buried in a secret place on the island of Bali. Following the example of his friend and colleague Freddie Mercury, David Bowie did not want to worship his monument, so he insisted on a modest burial, which only relatives know about.


Since the death of a musician, interest in his personality has not declined. In 2017, he was awarded the BRIT Awards in the category "Best British Performer". Such an award had never before awarded posthumously. With the help of the Internet, a money collection began to erect a monument in honor of David Bowie but failed to raise the required amount. And only in 2018, a bronze sculpture appeared in Aylesbury, which was called the "Earth Messenger".

Monument to David Bowie

After the death of the star, some fans named Brian Molko, the leader of Placebo, a charismatic androgynous musician with whom David Bowie maintained friendly relations, his successor.