By Tristan Miller-Lammert, Trending Writer
On Sunday January 10th 2016 the world lost one of its most well-known stars, David Bowie. Born David Jones in 1947 this East-Londoner rocked the world for more than 50 years. The star died of liver cancer shortly after the release of his final studio album Blackstar. Considered his farewell by many, it was a certified Gold record in the U.K, Australia, and reached #1 in the U.S. Top 200.
Bowie released his first album at 20 with Deram Records, The World of David Bowie. He changed his name from Jones to Bowie, because of the namesake knife and to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of the Monkees.
In his early years, he got into Buddhism, avant-garde theater, and a mime troop in the 60’s. His big European hit came with “Space Oddity”, which coincided with the U.S moon landing. It later reached #15 in the States with a 1973 American re-release.
Bowie quickly became associated with the impressionists of his time like Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground. He produced several albums for Lou Reed and Iggy Pop and was becoming a fixture of the gritty urban pop-culture in America, specifically of New York and L.A.
Bowie’s career is probably best known for its wild diversity. According to Rolling Stone, he was “A consummate musical chameleon, David Bowie has been a folksinger, androgyne, alien, [and] decadent… [he] did for pretensions what Jimi Hendrix did for electric guitar”. By the end of his almost 69 years, Bowie had embraced everything including rock, rap, grunge, pop, and the new wave.
All these changes were felt in his music and through his many phases. One of the well-known ones was his Ziggy Stardust phase. This glam-rock alter-ego was as spaced-out and wacky as Bowie himself and cemented him in pop-culture forever.
Another was his rampant blow habit. He did not kick it until the late 70’s but for years he and his friends got into tons of bizarre antics and racked up a number of glammed-out mugshots.
He got clean in another phase, the puppet phase. “Feeling as if his drugs were trying to control him like a puppet on a string”, he isolated himself in a studio in Berlin and put out three albums in The Berlin Trilogy.
The rest of his career included collaborations with big names like Queen, appearances in films like Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, and the release of one of his best charted albums Station to Station with the Top 10 single “Golden Years”.
Bowie lived in New York City for more than twenty years, and “fans started a makeshift memorial outside [his] SoHo apartment” shortly after his death. A legend, he will be remembered through his righteous tunes forever.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 26th print edition.
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