David Bowie was an English singer, songwirter and actor. One of the worlds’ best selling music artists. Let’s see some amazing facts and trivia about him.
1.His real name was David Robert Jones.
2. He was born on January 8, 1947 and passed away at January 11 2017.
3. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million worldwide, made him one of the world’s best-selling music artists. In the UK, he was awarded nine platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, releasing eleven number-one albums.
4. In the US, he received five platinum and seven gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
5. Born in Brixton, South London, Bowie developed an interest in music as a child, eventually studying art, music and design before embarking on a professional career as a musician in 1963. “Space Oddity” became his first top-five entry on the UK Singles Chart after its release in July 1969.
6. After a period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with his flamboyant and androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The character was spearheaded by the success of his single “Starman” and album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which won him widespread popularity.
7. In 1975, Bowie’s style shifted radically towards a sound he characterised as “plastic soul”, initially alienating many of his UK devotees but garnering him his first major US crossover success with the number-one single “Fame” and the album Young Americans.
8. In 1976, Bowie starred in the cult film The Man Who Fell to Earth and released Station to Station. The following year, he further confounded musical expectations with the electronic-inflected album Low (1977), the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno that would come to be known as the “Berlin Trilogy”. “Heroes” (1977) and Lodger (1979) followed; each album reached the UK top five and received lasting critical praise.
9. After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single “Ashes to Ashes”, its parent album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), and “Under Pressure”, a 1981 collaboration with Queen.
10. He then reached his commercial peak in 1983 with Let’s Dance, with its title track topping both UK and US charts. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including industrial and jungle.
11. He remained musically active until he died of liver cancer two days after the release of his final album, Blackstar (2016).
12. His father, Haywood Stenton “John” Jones from Yorkshire, was a promotions officer for the children’s charity Barnardo’s.
13. The family lived at 40 Stansfield Road, near the border of the south London areas of Brixton and Stockwell. Bowie attended Stockwell Infants School until he was six years old, acquiring a reputation as a gifted and single-minded child—and a defiant brawler.
14. In 1953, Bowie moved with his family to the suburb of Bromley, where, two years later, he started attending Burnt Ash Junior School. His voice was considered “adequate” by the school choir, and he demonstrated above-average abilities in playing the recorder.
15. At the age of nine, his dancing during the newly introduced music and movement classes was strikingly imaginative: teachers called his interpretations “vividly artistic” and his poise “astonishing” for a child.
16. The same year, his interest in music was further stimulated when his father brought home a collection of American 45s by artists including the Teenagers, the Platters, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley and Little Richard.
17. Upon listening to Little Richard’s song “Tutti Frutti”, Bowie would later say, “I had heard God”.
18. By the end of the following year he had taken up the ukulele and tea-chest bass, begun to participate in skiffle sessions with friends, and had started to play the piano; meanwhile his stage presentation of numbers by both Presley and Chuck Berry—complete with gyrations in tribute to the original artists—to his local Wolf Cub group was described as “mesmerizing … like someone from another planet.”
19. After taking his eleven-plus exam at the conclusion of his Burnt Ash Junior education, Bowie went to Bromley Technical High School
20. In 1962 Bowie formed his first band at the age of 15. Playing guitar-based rock and roll at local youth gatherings and weddings, the Konrads had a varying line-up of between four and eight members, Underwood among them.
21. When Bowie left the technical school the following year, he informed his parents of his intention to become a pop star.
22. The singer’s debut single, “Liza Jane”, credited to Davie Jones and the King Bees, had no commercial success.
23. Dissatisfied with the King Bees and their repertoire of Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon blues numbers, Bowie quit the band less than a month later to join the Manish Boys, another blues outfit, who incorporated folk and soul—”I used to dream of being their Mick Jagger”, Bowie was to recall.
24. Their cover of Bobby Bland’s “I Pity the Fool” was no more successful than “Liza Jane”, and Bowie soon moved on again to join the Lower Third, a blues trio strongly influenced by the Who. “You’ve Got a Habit of Leaving” fared no better, signalling the end of Conn’s contract. Declaring that he would exit the pop world “to study mime at Sadler’s Wells”, Bowie nevertheless remained with the Lower Third.
25. His new manager, Ralph Horton, later instrumental in his transition to solo artist, soon witnessed Bowie’s move to yet another group, the Buzz, yielding the singer’s fifth unsuccessful single release, “Do Anything You Say”.
26. While with the Buzz, Bowie also joined the Riot Squad; their recordings, which included a Bowie number and The Velvet Underground material, went unreleased. Ken Pitt, introduced by Horton, took over as Bowie’s manager.
27. Dissatisfied with his stage name as Davy (and Davie) Jones, which in the mid-1960s invited confusion with Davy Jones of the Monkees, Bowie renamed himself after the 19th-century American pioneer James Bowie and the knife he had popularised.
28. His April 1967 solo single, “The Laughing Gnome”, using speeded-up thus high-pitched vocals, failed to chart. Released six weeks later, his album debut, David Bowie, an amalgam of pop, psychedelia, and music hall, met the same fate. It was his last release for two years.
29. The beginnings of Bowie’s acting career predate his commercial breakthrough as a musician. Studying avant-garde theatre and mime under Lindsay Kemp, he was given the role of Cloud in Kemp’s 1967 theatrical production Pierrot in Turquoise (later made into the 1970 television film The Looking Glass Murders). In the black-and-white short The Image (1969), he played a ghostly boy who emerges from a troubled artist’s painting to haunt him.
30. The same year, the film of Leslie Thomas’s 1966 comic novel The Virgin Soldiers saw Bowie make a brief appearance as an extra.
31. In 1976 he earned acclaim for his first major film role, portraying Thomas Jerome Newton, an alien from a dying planet, in The Man Who Fell to Earth, directed by Nicolas Roeg. Just a Gigolo (1979), an Anglo-German co-production directed by David Hemmings, saw Bowie in the lead role as Prussian officer Paul von Przygodski, who, returning from World War I, is discovered by a Baroness (Marlene Dietrich) and put into her Gigolo Stable.
32. David Bowie played Joseph Merrick in the Broadway theatre production The Elephant Man, which he undertook wearing no stage make-up, and which earned high praise for his expressive performance. He played the part 157 times between 1980 and 1981.
33. Absolute Beginners (1986), a rock musical film adapted from Colin MacInnes’ book of the same name about life in late 1950s London, featured Bowie’s music and presented him with a minor acting role. The same year, Jim Henson’s dark fantasy Labyrinth found him with the part of Jareth, the king of the goblins.[
34. Two years later, he played Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese’s 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ. Bowie portrayed a disgruntled restaurant employee opposite Rosanna Arquette in The Linguini Incident (1991), and the mysterious FBI agent Phillip Jeffries in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992).
35. He took a small but pivotal role as Andy Warhol in Basquiat, artist/director Julian Schnabel’s 1996 biopic of Jean-Michel Basquiat, and co-starred in Giovanni Veronesi’s Spaghetti Western Il Mio West (1998, released as Gunslinger’s Revenge in the US in 2005) as the most feared gunfighter in the region. He played the ageing gangster Bernie in Andrew Goth’s Everybody Loves Sunshine (1999), and appeared in the television horror series of The Hunger. In Mr. Rice’s Secret (2000), he played the title role as the neighbour of a terminally ill 12-year-old, and the following year appeared as himself in Zoolander.
36. Bowie portrayed physicist Nikola Tesla in Christopher Nolan’s film The Prestige (2006), which was about the bitter rivalry between two magicians in the late 19th century. In the same year, he voice-acted in the animated film Arthur and the Invisibles as the powerful villain Maltazard and appeared as himself in an episode of the Ricky Gervais television series Extras. In 2007, he lent his voice to the character Lord Royal Highness in the SpongeBob’s Atlantis SquarePantis television film. In the 2008 film August, directed by Austin Chick, he played a supporting role as Ogilvie, alongside Josh Hartnett and Rip Torn, with whom he had worked in the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth.
37. From the time of his earliest recordings in the 1960s, Bowie employed a wide variety of musical styles. His early compositions and performances were strongly influenced by rock and rollers like Little Richard and Elvis Presley, and also the wider world of show business.
38. He particularly strove to emulate the British musical theatre singer-songwriter and actor Anthony Newley, whose vocal style he frequently adopted, and made prominent use of for his 1967 debut release, David Bowie (to the disgust of Newley himself, who destroyed the copy he received from Bowie’s publisher).
39. David Bowie’s music hall fascination continued to surface sporadically alongside such diverse styles as hard rock and heavy metal, soul, psychedelic folk and pop.
40. Musicologist James Perone observes Bowie’s use of octave switches for different repetitions of the same melody, exemplified in his commercial breakthrough single, “Space Oddity”, and later in the song “Heroes”, to dramatic effect; Perone notes that “in the lowest part of his vocal register … his voice has an almost crooner-like richness.”
41. Bowie married Mary Angela Barnett on 19 March 1970 at Bromley Register Office in Bromley, London. Their son Duncan, born on 30 May 1971, was at first known as Zowie.
42. Bowie and Angela divorced on 8 February 1980 in Switzerland.
43. On 24 April 1992, Bowie married the Somali-American model Iman in a private ceremony in Lausanne. The wedding was later solemnised on 6 June in Florence. They had one daughter, Alexandria “Lexi” Zahra Jones, born in August 2000.The couple resided primarily in New York City and London, as well as owning an apartment in Sydney’s Elizabeth Bay.
44. Bowie’s grandson from his son Duncan was born 10 July 2016, exactly six months after Bowie’s death.
45. Bowie declared himself gay in an interview with Michael Watts for a 1972 issue of Melody Maker,coinciding with his campaign for stardom as Ziggy Stardust. According to Buckley, “If Ziggy confused both his creator and his audience, a big part of that confusion centred on the topic of sexuality”.
46. In a September 1976 interview with Playboy, Bowie said, “It’s true—I am a bisexual. But I can’t deny that I’ve used that fact very well. I suppose it’s the best thing that ever happened to me”.
47. According to his first wife, Angie, Bowie had a relationship with Mick Jagger.
48. In a 1983 interview with Rolling Stone, Bowie said his public declaration of bisexuality was “the biggest mistake I ever made” and “I was always a closet heterosexual”.
49. On other occasions, he said his interest in homosexual and bisexual culture had been more a product of the times and the situation in which he found himself than of his own feelings.
50. Blender asked Bowie in 2002 whether he still believed his public declaration was his biggest mistake. After a long pause, he said, “I don’t think it was a mistake in Europe, but it was a lot tougher in America. I had no problem with people knowing I was bisexual. But I had no inclination to hold any banners nor be a representative of any group of people.” Bowie said he wanted to be a songwriter and performer rather than a headline for his bisexuality, and in “puritanical” America, “I think it stood in the way of so much I wanted to do”.
51. On 10 January 2016, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of the album Blackstar, Bowie died from liver cancer in his New York City apartment.
52. He had been diagnosed 18 months earlier but had not made the news of his illness public
53. The Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove, who had worked with the singer on his Off-Broadway musical Lazarus, explained that Bowie was unable to attend rehearsals due to the progression of the disease. He noted that Bowie had kept working during the illness
54. Bowie’s songs and stagecraft brought a new dimension to popular music in the early 1970s, strongly influencing both its immediate forms and its subsequent development. Bowie was a pioneer of glam rock, according to music historians Schinder and Schwartz, who credited Marc Bolan and Bowie with creating the genre.
55. At the same time, he inspired the innovators of the punk rock music movement.
56. Bowie’s record company promoted his unique status in popular music with the slogan, “There’s old wave, there’s new wave, and there’s David Bowie”.
57. Musicologist James Perone credited him with having “brought sophistication to rock music”, and critical reviews frequently acknowledged the intellectual depth of his work and influence.
58. David Bowie’s 1969 commercial breakthrough, the song “Space Oddity”, won him an Ivor Novello Special Award For Originality. For his performance in the 1976 science fiction film The Man Who Fell to Earth, he won a Saturn Award for Best Actor. In the ensuing decades he was honoured with numerous awards for his music and its accompanying videos, receiving, among others, two Grammy Awards and four Brit Awards—winning Best British Male Artist twice; the award for Outstanding Contribution to Music in 1996; and the Brits Icon award for his “lasting impact on British culture”, given posthumously in 2016.
59. In 1999, Bowie was made a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.
60. He received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music the same year. He declined the royal honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000, and turned down a knighthood in 2003.
61. In the United Kingdom, he was awarded 9 platinum, 11 gold and 8 silver albums, and in the United States, 5 platinum and 7 gold.
62. Five of Bowie’s studio albums appear on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
63. In the BBC’s 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, he was ranked 29.
64. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him 39th on their list of the 100 Greatest Rock Artists of All Time.
65. Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 17 January 1996 and named a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in June 2013.
66. In 2016, Rolling Stone proclaimed Bowie “the greatest rock star ever”.
67. In 2008, the spider Heteropoda davidbowie was named in his honour.
68. On 5 January 2015, a main-belt asteroid was named 342843 Davidbowie.