David Bowie was an English singer, songwriter, and actor who revolutionized the world of music with his larger-than-life persona and various experimentations with different genres of music. He is regarded as one of the most influential figures in music of the 20th century, and much acclaim is given to his various works during the 1970s. Bowie had an estimated 140 million worldwide album sales, making him one of the world’s bestselling musicians.
He was awarded 10 platinum, 11 gold, and eight silver album certifications in the UK, and has 11 number one albums in his discography. He also enjoyed widespread success in the US music scene, receiving five platinum and nine gold certifications. In 1996, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
David Bowie Bio
David Bowie was born David Robert Jones on the 8th of January, 1947 in Brixton, London. His parents were Haywood Stenton and Margaret Mary (née Burns) Jones; a promotions officer for Barnardo’s children charity and a waitress at a cinema in Royal Tunbridge Wells, respectively. Bowie also had siblings: a half-brother, Terry Burns, and two half-sisters, Annette, and Myra Ann. He attended Stockwell Infants School where he gained the reputation of being gifted, single-minded, and a brawler.
The family moved to Bromley in 1953 and in 1955, Bowie began attending Burnt Ash Junior School. He joined the choir at this point and showed skills in playing the recorder. When he was nine, he grabbed the attention of his teachers with his imaginative and artistic dancing skills and composure. The same year saw his interest in music pique as his father brought home a collection of American music from the likes of Fat Domino, The Platters, and Elvis Presley. By the end of 1956, he had started playing the ukulele, tea-chest bass and piano, mesmerizing his Wolf Cub group with stage performances of songs by Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. David Bowie finished from Burnt Ash Junior and moved on to Bromley Technical High School.
In Bromley, Bowie studied art, music, and design, nurturing his interest in modern jazz. He was later gifted with a Grafton saxophone by his mother and he started receiving lessons from baritone saxophonist, Ronnie Ross.
Bowie’s different eye colors are as a result of an injury he received from his friend George Underwood. Underwood had punched his left eye during a fight. The resulting injury would leave Bowie with a permanently dilated pupil, which gave the look of a different color. This difference in eye colors would go on to be one of his most recognizable features. Despite this, David and George remained friends, with the latter creating the artwork for David’s early albums.
David Bowie created his first band when he was 15, performing at weddings and local youth gatherings. He had a hard time getting a footing in the music industry, and this wasn’t helped by the constant changes in his bandmates. To prevent people from confusing him with Davy Jones of the Monkees, he changed his name to David Bowie in the 1960s. 1963 marked the start of his professional music career.
In 1967, he released his debut album, David Bowie, which ended up being a flop. In the same year, he met and enrolled in the dance class of Lindsay Kemp at the London Dance Centre, stepping up his dancing skills for performances to come. His musical breakthrough happened when he released his single Space Oddity in July 1969, making it his first top-five entry on the UK Singles Chart. His next influential musical production was the creation of his flashy and androgynous alter-ego Ziggy Stardust.
The 1970s would turn out to be the most productive period of David Bowie’s career. In 1972, he collaborated with the band Spiders from Mars to release the hit album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. This album would go on to give him global recognition. His experimentation with different musical styles and genres as well as his magnetic performances made him one of the most influential and popular musicians of the decade.
His most successful albums include Aladdin Sane (1973), Pin Ups (1973), Diamond Dogs (1974), Young Americans (1975, an album that saw him break grounds in the US, even though it alienated his UK fanbase a bit), Station to Station (1976), and Low (1977). His walk into the 80s was opened with the album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (1980).
After a long hiatus from his 2003 album Reality, David Bowie returned to his solo act in 2013 with the release of his album The Next Day. He released a compilation album Nothing Has Changed in 2014 before his final album Blackstar was released in January 2016.
Wife and Daughter
David Bowie got married to Mary Angela Barnett in March 1970. Together they had a son, Duncan Zowie Jones born on the 30th of May, 1971. The marriage between Bowie and Angela didn’t last and by February 1980 they had officially abandoned the union.
David Bowie’s Net Worth
David Bowie’s success as a musician and an actor allowed him to garner a nice net worth while he was alive. Reports have it that he left a huge amount of his fortune for his wife and kids after his passing; an amount to the tune of $100 million. Giving half of his net worth as well as his luxury SoHo apartment to his wife, he left 25 percent of his fortune to each of his kids.
His benevolence didn’t stop there though, as he reportedly left $2 million to his assistant Corinne Schwab and $1 million to a nanny identified as Alexandria.
Was He Gay?
In a 1972 interview with Michael Watts David Bowie declared himself gay. And then in a September 1976 interview with Playboy, he stated he was bisexual. This confession was backed up by his wife at the time, Angie, who alleged that Bowie had once had a relationship with Mick Jagger. David Bowie also stated that his interests in homosexuality were as a result of the times and situations he’d found himself in.
Cause of Death
In the middle of 2014, David Bowie was diagnosed with liver cancer. However, only his family and a few close friends were aware of it. He chose to keep it private from other friends and the general public. Bowie underwent chemotherapy and it was believed that the cancer was in remission in 2015. However, in November 2015 he was told that his condition had become terminal because the cancer had spread throughout his body.
Bowie decided to stop chemotherapy thereafter. His 25th album, Blackstar was released on the 8th of January, coinciding with his 69th birthday. On the 10th of January 2016, David Bowie passed on surrounded by family in his New York City Lafayette Street home.