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David Bowie Biography

Home > Music > B > Bowie, David > Biography

Birth Name: David Robert Hayward Jones
Born: 1947/01/08
Birth Place: Brixton, London, England
Years Active: 1964 –present
Genres: Rock, Glam Rock, Pop Rock, Art Rock, Blue-Eyed Soul, Psychedelic Rock, Protopunk

David Bowie (born David Robert Jones, January 8, 1947) is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. Active in five decades of popular music and frequently reinventing his music and image, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. He has been cited as an influence by many musicians and is known for his distinctive voice and the intellectual depth of his work.

Bowie's debut release was the 1964 single “Liza Jane” by Davie Jones & the King Bees. He released two more singles in 1965 under the names of The Manish Boys and Davy Jones & the Lower Third. His first release using the name David Bowie was the 1966 single, “Can't Help Thinking About Me,” which was released with The Lower Third. Bowie's next single, “Do Anything You Say,” also released in 1966, was the first release by simply David Bowie.

Bowie released four more singles and his debut 1967 solo album, “David Bowie” before he first had success in the United Kingdom with the 1969 single “Space Oddity.” The single reached #5 on the U.K. Singles chart after it was released five days before the Apollo 11 moon mission.

Bowie released three more albums, 1969’s “Space Oddity,” 1970’s “The Man Who Sold the World” and “Hunky Dory” in 1971, before he made it on to the U.K. Albums Chart with 1972’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” which peaked at #5. That album featured Bowie’s androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust and was spearheaded by the hit single “Starman.”

Following the success of “Ziggy Stardust,” sales of “Hunky Dory” improved and it eventually peaked at #3 in the U.K. RCA re-released “Space Oddity” and “The Man Who Sold the World,” which respectively reached #17 and #26 in the U.K. Charting singles from this era include “Life on Mars?,” and “Changes.”

Bowie released nine more studio albums with RCA, all of which reached the Top 5 of the U.K. Albums chart, of which 1973’s “Aladdin Sane” and “Pin Ups,” 1974’s “Diamond Dogs” and “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)” from 1980 reached the #1 position.

1975, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the #1 single “Fame,” co-written with John Lennon, and the hit 1975 album “Young Americans.” He then confounded the expectations of both his record label and his American audiences by recording the minimalist album “Low” in 1977 the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno over the next two years. During this time he had several successfully charting singles including “Golden Years,” “Rebel Rebel,” “'Heroes,” and “Young Americans.”

He then released three solo studio albums with EMI, starting with 1983’s “Let's Dance,” whose title track became his first single to reach #1 in both the U.K. and the United States. 1984’s “Tonight” and 1987’s “Never Let Me Down” followed. “Let's Dance” and “Tonight” reached #1 on the U.K. Albums chart, while “Never Let Me Down” reached #6. He paired with Queen for the 1981 UK chart-topping single “Under Pressure,”then reached a new commercial peak in 1983 with the album “Let's Dance,” which yielded the hit singles “Let's Dance,” “China Girl” and “Modern Love.”

In 1989 Bowie created the rock group Tin Machine, who released a self-titled album with EMI. Although “Tin Machine” reached #3 on the U.K. Albums chart, it did not sell well and Bowie and EMI did not renew their contract.

“Tin Machine II” followed in 1991 on London Records and, only reaching #23 in the U.K., was Bowie's worst-charting album since the 1973 re-release of “The Man Who Sold the World.” Continuing as a solo artist, Bowie's next album, 1993’a “Black Tie White Noise,” reached the #1 position on the U.K. Albums chart.

Since then, Bowie has released five studio albums, all of which have reached the top ten in the UK. The most recent, 2003’s “Reality,” reached #3 in the U.K

Bowie has been honored with numerous awards for his music and its accompanying videos, receiving, among others, two Grammy Awards and two BRIT Awards. Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. In 1999, Bowie was made a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. He declined the British honour Commander of the British Empire in 2000, and a knighthood in 2003. Throughout his career he has sold an estimated 136 million albums.