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Gallery: David Bowie Styles
Date of Birth: 1/8/1947
Biography: An English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s, and is known for his distinctive voice as well as the originality and considerable eclecticism of his work.
Bowie first caught the eye and ear of the public in July 1969, when his song "Space Oddity" reached the top five of the UK Singles Chart. After a three-year period of experimentation he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust, spearheaded by the hit single "Starman" and the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Bowie's impact at that time, as described by biographer David Buckley, "challenged the core belief of the rock music of its day" and "created perhaps the biggest cult in popular culture." The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona proved merely one facet of a career marked by continual reinvention, musical innovation and striking visual presentation.
In 1975, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the number-one single "Fame" and the hit album Young Americans, which the singer characterised as "plastic soul". The sound constituted a radical shift in style that initially alienated many of his UK devotees. He then confounded the expectations of both his record label and his American audiences by recording the minimalist album Low (1977) - the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno over the next two years. The so-called "Berlin Trilogy" albums all reached the UK top five and garnered lasting critical praise.
After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single "Ashes to Ashes" and its parent album, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). 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". Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including blue-eyed soul, industrial, adult contemporary, and jungle. His last recorded album was Reality (2003), which was supported by the 2003-2004 Reality Tour.
Throughout his career, he has sold an estimated 140 million albums. In the United Kingdom, he has been awarded nine Platinum album certifications, 11 Gold and eight Silver, and in the United States, five Platinum and seven Gold certifications. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him 39th on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and 23rd on their list of the best singers of all-time.
David Bowie was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, London (he later changed his name to avoid being confused with the singer Davy Jones from The Monkees).His mother, Margaret Mary "Peggy" nee Burns, of Irish descent, worked as a cinema usherette, while his father, Haywood Stenton, was a promotions officer for Barnardo's. 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.
In 1953 the family moved to the suburb of Bromley, where, two years later, Bowie progressed to Burnt Ash Junior School. His singing voice was considered "adequate" by the school choir, and his recorder playing judged to demonstrate above-average musical ability. 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.
The same year, his interest in music was further stimulated when his father brought home a collection of American 45s by artists including Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, The Platters, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley and Little Richard. Upon listening to "Tutti Frutti", Bowie would later say, "I had heard God". Presley's impact on him was likewise emphatic: "I saw a cousin of mine dance to ... 'Hound Dog' and I had never seen her get up and be moved so much by anything. It really impressed me, the power of the music. I started getting records immediately after that." By the end of the following year he had taken up the ukelele and tea-chest bass and 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." Failing his eleven plus exam at the conclusion of his Burnt Ash Junior education, Bowie joined Bromley Technical High School.
Bowie studied art, music, and design, including layout and typesetting. After Terry Burns, his half-brother, introduced him to modern jazz, his enthusiasm for players like Charles Mingus and John Coltrane led his mother to give him a plastic alto saxophone in 1961; he was soon receiving lessons from a local musician. He received a serious injury at school in 1962 when his friend George Underwood, wearing a ring on his finger, punched him in the left eye during a fight over a girl. Doctors feared he would lose the sight of the eye, and he was forced to stay out of school for a series of operations during a four-month hospitalisation. The damage could not be fully repaired, leaving him with faulty depth perception and a permanently dilated pupil (the latter producing Bowie's appearance of having different coloured eyes, though each iris has the same blue colour). Despite their fisticuffs, Underwood and Bowie remained good friends, and Underwood went on to create the artwork for Bowie's early albums.
Bowie married his first wife Angela in 1970, they divorced in 1980 and have 1 child.
In October 1990, Bowie and Somali-born supermodel Iman were introduced by a mutual friend. Bowie recalled, "I was naming the children the night we met ... it was absolutely immediate." They married in 1992 and have a daughter called Alexandria Zahra Jones, born 2000.