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David Bowie
David Bowie
Born January 8, 1947
Brixton, Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth, County of London, England, United Kingdom
Died January 10, 2016
Manhatten, New York City, New York, United States
Occupation Singer/Songwriter

David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie, was an English singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. A leading figure in the music industry, he is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Bowie was acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, and his music and stagecraft had a significant impact on popular music.

Bowie developed an interest in music from an early age. He studied art, music and design before embarking on a professional career as a musician in 1963. He released a string of unsuccessful singles with local bands and a solo album before achieving his first top five entry on the UK Singles Chart with "Space Oddity", released in 1969. After a period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with the flamboyant and androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The character was spearheaded by the success of "Starman" and album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which won him widespread popularity. In 1975, Bowie's style shifted towards a sound he characterised as "plastic soul", initially alienating many of his UK fans but garnering him his first major US crossover success with the number-one single "Fame" (co-written by John Lennon) and the album Young Americans. In 1976, Bowie starred in the cult film The Man Who Fell to Earth and released Station to Station. In 1977, he again changed direction with the electronic-inflected album Low, the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno that came 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.

After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had three number-one hits: the 1980 single "Ashes to Ashes", its album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) and "Under Pressure" (a 1981 collaboration with Queen). He achieved his greatest commercial success in the 1980s with Let's Dance (1983). Between 1988 and 1992, he fronted the hard rock band Tin Machine before resuming his solo career in 1993. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including industrial and jungle. He also continued acting; his roles included Major Jack Celliers in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), Jareth the Goblin King in Labyrinth (1986), Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (2006), among other film and television appearances and cameos. He stopped touring after 2004 and his last live performance was at a charity event in 2006. He returned from a decade-long recording hiatus in 2013 with The Next Day and remained musically active until his death from liver cancer in 2016. He died two days after both his 69th birthday and the release of his final album, Blackstar.

During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at over 100 million records worldwide, made him one of the best-selling musicians of all time. In the UK, he was awarded ten platinum, eleven gold and eight silver album certifications, and released 11 number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and nine gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. As of 2022, Bowie was the best-selling vinyl artist of the 21st century.

Early life

David Robert Jones was born on 8 January 1947 in Brixton, in the then Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth in the County of London. His mother, Margaret Mary "Peggy", was born at Shorncliffe Army Camp near Cheriton, Kent. Her paternal grandparents were Irish immigrants who had settled in Manchester. She worked as a waitress at a cinema in Royal Tunbridge Wells. His father, Haywood Stenton "John" Jones, was from Doncaster, Yorkshire, and worked as a promotions officer for a children's charity. The family lived at 40 Stansfield Road, on the boundary between Brixton and Stockwell in the south London borough of Lambeth. 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.

From 1953 Bowie moved with his family to Bickley and then Bromley Common, before settling in Sundridge Park in 1955 where he attended Burnt Ash Junior School. 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 (who shared Bowie's birthday), and Little Richard. Bowie was first impressed with Elvis when he saw his cousin Kristina dance to "Hound Dog" soon after it was released in 1956. By the end of the following year, Bowie 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 "mesmerising... like someone from another planet". Having encouraged his son to follow his dreams of being an entertainer since he was a toddler, in the late 1950s David's father took him to meet singers and other performers preparing for the Royal Variety Performance, introducing him to Alma Cogan and Tommy Steele. After taking his eleven-plus exam at the conclusion of his Burnt Ash Junior education, Bowie went to Bromley Technical High School.

Bowie studied art, music, and design, including layout and typesetting. After Burns introduced him to modern jazz, his enthusiasm for players like Charles Mingus and John Coltrane led his mother to give him a Grafton saxophone in 1961. He was soon receiving lessons from baritone saxophonist Ronnie Ross. He received a serious injury at school in 1962 when his friend George Underwood punched him in the left eye during a fight over a girl. After a series of operations during a four-month hospitalisation, his doctors determined that the damage could not be fully repaired and Bowie was left with faulty depth perception and a permanently dilated pupil, which gave a false impression of a change in the iris' colour, erroneously suggesting he had one iris a different colour to the other; his eye later became one of Bowie's most recognisable features. Despite their altercation, Bowie remained on good terms with Underwood, who went on to create the artwork for Bowie's early albums.

Music career

Bowie formed his first band, the Konrads, in 1962 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. When Bowie left the technical school the following year, he informed his parents of his intention to become a pop star. His mother arranged his employment as an electrician's mate. Bowie left the Konrads and worked as a commercial artist while playing saxophone in a number of mod bands, including the King Bees, the Manish Boys, and Davey Jones & the Lower Third. All three of those bands released singles, which were generally ignored, yet he continued performing, changing his name to David Bowie in 1966 after the Monkees' Davy Jones became an international star. Over the course of 1966, he released three mod singles on Pye Records, which were all ignored. The following year, he signed with Deram, releasing the music hall inspired David Bowie that year. Upon completing the record, he spent several weeks in a Scottish Buddhist monastery. Once he left the monastery, he studied with Lindsay Kemp's mime troupe, forming his own mime company, the Feathers, in 1969. The Feathers were short-lived, and he formed the experimental art group Beckenham Arts Lab in 1969.

Bowie needed to finance the Arts Lab, so he signed with Mercury Records that year and released Man of Words, Man of Music, a trippy singer/songwriter album featuring "Space Oddity." The song was released as a single and became a major hit in the U.K., convincing Bowie to concentrate on music. Hooking up with his old friend Marc Bolan, he began miming at some of Bolan's T. Rex concerts, eventually touring with Bolan, bassist/producer Tony Visconti, guitarist Mick Ronson, and drummer Cambridge as Hype. The band quickly fell apart, yet Bowie and Ronson remained close, working on the material that formed Bowie's next album, The Man Who Sold the World, as well as recruiting Michael "Woody" Woodmansey as their drummer. Produced by Tony Visconti, who also played bass, The Man Who Sold the World was a heavy guitar rock album that failed to gain much attention. Bowie followed the album in late 1971 with the pop/rock Hunky Dory, an album that featured Ronson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman.

Following its release, Bowie began to develop his most famous incarnation, Ziggy Stardust: an androgynous, bisexual rock star from another planet. Before he unveiled Ziggy, Bowie claimed in a January 1972 interview with Melody Maker that he was gay, helping to stir interest in his forthcoming album. Taking cues from Bolan's stylish glam rock, Bowie dyed his hair orange and began wearing women's clothing. He called himself Ziggy Stardust, and his backing band - Ronson, Woodmansey, and bassist Trevor Bolder - were the Spiders from Mars. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was released with much fanfare in England in late 1972. The album and its lavish, theatrical concerts became a sensation throughout England, and helped him become the only glam rocker to carve out a niche in America. Ziggy Stardust became a word-of-mouth hit in the U.S., and the re-released "Space Oddity" - which was now also the title of the re-released Man of Words, Man of Music - reached the American Top 20. Bowie quickly followed Ziggy with Aladdin Sane later in 1973. Not only did he record a new album that year, he also produced Lou Reed's Transformer, the Stooges' Raw Power, and Mott the Hoople's comeback All the Young Dudes, for which he also wrote the title track.

Given the amount of work Bowie packed into 1972 and 1973, it wasn't surprising that his relentless schedule began to catch up with him. After recording the all-covers Pin-Ups with the Spiders from Mars, he unexpectedly announced the band's breakup, as well as his retirement from live performances, during the group's final show that year. He retreated from the spotlight to work on a musical adaptation of George Orwell's 1984, but once he was denied the rights to the novel, he transformed the work into Diamond Dogs. The album was released to generally poor reviews in 1974, yet it generated the hit single "Rebel Rebel," and he supported the album with an elaborate and expensive American tour. As the tour progressed, Bowie became fascinated with soul music, eventually redesigning the entire show to reflect his new "plastic soul." Hiring guitarist Carlos Alomar as the band's leader, Bowie refashioned his group into a Philly soul band and recostcumed himself in sophisticated, stylish fashions. The change took fans by surprise, as did the double-album David Live, which featured material recorded on the 1974 tour.

John Lennon and David Bowie

John Lennon and David Bowie

Young Americans, released in 1975, was the culmination of Bowie's soul obsession, and it became his first major crossover hit, peaking in the American Top Ten and generating his first U.S. number one hit in "Fame," a song he co-wrote with John Lennon and Alomar. Bowie relocated to Los Angeles, where he earned his first movie role in Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). While in L.A., he recorded Station to Station, which took the plastic soul of Young Americans into darker, avant-garde-tinged directions, but it was also a huge hit, generating the Top Ten single "Golden Years." The album inaugurated Bowie's persona of the elegant "Thin White Duke," and it reflected Bowie's growing cocaine-fueled paranoia. Soon, he decided Los Angeles was too boring and returned to England; shortly after arriving back in London, he gave the awaiting crowd a Nazi salute, a signal of his growing, drug-addled detachment from reality. The incident caused enormous controversy, and Bowie left the country to settle in Berlin, where he lived and worked with Brian Eno.

Once in Berlin, Bowie sobered up and began painting, as well as studying art. He also developed a fascination with German electronic music, which Eno helped him fulfill on their first album together, Low. Released early in 1977, Low was a startling mixture of electronics, pop, and avant-garde technique. While it was greeted with mixed reviews at the time, it proved to be one of the most influential albums of the late '70s, as did its follow-up, Heroes, which followed that year. Not only did Bowie record two solo albums in 1977, but he also helmed Iggy Pop's comeback records The Idiot and Lust for Life, and toured anonymously as Pop's keyboardist. He resumed his acting career in 1977, appearing in Just a Gigolo with Marlene Dietrich and Kim Novak, as well as narrating Eugene Ormandy's version of Peter and the Wolf. Bowie returned to the stage in 1978, launching an international tour that was captured on the double-album Stage. In 1979, Bowie and Eno recorded Lodger in New York, Switzerland, and Berlin, releasing the album at the end of the year. Lodger was supported with several innovative videos, as was 1980's Scary Monsters, and these videos - "DJ," "Fashion," "Ashes to Ashes" - became staples on early MTV.

Scary Monsters was Bowie's last album for RCA, and it wrapped up his most innovative, productive period. Later in 1980, he performed the title role in the stage production of The Elephant Man, including several shows on Broadway. Over the next two years, he took an extended break from recording, appearing in Christiane F (1981) and the vampire movie The Hunger (1982), returning to the studio only for his 1981 collaboration with Queen, "Under Pressure," and the theme for Paul Schrader's remake of Cat People. In 1983, he signed an expensive contract with EMI Records and released Let's Dance. Bowie had recruited Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers to produce the album, giving the record a sleek, funky foundation, and hired the unknown Stevie Ray Vaughan as lead guitarist. Let's Dance became his most successful record, thanks to its stylish, innovative videos for "Let's Dance" and "China Girl," which turned both songs into Top Ten hits. Bowie supported the record with the sold-out arena tour Serious Moonlight.

Greeted with massive success for the first time, Bowie wasn't quite sure how to react, and he eventually decided to replicate Let's Dance with 1984's Tonight. While the album sold well, producing the Top Ten hit "Blue Jean," it received poor reviews compared to Let's Dance. In 1985, he recording a duet of Martha & the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street" with Mick Jagger for Live Aid. He also spent more time jet-setting, appearing at celebrity events across the globe, and appeared in several movies - Into the Night (1985), Absolute Beginners (1986), Labyrinth (1986) - that turned out to be bombs. Bowie returned to recording in 1987 with the widely panned Never Let Me Down, supporting the album with the Glass Spider tour, which also received poor reviews. In 1989, he remastered his RCA catalog with Rykodisc for CD release, kicking off the series with the three-disc box Sound + Vision. Bowie supported the discs with an accompanying tour of the same name, claiming that he was retiring all of his older characters from performance following the tour. Sound + Vision was successful, and Ziggy Stardust re-charted amidst the hoopla.

Bowie returned to a solo career in 1993 with the sophisticated, soulful Black Tie White Noise, recording the album with Nile Rodgers and his by-then-permanent collaborator, Reeves Gabrels. The album was released on Savage, a subsidiary of RCA, and received positive reviews, but his new label went bankrupt shortly after its release, and the album disappeared. Black Tie White Noise was the first indication that Bowie was trying hard to resuscitate his career, as was the largely instrumental 1994 soundtrack The Buddha of Suburbia. In 1995, he reunited with Brian Eno for the industrial rock-tinged 1. Outside. Several critics hailed the album as a comeback, and Bowie supported it with a co-headlining tour with Nine Inch Nails in order to snag a younger, alternative audience, but his gambit failed; audiences left before Bowie's performance and 1. Outside disappeared. He quickly returned to the studio in 1996, recording Earthling, an album heavily influenced by techno and drum'n'bass. Upon its early 1997 release, Earthling received generally positive reviews. hours... followed in 1999. In 2002, Bowie reunited with producer Toni Visconti and released Heathen to very positive reviews. He continued on with Visconti for Reality in 2003, which was once again warmly received.

Bowie supported Reality with a lengthy tour but it came to a halt in the summer of 2004 when he received an emergency angioplasty while in Hamburg, Germany. Following this health scare, Bowie quietly retreated from the public eye. Over the next few years, he popped up at the occasional charity concert or gala event and he sometimes sang in the studio for other artists (notably, he appeared on Scarlett Johansson's Tom Waits tribute Anywhere I Lay My Head in 2008). Archival releases appeared but no new recordings did until he suddenly ended his unofficial retirement on his 66th birthday on January 8, 2013, releasing a new single called "Where Are We Now?" and announcing the arrival of a new album. Entitled The Next Day and once again produced by Visconti, the album was released in March of 2013. Greeted with generally positive reviews, The Next Day debuted at either number one or two throughout the world, earning gold certifications in many countries.

The following year, Bowie released a new compilation called Nothing Has Changed, which featured the new song "Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)." This song turned out to be the cornerstone of Bowie's next project, Blackstar. Arriving on January 8, 2016, the album found Bowie re-teaming with Tony Visconti and exploring adventurous territory, as signalled by its lead single, "Blackstar." Just two days after its release, it was announced that Bowie had died from liver cancer. In a Facebook post, Tony Visconti revealed that Bowie knew of his illness for at least 18 months and created Blackstar as "his parting gift." It topped several national charts - including the Billboard 200, which made it his first number one album in the U.S.

By the autumn of 2016, posthumous projects began to surface, including Who Can I Be Now? - a collection of his mid-'70s albums that functioned as a sequel to the previous year's box set Five Years - and the release of the cast recording to Lazarus, the Broadway musical he completed in his final years. On January 8, 2017 - the year anniversary of the release of Blackstar - the No Plan EP, containing Bowie's versions of songs heard in the Lazarus musical, was released. A New Career in a New Town - the third volume of retrospective box sets, this instalment focusing on his recordings of the late '70s - appeared in September 2017. The following year, the fourth retrospective box - Loving the Alien - was released, featuring albums issued between the years 1983 and 1988. Included was Bowie's biggest-selling '80s album, Let's Dance - alongside a selection of live releases - as well as a 2018 production of his 1987 album Never Let Me Down, featuring string arrangements by Nico Muhly and production from Mario McNulty. Over the course of 2019, Parlophone released a series of limited-edition vinyl sets spotlighting demos Bowie recorded in 1969. At the end of the year, these recordings were collected alongside a new mix of David Bowie (Space Oddity) in the box set Conversation Piece. The Metrobolist, a revised version of The Man Who Sold the World released under its original title, was released late in 2020, followed in 2021 by The Width of a Circle, a double-disc collection of non-LP Bowie recordings from 1970. Late in 2021, the fifth "era" retrospective box set Brilliant Adventure (1992-2001) was released. Among its highlights was the unreleased album Toy, a collection of modern re-workings of early, pre-"Space Oddity" songs from Bowie. Toy received its own separate release in January 2022.

Acting career

While always primarily a musician, Bowie took acting roles throughout his career, appearing in over 30 films, television shows and theatrical productions. Bowie's acting career was "productively selective", largely eschewing starring roles for cameos and supporting parts. Many critics have observed that, had Bowie not chosen to pursue music, he could have found great success as an actor. Other critics have noted that, while his screen presence was singular, his best contributions to film were the use of his songs in films such as Lost Highway, A Knight's Tale, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Inglourious Basterds.

1960s and 1970s

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). Bowie filmed a walk-on role for the BBC drama series Theater 625 that aired in May 1968. 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. The same year, the film of Leslie Thomas's 1966 comic novel The Virgin Soldiers saw Bowie make a brief appearance as an extra.

In 1976, Bowie 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. He later admitted that his severe cocaine use during the film's production left him in such a fragile state of mind that he barely understood the film. 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. The film was a critical and commercial bomb, and Bowie later expressed embarrassment at his role in it.

1980s

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. Christiane F. – We Children from Bahnhof Zoo, a 1981 biographical film focusing on a young girl's drug addiction in West Berlin, featured Bowie in a cameo appearance as himself at a concert in Germany. Its soundtrack album, Christiane F. (1981), featured much material from his Berlin Trilogy albums. In 1982, he starred in the titular role in a BBC adaptation of the Bertolt Brecht play Baal. Bowie portrayed a vampire in Tony Scott's erotic horror film The Hunger (1983), with Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. In Nagisa Oshima's film the same year, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, based on Laurens van der Post's novel The Seed and the Sower, Bowie played Major Jack Celliers, a prisoner of war in a Japanese internment camp. Bowie had a cameo in Yellowbeard, a 1983 pirate comedy created by Monty Python members and directed by Mel Damski.

To promote the single "Blue Jean", Bowie filmed the 21 minute short film Jazzin' for Blue Jean (1984) with director Julien Temple, and played the dual roles of romantic protagonist Vic and arrogant rock star Screaming Lord Byron. The short won Bowie his only non-posthumous Grammy award. Bowie had a supporting role as hitman Colin in the 1985 John Landis film Into the Night. He declined to play the villain Max Zorin in the James Bond film A View to a Kill (1985). Bowie reteamed with Temple for Absolute Beginners (1986), a rock musical film adapted from Colin MacInnes's book of the same name about life in late 1950s London, in a supporting role as ad man Vendice Partners. The same year, Jim Henson's dark musical fantasy Labyrinth cast him as Jareth, the villainous Goblin King. Despite initial poor box office, the film grew in popularity and became a cult film. Two years later, he played Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese's critically acclaimed biblical epic The Last Temptation of Christ (1988).

1990s

In 1991, Bowie reteamed with director John Landis for an episode of the HBO sitcom Dream On and played a disgruntled restaurant employee opposite Rosanna Arquette in The Linguini Incident. Bowie portrayed the mysterious FBI agent Phillip Jeffries in David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992). The prequel to the television series was poorly received at the time of its release, but has since been critically reevaluated. He took a small but pivotal role as his friend Andy Warhol in Basquiat, artist/director Julian Schnabel's 1996 biopic of Jean-Michel Basquiat, another artist he considered a friend and colleague. Bowie 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 aging gangster Bernie in Andrew Goth's Everybody Loves Sunshine (1999, released in the US as B.U.S.T.E.D.), and appeared as the host in the second season of the television horror anthology series The Hunger. Despite having several episodes which focus on vampires and Bowie's involvement, the show had no plot connection to the 1983 film of the same name. In 1999, Bowie voiced two characters in the Sega Dreamcast game Omikron: The Nomad Soul, his only appearance in a video game.

2000s and posthumous notes

In Mr. Rice's Secret (2000), Bowie played the title role as the neighbour of a terminally ill 12-year-old. Bowie appeared as himself in the 2001 Ben Stiller comedy Zoolander, judging a "walk-off" between rival male models, and in Eric Idle's 2002 mockumentary The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch. In 2005, he filmed a commercial with Snoop Dogg for XM Satellite Radio. Bowie portrayed a fictionalized version of physicist and inventor Nikola Tesla in Christopher Nolan's film The Prestige (2006), which was about the bitter rivalry between two magicians in the late 19th century. Nolan later claimed that Bowie was his only preference to play Tesla, and that he personally appealed to Bowie to take the role after he initially passed. In the same year, he voice-acted in Luc Besson's 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, a "ruthless venture capitalist." Bowie's final film appearance was a cameo as himself in the 2009 teen comedy Bandslam.

In a 2017 interview with Consequence of Sound, director Denis Villeneuve revealed his intention to cast Bowie in Blade Runner 2049 as the lead villain, Niander Wallace, but when news broke of Bowie's death in January of the same year, Villeneuve was forced to look for talent with similar "rock star" qualities. He eventually cast actor and lead singer of Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jared Leto. Talking about the casting process, Villeneuve said: "Our first thought [for the character] had been David Bowie, who had influenced Blade Runner in many ways. When we learned the sad news, we looked around for someone like that. He [Bowie] embodied the Blade Runner spirit." David Lynch also hoped to have Bowie reprise his Fire Walk With Me character for Twin Peaks: The Return but Bowie's illness prevented this. His character was portrayed via archival footage. At Bowie's request, Lynch overdubbed Bowie's original dialogue with a different actor's voice, as Bowie was unhappy with his Cajun accent in the original film.

Other works

Painter and art collector

Bowie was a painter and artist. He moved to Switzerland in 1976, purchasing a chalet in the hills to the north of Lake Geneva. In the new environment, his cocaine use decreased and he found time for other pursuits outside his musical career. He devoted more time to his painting, and produced a number of post-modernist pieces. When on tour, he took to sketching in a notebook, and photographing scenes for later reference. Visiting galleries in Geneva and the Brücke Museum in Berlin, Bowie became, in the words of Sandford, "a prolific producer and collector of contemporary art. ... Not only did he become a well-known patron of expressionist art: locked in Clos des Mésanges he began an intensive self-improvement course in classical music and literature, and started work on an autobiography."

One of Bowie's paintings sold at auction in late 1990 for $500, and the cover for his 1995 album Outside is a close-up of a self-portrait (from a series of five) he painted that same year.

His first solo show, titled New Afro/Pagan and Work: 1975–1995, was in 1995 at The Gallery in Cork Street, London. He was invited to join the editorial board of the journal Modern Painters in 1998, and participated in the Nat Tate art hoax later that year.

In 1998, during an interview with Michael Kimmelman for The New York Times, he said "Art was, seriously, the only thing I'd ever wanted to own." Subsequently, in a 1999 interview for the BBC, he said "The only thing I buy obsessively and addictively is art". His art collection, which included works by Damien Hirst, Derek Boshier, Frank Auerbach, Henry Moore, and Jean-Michel Basquiat among others, was valued at over £10m in mid-2016.

After his death, his family decided to sell most of the collection because they "didn't have the space" to store it. On 10 and 11 November, three auctions were held at Sotheby's in London, first with 47 lots and second with 208 paintings, drawings, and sculptures, third with 100 design lots. The items on sale represented about 65 percent of the collection. Exhibition of the works in the auction attracted 51,470 visitors, the auction itself was attended by 1,750 bidders, with over 1,000 more bidding online. The auctions has overall sale total £32.9 million (app. $41.5 million), while the highest-selling item, Basquiat's graffiti-inspired painting Air Power, sold for £7.09 million.

Bowie Bonds

"Bowie Bonds", the first modern example of celebrity bonds, were asset-backed securities of current and future revenues of the 25 albums (287 songs) that Bowie recorded before 1990. Issued in 1997, the bonds were bought for US$55 million by the Prudential Insurance Company of America. Royalties from the 25 albums generated the cash flow that secured the bonds' interest payments. By forfeiting 10 years worth of royalties, Bowie received a payment of US$55 million up front. Bowie used this income to buy songs owned by his former manager, Tony Defries. The bonds liquidated in 2007 and the rights to the income from the songs reverted to Bowie.

BowieNet

In September 1998, Bowie launched an Internet service provider, BowieNet, developed in conjunction with Robert Goodale and Ron Roy. Subscribers to the dial-up service were offered exclusive content as well as a BowieNet email address and Internet access. The service was closed by 2006.

Discography

Bowie's discography consists of 26 studio albums, 21 live albums, 46 compilation albums, 10 extended plays, 128 singles, 3 soundtracks and 12 box sets. He also released 28 video albums and 72 music videos.

Studio albums

  • David Bowie (1967)
  • David Bowie/Space Oddity (1969)
  • The Man Who Sold the World (1970)
  • Hunky Dory (1971)
  • The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
  • Aladdin Sane (1973)
  • Pin Ups (1973)
  • Diamond Dogs (1974)
  • Young Americans (1975)
  • Station to Station (1976)
  • Low (1977)
  • "Heroes" (1977)
  • Lodger (1979)
  • Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980)
  • Let's Dance (1983)
  • Tonight (1984)
  • Never Let Me Down (1987)
  • Black Tie White Noise (1993)
  • 1. Outside (1995)
  • Earthling (1997)
  • 'hours...' (1999)
  • Heathen (2002)
  • Reality (2003)
  • The Next Day (2013)
  • Blackstar (2016)
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