My Legends of Pop Music – Part Twenty One – David Bowie

If get this right, there will be many cover versions by future bands. I shall try and link live versions if they exist from the tellybox or a film, the sound quality may not be the best, but there is nothing like watching a real talent live.

So, in a sort of chronological order, my twenty-first legend is: David Bowie

 Curtesy of Wiki:

David Robert Jones OAL (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie was an English singer-songwriter and actor. A leading figure in the music industry, Bowie is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. He 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 pop music.

Bowie developed an interest in music as a child. He studied art, music and design before embarking on a professional career as a musician in 1963. “Space Oddity“, released in 1969, was his first top-five entry on the UK Singles Chart. After a period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with his flamboyant and androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The character was spearheaded by the success of Bowie’s single “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” and the album Young Americans. In 1976, Bowie starred in the cult film The Man Who Fell to Earth, directed by Nicolas Roeg, and released Station to Station. In 1977, he further confounded expectations 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 reached his peak commercial success in 1983 with Let’s Dance: its title track topped both the UK and US charts. 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. In 2013, Bowie returned from a decade-long recording hiatus with The Next Day. He remained musically active until his death from liver cancer at his home in New York City. He died two days after both his 69th birthday and the release of his final album, Blackstar (2016).

During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at over 100 million records worldwide, made him one of the best-selling music artists 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. Rolling Stone named him among the greatest artists in history and – after his death – the “greatest rock star ever”.

A full discography is here: – David Bowie

The featured song Space Oddity was his first hit.  Just so different from *normal* pop music and by no means a novelty type tune either.  Released in 1969, but the featured version is from a live performance in 1980, superb.

Changes – Released in 1972, this is from a live performance from a Paris concert in 2002.

Starman – Awesome live performance recorded in 1972

John, I’m Only Dancing (Official Video) from 1972

The Jean Genie  – Top of the Pops performance from 1973.

Drive-In Saturday (Live at the Elysée Montmartre, Paris on 14th October, 1999)

Life on Mars (Glastonbury 2000) – Truly an amazing performance.

Rebel Rebel (Live Berlin 2002)

Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide (Live, 1973 from the Hammersmith Odeon)

Young Americans – From the Dick Cavett show in 1974.

Suffragette City – Live in Tokyo – 1978 – one of my favourites.

Sound and Vision – Live on A&E Live By Request, from Sony Music Studios, New York, 15th June 2002

Heroes – Live in Berlin, 2002

Ashes To Ashes (2000) – Live in London concert

Under Pressure  – David Bowie and Annie Lennox and Queen.  From the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 2013.  Just how good is this!

The Little Drummer Boy (Peace On Earth) – Bing Crosby & David Bowie – Well, it is nearly Christmas and this was a wonderful pairing with the immortal Bing.  Bing Crosby made 42 Christmas specials; this was his last one in 1977.

Let’s Dance –  Glastonbury 2000 – Smoking a cigarette as well!

China Girl – Live concert in Paris in 2002

Absolute Beginners – Live Glass Spider Tour 1987

I finish my list with an all-time favourite:
Ziggy Stardust – live 1972

His back catalogue (not a euphemism) is very extensive, but I hope I have picked out some of your favourites as well.

Singalong, enjoy and be happy!

Links to previous Legend articles:

1-Buddy Holly 2-Elvis Presley 3-Everly brothers 4-Cliff Richard 5-Joe Brown
6-Gerry and the Pacemakers 7-Roy Orbison 8-The Seekers 9-The Hollies 10-The Rolling Stones
11-Beach Boys 12-The Monkees 13-Rod Stewart 14-T-Rex 15-Slade
16-10CC 17-Pussycat 18-The Kinks 19-Blondie 20-Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music
21-David Bowie

Featured Image: “rise and fall of ziggy stardust – david bowie 1972” by oddsock is licensed under CC BY 2.0

© Phil the ex test manager 2021