Thursday, 2 April 2015

B is for Bowie

I had my first experience with David Bowie and his music when my parents took me to see the film Labyrinth.  Being a teenager at the time I was immediately starstruck by Bowie's twisted charm and handsome countenance.  The music was just an aside.  Until a few weeks later when I heard more of his songs on the radio and I was hooked for life.

David Bowie was born David Jones in London England.  He was exposed to music at an early age, and inspired by the likes of Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, and Little Richard.  A brawl with his best friend over a girl permanently damaged his left eye; the resulting discoloration added mystique to his later rock-and-roll personas.  After a few unsuccessful starts, he changed his name to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of the Monkees and proceeded to take the world by storm with his 1969 hit "Space Oddity".

Thereafter he became a master chameleon, changing his look, persona, and music style with every album. As his popularity soared, the price of fame was heavy: he became addicted to cocaine, had disputes with his managers, and was eventually divorced from his first wife.  However after a period of recovery he took the 1980s by storm with a series of pop and dance-oriented albums.

After a brief stint as a member of the hard-rock band Tin Machine, Bowie happily remarried and returned to solo work with several hip-hop and jazz inspired albums in the 1990s.  In the 2000s his style changed yet again into electronica and neoclassical.  A heart attack while on tour in 2004 obliged him to scale back his appearances, but he still produces music from a seemingly endless wellspring.  He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Linked below is one of my current favourite Bowie songs. The video was filmed in the streets of New York City.

I'm Afraid of Americans

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