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David Bowie was born David Robert Jones on January 8, 1947, in Brixton, London to Margaret Mary "Peggy" Jones, a cinema usherette, and Haywood Stenton "John" Jones, a publicity director for an orphanage. Haywood helped organize charity shows in the '50s and introduced his son to all the stars, giving David an early look into the entertainment industry.
David Jones changed his name in 1966 to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of The Monkees. Bowie told Rolling Stone the name comes from the Bowie knife: "I was into a kind of heavy philosophy thing when I was 16 years old, and I wanted a truism about cutting through the lies and all that."
Bowie attended Bromley Technical School in London, where he was taught art by Peter Frampton's father, Owen.
Bowie's half-brother, Terry Burns, helped turn him onto modern jazz when he was growing up. Burns, who was Bowie's mother's son from a previous marriage, was severely schizophrenic. Having previously attempted suicide by jumping from a window in the hospital in which he lived, Burns succeeded in killing himself in 1985 after escaping the grounds of the hospital and laying down on some railroad tracks. He was 47. Bowie didn't attend the funeral because he didn't want it turned into a media frenzy. Bowie wrote several songs about his brother's struggle with mental illness, including "All The Madmen" and "Jump They Say."
Bowie grew up fascinated by American culture, including football. He used to listen to the games as a teenager and once wrote to the US embassy in London, who sent him a football uniform.
It is a myth that Bowie has two different colored eyes. In fact, both are blue, but the pupil of Bowie's left eye became enlarged and frozen after a fist fight with his best friend in school, George Underwood (it was over a girl). He and George stayed friends, however, and played in a band together as teens. In 2004, during a concert in Norway, a lollipop was hurled on stage and wedged itself in Bowie's left eye. Thankfully, Bowie escaped serious injury.
Bowie was a big fan of dance and he was trained in mime by Lindsey Kemp, who also taught Kate Bush. In 1969, Bowie would do a mime act before the folk band, Tyrannosaurus Rex (who would later become the glam rock band, T. Rex) came on stage.
Bowie's first commercial breakthrough came in 1969, with the song "Space Oddity," which was rush-released to coincide with the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Bowie met his first wife, Angela, at a King Crimson concert in 1969. The relationship didn't end well, and she would later sue Bowie for $56 million. David said being married to her was "like living with a blowtorch." When he divorced Angela in 1980, she signed a 10-year gag order prohibiting her from talking about Bowie. When the order expired in 1990, she went on The Joan Rivers Show and claimed she once found Bowie and Mick Jagger in bed together, naked. Bowie and Jagger strongly denied the story.
Bowie and Angela had one child, Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones, in 1971. Jones has since gone on to become a successful film director and is the brain behind Moon (2009) and Source Code (2011). Jones has a tempestuous relationship with his mother, with Angela telling The Guardian in 2010: "I haven't heard from Zowie, or Duncan as he calls himself now, for five years. He emailed me but the relationship didn't progress and I think reconciliation is unlikely."
In 1972, Bowie released The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, a concept album about a rock star named Ziggy Stardust. Bowie adopted this persona, iconic for his wild costumes and makeup, for two years. In 1972, Bowie announced he was bisexual in the English magazine Melody Maker while in character as Ziggy Stardust. Bowie later explained that he could say things like that as Ziggy because he was less inhibited. Other personas Bowie adopted include Halloween Jack and The Thin White Duke. Bowie later claimed he was painfully shy and that is why he took on personas: "I didn't really have the nerve to sing my songs onstage, so I decided to do them in disguise."
Bowie began writing and composing the music to a musical version of George Orwell's 1984 but this was scrapped due to the Orwell estate's refusal to give authorization. Some of the songs turned up on the 1973 album, Diamond Dogs, where there is a strong 1984 theme, especially on songs like "Big Brother" and "We Are The Dead." Several other outtakes have circulated that were apparently intended for the musical. (thanks, Charlie - Stittstown, Canada)
Bowie made his feature film debut in the 1976 movie, The Man Who Fell to Earth, about an extraterrestrial who crash lands on Earth while seeking water for his planet. Bowie also wrote and recorded the soundtrack to the film in demo form with Paul Buckmaster, but it was turned down in favor of a more bluesy Americana soundtrack put together by John Philips. Bowie's original soundtrack (rumored to contain the blueprints to one or two of his released songs) is one of the most sought after rarities by his fans.
Bowie developed a severe cocaine addiction in the mid '70s. He claimed he lived on a diet of "peppers, cocaine and milk." At the time, he suffered with paranoia and reportedly kept his urine in the fridge in case someone stole it. Bowie also became obsessed with black magic and, following a visit from Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, he exorcised his house as he believed Page brought poltergeists to the place.
In 1976, Bowie moved to West Berlin in an attempt to kick his cocaine habit. It was here he recorded the "Berlin Trilogy" - Low, Lodger and Heroes - three albums recorded in collaboration with former Roxy Music keyboardist, Brian Eno. While in Berlin, Bowie rented an apartment with Iggy Pop.
In 1977, Bowie featured on Bing Crosby's television special, Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas. The pair were meant to sing "The Little Drummer Boy," but Bowie hated the song, so new lyrics were swiftly written for him titled "Peace on Earth." Crosby died on October 14th, just five weeks after recording the special. In the UK, "The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth" became an unlikely hit five years later, and has been an enduring Christmas classic ever since.
Bowie's 1983 album, Let's Dance features Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitar. Bowie invited Vaughan to play for him after he saw him at a festival a year beforehand. Vaughn was also the original guitar player for Bowie's 1983 Serious Moonlight tour, but due to conflicts between management he left, and guitarist Earl Slick learned the show in 3 days to replace Vaughn.
Bowie appeared at London's Wembley Stadium on July 13, 1985, as part of Live Aid charity concert. Bowie also recorded a cover of "Dancing in the Street" with The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger, with all proceeds from the duet going to the Live Aid charity.
Alongside his music, Bowie has had an enviable acting career. In 1980, Bowie played John Merrick in the Broadway play The Elephant Man. Films that Bowie has appeared in include Nagisa Oshima's Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, Jim Henson's Labyrinth, Martin Scorcese's The Last Temptation of Christ, David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Ben Stiller's Zoolander and Christopher Nolan's The Prestige. In 2008, Bowie voiced the Lord Royal Highness in SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis. He was once asked to play the villain in the James Bond movie A View To A Kill, but Bowie turned it down. The role was eventually given to Christopher Walken.
On April 24, 1992, Bowie married the supermodel Iman at a registrar office in Lausanne, Switzerland. June later that year, the couple renewed their vows in Florence, Italy, after doubting the legality of their wedding in Switzerland. David and Iman have one daughter, Alexandria Zahra Jones, born in 2000.
In 1996, Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2002, he ranked at #29 on BBC's The 100 Greatest Britons poll. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed him at #39 on their list of the 100 Greatest Rock Artists of All Time, and in 2006, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bowie intended to deliver a new album titled Toy in 2001, but it was never officially released, with Bowie blaming "scheduling conflicts." Toy leaked on to the internet ten years later, much to excitement of Bowie's fans.
Bowie was one of the first artists to realize the power of the internet. In 1997 he broke new ground with the internet-only release of his single "Telling Lies." Bowie once programmed three internet radio stations on to his website. Two were available to members only, while the other played kids' songs inspired by his daughter, Alexandria.
In 2004, Bowie had emergency heart surgery after he developed a blocked artery. Upon recovery, Bowie said: "I tell you what...I won't be writing a song about this one."
Since his heart surgery, Bowie has laid low, with one biographer, Paul Trynka, claiming he has "retired." Bowie is rarely seen in public nowadays - the last time he performed live was with Alicia Keys at the Black Ball, a New York charity event, in 2006.
In 2003, Bowie turned down a knighthood from the Queen. Bowie told The Sun why he shunned the chance to be a "Sir": "I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don't know what it's for. It's not what I spent my life working for."
Bowie started playing the saxophone at the age of 12. He plays the instrument on Steeleye Span's version of "To Know Him Is To Love Him," which can be found on their 1974 album, Now We Are Six.
Bowie draws, sculpts and paints in his spare time. His favorite artists include Tintoretto, John Bellany, Erich Heckel and Picasso.

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Comments:

@ Marlow: Maybe the pretty Asian Maiden (Geeling Ng) and Mr. Bowie were having sex *for real* in the China Girl video, but she was NOT a minor and NOT sixteen. As far as I know, she was an adult and was even David Bowie's sweetheart for a while (lucky lady!)
- Rayna, Pembroke pines, FL
Mr. Best in Class (alt-rock God), David Bowie, must write and sing a rebuke to William Shatner's despicable recording of Space Oddity, where he says the song is about an astronaut, alone in space (which is, apparently, where Me. Shatner's intelligence has escaped to, along with his Romulan friends)... Go Dave, go Dave, do Dave... sing a song about William Shatner's career on Star Trek, as a joke, in rebuttal to his slaughtering Space Oddity - Bowie is my all-time fav, seen in concert over 20 times (all two times he played in Ottawa - remember the first one David, 'cause i sure don't hehe)
- marc, Cornwall, ON
I've listened to and loved david bowie for as long as i can remember; the first soung i ever learnt to play on the guitar was "spaceoddity".
Through his influence and my admaration for him, Bowie has somehow formed a part of my identity; as by knowing of him I know more of me.
- ZOE, DUBLIN, Ireland
I dont know where to began on this man, I guess when I fell in love with him about a year ago He was 'jareth' in the first movie i saw of him. just as jin henson said he was 'leather-boy, very much 'grims fairytale' but underneath very romantic. he must be a very romantic guy. by far the most interesting man I've ever herd speak. I'd love to meet him but i'm afraid to, not because he's david bowie (the superstar) just because Im afraid of what I feel.
- non o fyour business, aroundtown, OH
I cannot say enough about this sexy, handsome, gifted and golden-voiced gentleman. His sound and music style has changed throughout the decades but has been consistent in its excellence -- from the early years to Ziggy to Berlin/Eno to Let's Dance, Tonight, and Never Let me Down to Tin Machine to the present, Mr. Bowie has remained a beautiful and talented fellow whose voice and music is unparalleled. Face of an angel, voice to match, and tunes that stick in the brain, please the ear, and leave the mind blown. Long live the Thin White Duke
- Rayna, Pembroke pines, FL
I saw david bowie concert back in 2004(the very first time i've seen his concert) when he came to sydney and he was so awesome and still handsome at his age(he was 57 i think) and i've been his idol since i was in my early teens back in the early 70's.All i can say is boy he can still sing the same as he did back then.And I wish he could come back to sydney to do another concert and i love to get his autograph to be remembered by him.And he will keep on singing till he's ready to hang up his guitar and there will never be another ZIGGY STARDUST ON EARTH AND HE IS OUR LEDGEND OF ROCK AND ROLL,FOREVER.
- glenda, sydney, Australia
Duncan's other name: Zowie was inspired by the Classical Greek rendering of a word for life, roughy, zoe...hence Zowie. Specifically the 'breath' of life.
- Nick, Santa Maria, CA
ok iknow this is a page about Bowie facts but pleeeeeze lay off the Terry Burns sh*t and concentrate on the talent and the music for which I for one am forever grateful. Keep up the good work Dave You lift me up when i am down. One of my favourites I used to play when going through Chemo was The Prettiest Star which was dedicated to my grandaughter Sophie who along with you music kept me alive. 4 years an still here. Thanks mate
- gail, lismore, Australia
I just wanna say Happy Birthday Duncan or whatever you choose to call yourself. My son Jamie aka Chunka aka James aka Will shares your birthday. Must be something about Geminis and their names. Ya think? i have a daughter who loves David Bowie and she has passed it on to her 2 daughters aged 4 &5 who love Labyrnith and Gene genie to mention a couple. I think we are the world's biggest Bowie fans and wish Duncan all the best for his future. To marlow perth you are full of sh*t mate don't knock Bowie . you don't know what you are talking about
- gail, lismore, Australia
Terry Burns was imortalised as 'Aladine Sane'
- Brian Pomeroy, London, United States
Oh dear, a page about David Bowie where no one knows anything about David Bowie!!!! What a lot of mis-information e.g.

"Terry Burns, who was his mother's son from a previous marriage, was severely schizophrenic. He jumped out of a window where he was institutionalized, which was a successful suicide attempt after some failed attempts."

Actually, he threw himself in front of a train.

"David's sons full name including press name and all that is something like Duncan Zowie "Joey" Haywood Bowie Jones."

His name is Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones.

"the song Space Oddity is actually making fun of a movie in the late 60s called Space Oddysey"

The film was called '2001 a Space Odyssey', and since it's one of Bowie favourite films I doubt he was making fun of it.

"he was a student at an English art school"

He was never at art school. He was at secondary school, and art was one of the subjects he studied.

Need I go on? The correct info is freely available on the net so there really was no excuse for all these errors.

Appalling!!!!
- Steve, London, England
The following is not true: "David Bowie's first TV appearance had nothing to do with music. He appeared on UK's 'Tonight' show in 1965 in his capacity as the founder member of 'The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Boys'" He was on TV with his band at the time (whose name escapes me) and used this tangent as a publicity stunt after they had performed on the show.
- Angelique, Allentown, PA
Rock on David!!Your's good now as when I first heard ya in the early 70's:)!!!
- david, ALEXANDRIA, IN
I just noticed David Bowie was born on Elvis Presley's 12th brthday.
- Mike, Germantown, MD
dose anybody still come to this site?
- Jaime, marshall, MI
i love david bowie. he is like 58 and im only 13 but i dont care.is it true that he is married to a young model? has anybody on this site ever met him? dose anybody know if he still dose concerts in england. please answer my ?'s.
- Jaime, marshall, MI
David Bowie is the greatest singer/actor ever. i love him so much.i am only 13 but i know who he is i have even sent him fan letter. one inviting him to my b-day.am i crazy that he will reply?
- Jaime, marshall, MI
Genius
- Ben, NYC, MS
George Underwood is a childhood friend of Bowie's who played in early Bowie groups and eventually became a commerical artist/illustrator. He was involved in the design of the album sleeves for HUNKY DORY (1971) and THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS (1972)
Underwood IS also responsible for Bowie's famous paralysed left pupil - which leaves him with what appeared to be different coloured eyes (due to light refraction) and pupil size - caused by a punch during a childhood fight over the same girl.
- solaris, Athens, Greece
David's sons full name including press name and all that is something like Duncan Zowie "Joey" Haywood Bowie Jones. I think...not positive...that he (Duncan) is a philosophy major or something similar. Angie was the one who wanted to name him Zowie, supposedly beccause it means something spiritual in an african language. But what kind of a cruel coincidence is that? Zowie Bowie....Besides, the press was calling him Joey and that is his nickname, but his real first name is Duncan. Haywood was David's father's name and Duncan's second middle name.
- Sam, Earth unfortunately
Bowie was also in the movie "The Hunger".
- Donna, Omaha, NE
I think that the story that Lennon was involved in the making of "Young Americans" was a myth?BTW that is the most misunderstood,beautiful LP of all time,his vocals on "Right" are the most gorgeous he has ever done,and that is taking into consideration that he is also responsible for "Diamond Dogs" and "Hunky Dory" and "The Man Who Sold The World " and...................
- Jenny, Hereford, England
bowie is one of the best artists of all time and i recon that a hundred years his music won't be forgotten because it's so good and cool
- tom, harrogate, England
John Lennon played guitar on david bowie's cover of "Across The Universe", didn't he?
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
No, not the original "Across The Universe" but a cover that appeared on David's Young Americans album that featured John Lennon.
- Charlie, Stittstown, Canada
Is it true that Bowie was involved in "Across the Universe"? Im a HUGE Beatles fan and I never ever heard of that anywhere. I know that Lennon recorded and performed stuff with Elton John, and have heard that Elton John had connections to Bowie. If you listen to Lennon's "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" compared to say "Fashion" you might sort of understand this indirect influence. I am still sort of sceptical about the "Across the universe" thing.
- lexie, st. louis, MO
David Bowie also had a bit part in the movie Yellowbeard
- James, West Hills, CA
David Bowie is quite clearly a legend, and he makes me proud to be British.
- Jessica, London, England
This tends to be a common misconception here. John Lennon did not produce Young Americans. He and Bowie recorded and produced two songs together that ended up on the album (Fame and Across The Universe), and that's the farthest the two ever worked together.
- Charlie, Stittstown, Canada
bowie is great but not without the long time infuince of john lennon and his production of many songs including young american!
- david, plano, TX
It was last summer when I really found Bowie and his music in a gig. It was a thrill. I just can't understand how I have managed to avoid his wonderful songs before. I can really say that he's a real musician and an idol of mine - the first in my life actually.
- Saara, Eura, Finland
When Bowie is good, he is absolutely amazing. When he is bad, he really sucks (witness the mid-to late-80s). But his essential Bowieness transcends all his failures and even successes. Let's face it, the man is just a rock demi-god!
- anita, NYC, NY
Bowie... one of the most complete artists in the World... yesterday, today and tomorrow! No matter what he does...
- Eduardo, Mallorca, Spain
David Bowie is the best singer in the world. I love him more than anything in the world!
- Petra, Tokyo, Japan
I love David Bowie! I think he is one of the best singers in the world. His voice is teriffic.And he always sings without playback. And he can play the lot of instruments. I think more singers should give us a high-standard performance like he does.
- Jareth, England, United States
Okay, David Bowie is sooooooo awsome.he is like 58 but still he is awsome.I saw labrinth and I waz like "oh my gosh he is so hot".
- Libby, salt Lake city, UT
I saw Bowie in Argentina in 1997, it was great!
- Roma, Buenos Aires, Argentina
i remember labrynth it was a pretty good movie, childish, but prety good. the last time i saw it though,i was 10 and had no idea who david bowie was
- Charlie, Thomaston, CT
The david Bowie song "Something in the Air" was featured in the rolling credits of "Memento" as well as in the memento soundtrack.
- Everett, Providence, RI
David Bowie's first TV appearance had nothing to do with music. He appeared on UK's 'Tonight' show in 1965 in his capacity as the founder member of 'The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Boys'
- Matthew, Nr London, England
the song Space Oddity is actually making fun of a movie in the late 60s called Space Oddysey
- Ethan, SLC, UT
I recently saw David in concert and at 58 (I think) he's still hot and can rock the stage!
- Amy, McAlisterville, PA
during the film clip "china girl" he was having actual sex with a girl on the beach. her parents tried suing bowie claiming she was a minor. she was 16
- marlow, perth, Australia
Zowie Bowie now goe by Joe and is close to his father
- Danny, Grass Valley, CA
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