David Bowie

David Bowie

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David Bowie, whose real name is David Robert Jones, was a prolific English musician and songwriter who rose to international fame as a rock icon during the 1970s and 1980s, most notably for his highly successful record albums like The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, "Heroes" and Hunky Dory, amongst many others.



Born David Jones in Brixton, England, David Bowie released his first self-titled record in 1967. It wasn't a hit, and didn't bear much resemblance to his later music. His first real hits came from his second record, titled Space Oddity, which was released in 1969. It's title single reached #5, beginning Bowie's stardom there; true international pop stardom came with his fourth record, Hunky Dory, which had two hit singles: "Changes" and a re-issue of "Life on Mars." Bowie would go on to release 23 more studio albums after those initial four, including The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Pin Ups, Aladdin Sane, Low and many other hits. In addition, he released 9 live albums, and 46 compilation albums. He also appeared as a guest on albums by Iggy Pop, Tina Turner, Mick Ronson, and Lou Reed.[2]

Bowie's career was known for its shapeshifting nature – his records often sounded radically different from each other in style, instrumentation, and content. Bowie was also know for changing his personal style as well, often to fit the album's theme or vice versa. Ziggy Stardust was not only the name of one of his albums, but also its corresponding persona; in another creative era, Bowie went by the nickname "The Thin White Duke," a reference to a more straight-laced persona. Bowie was internationally regarded as a fashion icon as well as a musical one, and his costumes and off-stage clothing set trends worldwide. In 2012, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London created an exhibition regarding Bowie as an icon, featuring many of his original costumes and photographs from his own archives.[9]

Bowie was also known as an actor, especially in the 1980s.[8] Two of his more notable film roles were in 1983's The Hunger, in which he played a diabolical vampire, and Jim Henson's Labyrinth, in which he played Jareth, king of the Goblins. Both these films and others depended on Bowie for their soundtrack, as well.

Personal Life

Bowie was married in 1970 to Mary Angela "Angie" Bowie, and they had a child named Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones in 1971. Despite his marital status, Bowie was well known for embracing his bisexuality and disrupting the much stricter gender norms of the 1970s. In 1972, he declared himself gay in an interview, and was rumored to have had an affair with Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones around this time; however, he also pursued relationships with women, and he is considered an iconic figure to many who pursue lifestyles other than cisgender heterosexuality.

Throughout the 1970s, Bowie had a well-publicized addiction to cocaine, at one point claiming to exist purely on "cocaine, peppers, and milk." He suffered from several overdoses throughout the middle of the decade, and David and Angie Bowie divorced in 1980. In 1992, Bowie married the Somali supermodel Iman, and they had a daughter together in 2000. The couple has noted publicly that much of the success of their marriage has depended on keeping their personal life private, and have mostly stayed out of the spotlight with the exception of pursuing charitable causes.

Bowie has also been known for speaking out against racism in the music and media industries. After telling a journalist that he "believed strongly in fascism" during his "Thin White Duke" phase (a time during which he was also caught crossing a border with Nazi memorabilia), young British activists formed a movement called Rock Against Racism, calling Bowie and others out for their possibly tongue-in-cheek remarks. After that formation, Bowie reformed, and was repeatedly quoted on record asking MTV and others why they refused to play as much of the work of black artist as of white artists.[13]


On January 10th, 2016, Bowie died from liver cancer, only a few days after his 69th birthday and the release of his 25th studio album Blackstar. The news was made public by his various social media accounts,[4][5] and reported on by news outlets including the New York Times,[3] the BBC,[6] and the Independent,[7] among others.

Online Presence

The domain for the official website of David Bowie was registered at davidbowie.com [10][1] on August 6th, 1995, and the website has been actively running since then. In addition to the website, the official Facebook fan page[11] for the artist was created in May 2008, followed by the launch of his official Twitter account[12] in May 2009. At the time of his death (as of January 11th, 2016), the Facebook page has garnered nearly 6.4 million likes and the Twitter account has more than 756,000 followers.

Posthumous Petitions

After Bowie's death in early 2016, many started online petitions for various goals. Two separate petitions, one in Austin, Texas and one in Berlin, called for streets to be named after the musician. In Austin, where a street was already named after the inventor of the Bowie knife, one of the co-founders of South by Southwest altered the street's sign to add the word "David."[15] By January 20th, 2015, over 5,700 people had signed a Change.org petition to make the sign permanent, but Austin city officials claimed that it would be removed.[16] The Berlin version of the idea, which called for the Hauptstraße 155 to be renamed to David-Bowie-Straße, had over 11,600 supporters by the same date.[17]

Some petitions were more outlandish. One petition, created by an Italian fan, asked God to bring David Bowie back to life; as of January 20th, the petition had over 11,200 signatures.[18] Englad, the country of Bowie's birth, had a large amount of different petitions, including one asking for Bowie to be put on the £20 note (almost 40,000 signatures) and one asking for him to be placed on Royal Mail stamps (7,700 signatures). A Spanish fan created one asking for the newly discovered periodic element, #118, to be named Stardust in honor of the musician – that one received a paltry 37 signatures as of January 20th. Another astral petition asked for the planet Mars to be named Bowie, and that one received almost 7,000 signatures.

One of the most discussed petitions was a response to a response to his death. Musician Kanye West, a big Bowie fan, mused publicly that he was interested in doing a straightforward album of Bowie songs. Soon after, fans started a petition asking him not to; this petition reached more than 18,000 signatures as of the January 20th. The text of the petition read simply "David Bowie was one of the single most important musicians of the 20th and 21st century, it would be a sacrilege to let it be ruined by Kanye West."

Chris Hadfield "Space Oddity" Tribute

Chris Hadfield is a retired Canadian astronaut who is best known for his active social media presence while serving as the commander of the International Space Station (ISS) from December 2012 through May 2013. On May 12th, 2013, the day before his trip back to Earth, Hadfield shared a music video of himself covering David Bowie’s 1969 pop hit “Space Oddity” onboard the ISS (shown below). Within the first year of its YouTube premiere, the music video garnered more than 22 million views.

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