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2 September 2014
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David Bowie by David Wedgbury
© National Portrait Gallery, London

Biography: David Bowie

The multi-talented, multi-faceted David Bowie was born David Robert Jones in Brixton on January 8th 1947. Changing his name to David Bowie was his first move in a series of theatrical reincarnations which he employed as an artistic tool throughout his career. We’ve seen the flamboyant rock star, the androgynous Ziggy Stardust and Thin White Duke. Later came Bowie the film director, the visual artist, the internet entrepreneur and the actor, most notably as The Man Who Fell to Earth. But, it’s as a singer that we know and love him best. He’s sold an estimated 136 million albums and is one of the best selling acts in UK pop history.

Renowned For

The psychedelic rock tune Space Oddity rocketed Bowie into public consciousness in 1969 and showcased the theatrical narrative, outré styling, and eyeliner that were to become his hallmarks.

Cultural Impact

With his deliberately shocking onstage performances, risqué alter egos and flamboyant costume, Bowie brought camp glamour to the mainstream.

His music defined eras from glam rock to plastic soul to Berlin-esque new wave. He is one of the most referenced and sampled artists in contemporary culture.

In His Own Words

"I'm an instant star. Just add water and stir."

Pub Quiz Trivia

Bowie’s left eye is brown due to a condition called aniscoria brought on by a fight with his friend George Underwood over a girl.
Alan Cumming
He's always been ahead of the curve. He's been an artist who's constantly reinvented himself. It's not been about following a trend, it's been about pursuing his own artistic vision and developing as an artist. He's always been this person who's seeking out the new, the exciting and the other.

Alan Cumming


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