David Bowie

zzz1David Bowie        

(b. David Robert Jones

8 January 1947)

Bowie first caughtSwans bird graphics the eye and ear of the public in July 1969, when his song “Space Oddity” reached the top five of the UK Singles Chart. After a three-year period of experimentation during which time Marc was in the ascendency,he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust, spearheaded by the hit single “Starman” and the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

Bowie’s impact at that time, as described by biographerSwans bird graphics David Buckley, “challenged the core belief of the bowie60rock music of its day” and “created perhaps the biggest cult in popular culture. The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona proved merely one facet of a career marked by continual reinvention, musical innovation and striking visual presentation.

The cliché about Bowie is that he was a musical chameleon, adapting himselfbow23 according to fashion and trends. While such a criticism is too glib, there’s no denying that Bowie demonstrated a remarkable skill for perceiving musical trends at his peak in the ’70s. After spending several years in the late ’60s as a mod and as an all-around music hall entertainer Bowie, reinvented himself as a hippie singer/songwriter. Prior to his breakthrough in 1972, he recorded a proto-metal record and a pop/rock album, eventually redefining glam rock with his ambiguously sexy Ziggy Stardust persona.

Ziggy made Bowie an internationalbow80 star,Swans bird graphics yet he wasn’t content to continue to churn out glitter rock. By the mid-’70s, he’d developed an effete, sophisticated version of Philly soul that he dubbed “plastic soul,” which eventually morphed into the eerie avant pop of 1976’s Station to Station. Shortly afterward, he relocated to Berlin, where he recorded three experimental electronic albums with Brian Eno.

90At the dawn ofSwans bird graphics the ’80s, Bowie was still at the height of his powers, yet following his blockbuster dance-pop album Lets Dance in 1983, he slowly sank into mediocrity before salvaging his career in the early ’90s. Even when he was out of fashion in the ’80s and ’90s, it was clear that Bowie was one of the most influential musicians in rock, for better and for worse. Each one of his phases in the ’70s sparked a number of subgenres, including punk, new wave, goth rock, the new romantics, and electronica. Few rockers have ever had such lasting impact.

mandb3 Back in 1965Swans bird graphics Marc and David, another Londoner, just a few months older than Marc struck up a friendship through a song publisher, Les Conn, who briefly managed both of them. “We met each other,” Bowie says, “when we were poured into the manager’s office to whitewash the walls. So there’s me and this mod whitewashing Les’s office. And he goes, ‘Where d’you get those shoes, man? Where d’you get your shirt?’

We immediatelymandb1 started talking about clothes and sewingSwans bird graphics machines. ‘Oh I’m gonna be singer and I’m gonna be so big you’re not gonna believe it, man.’ Oh, right, well I’ll probably write a musical for you one day. Cos I’m gonna be the greatest writer ever. ‘No, no, man, you’ve gotta hear my stuff cos I write great things. And I knew a wizard in Paris,’ and it was all this. Just whitewashing walls in our manager’s office.”

bowie33Marc Bolan and David Bowie would haveSwans bird graphics been bandmates had it not been for the T-Rex star’s wife, who disliked her husband’s musical pal. Legendary producer Tony Visconti has revealed Bowie and Bolan worked together in the late 1960s and came very close to forming their own supergroup. “All I wanted to do was promote Marc as an electric guitarist; I thought it would have been a great coup to have him play on David’s record. David was extremely happy to have Marc play on the record. After Marc had played this brilliant solo… (Bolan’s wife) June just sniped at David, ‘He’s too good for you! He shouldn’t play on your music!’ and she dragged Marc out. It was one of the few times that I saw him at a loss for words. Marc just wanted to be a star; this was like the carpet was pulled Swans bird graphicsout from under him. If Bowie had asked him to join the band, he probably would have.” Instead the two became glam-rock icons in the 1970s.
z4Tony Visconti recalls memoriesSwans bird graphics of earlier times. ‘David was more of a “good guy”. He felt he was part of a movement. He had the Arts Lab at the Three Tuns down in Beckenham, where he would give his contemporaries a break in front of the microphone, like Keith Christmas or Ralph McTell. Marc felt like he was in competition with everyone, and he felt in competition with David. David thought there was room for everybody. They’d be together at my place quite often, it was neutral ground and we all just got on great. We’d have maybe one bottle of wine between 10 people as it’s all we could afford, and copious amounts of tea. We’d just jam and listen to records. It was a great time. They were younger than me and still living with their mums, I was their big Swans bird graphicsAmerican cousin in Earls Court.”
bow321The Bolan-Bowie attraction was instant. They forged a special relationship upon which plenty have poured scorn, but which was real enough to those who watched it unfold. ‘There was always a certain rivalry,’ admits Keith Altham, who over the years acted as publicist for both artists. ‘But they were very close. They had what they had between them, they didn’t have to prove it to anybody else. Which is why, I think, David doesn’t ever speak about it. There was a real love there. They were very similar, in so many ways. They could have been brothers.’
Bowie’s song for Bolan, Lady Stardust, was both a tribute to a fellow traveller and an attempt to press Bolan into legend, making him a predecessor to Bowie’s own creation,Ziggy Stardust, the last rock star. For a brief moment in 1972-73,Swans bird graphics they were on top together—Bowie breaking through with “Starman” while T. Rex were in the midst of its streak of top-charting singles.
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