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It’s been over five years since David Bowie—one of the most impressive musicians in the world—passed away. To this day, however, fans and musicians remember the influential pop/rock musician with joy. But how exactly did David Bowie manage to become one of the most famous artists with numerous albums and hits in his 50-year career? In this post we look back and show you what made David Bowie a legend.
To give you a brief overview of David Bowie as a person, we have summarized the most important data in a profile.
|First name||David Robert|
|Born||January 8th, 1947 in Brixton, Great Britain|
|Died||January 10, 2016|
|Age||Bowie turned 69 years old|
|Marriages||Angie Bowie (1970 to 1980), Iman Abdulmadjid (1992 to 2016)|
|Children||Duncan (1971), Alexandria Zahra (2000)|
Before David Bowie became one of the greats with hits like “Starman” or “Heroes,” he, too, started small. At 15 he founded his first band, “The Kon-Rads.” However, the band didn’t last long, which is why Bowie devoted himself to his solo career in the mid-1960s. The reason for the band's end was probably his eccentric nature, making him a difficult bandmate to work with.
To avoid being confused with another popular British musician, Jones soon adopted the name “David Bowie,” paying homage to a character from the American film The Alamo. Although sill an underdog, his first solo album came under the new name in 1966. Unlike many other musicians, however, David Bowie not only dreamed of making music since childhood, but also dreamed of being able to make a living from it. After his first songs (mainly satirical, mockery songs), he devoted himself to the study of Tibetan Buddhism. Although he never completely turned his back on music, during the late 1960s his focus was more on his education than on his music career.
After this training phase, there was a change of style in Bowie's music. He distanced himself from the satirical streak and from then on attached more importance to a poetic style. The second album was a lot more accurate in this regard and made it into the charts after a flop with the first album. The 1969 album "Space Oddity" became the basis of his success.
His real breakthrough came when he switched labels, from “Mercury” to “RCA.”There David Bowie became the world star who is still known in every country today. After some investments in the marketing of his character, the old albums were also re-released and adapted to his new style. In the same year, David Bowie was able to embark on a sold-out tour across America, on which he played his most famous hits to date.
One of the real masterpieces was the album “The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars,” released in the early 1970s. Bowie’s alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust, was born with it and became a symbol of David Bowie's sexual attitude, which was difficult to explain for many years. With glittering outfits and high heels, he succeeded with this figure, at least musically, to soften the boundaries between the sexes and to present himself as well as many other people in a completely new way.
In addition to the aforementioned album from 1972, there were many other albums that came with new songs and impressive performances. From albums like "Hunky Dory" in 1971 to exciting releases such as "Diamond Dogs" in 1974. All of these albums contributed to David Bowie's fame and still make him an exceptional artist today:
In 1976 David Bowie moved to West Berlin: A city that was heavily influenced by the Cold War. This phase of life is also reflected in the songs that were created in this phase as part of his rather dark “Berlin trilogy.” It was not until the mid-1980s that his music developed more happily and thus again in a completely new interpretation of his genre. Songs like "China Girl" and "Let's Dance" shape the style and the associated appearance as a talented musician to this day.
No single genre could encapsulate the breadth of music across Bowie’s career. While his works in the pop genre belong to the core of popular music to this day, his works were never easy to assign a distinct label. Also in the 1990s, David Bowie fundamentally developed his music one more time. At that time he also devoted himself to the genres of jazz and hip-hop with electronic sounds and new trends. It was his pop music in the mid-1970s, however, that launched him into stardom.
In 1989 David Bowie founded his new band “The Machine,” which unfortunately didn’t see the success he had hoped for. The tour, which took place in 1992, was therefore a failure despite Bowie’s numerous previous hits. The band therefore came to an end after only about three years. In the same year, Bowie married his second wife, Iman Abdulmadjid. From then on, Bowie lived with her and their son in New York. There he continued to work on his musical career. In New York, for example, Bowie created the popular soundtrack for the TV series “The Buddha Of Suburbia.” In addition to music, he also devoted himself to art in New York. He was involved in the scene and even exhibited his own works.
After he was still able to make a living from his music sales in the following time, he bought back all rights to his songs in 1997. Due to the cooperation with various labels, these were, in many cases, still with the label itself. In total, around 250 songs on 25 albums were now part of the exceptional artist’s portfolio. With this work David Bowie went public, which brought him 55 million US dollars. According to Business Age magazine, David Bowie became the richest British rock musician with a fortune of more than $900 million. He still didn't want to say goodbye to music.
Even during the 2000s David Bowie worked on many new works and songs that are still of musical importance today. At the same time, he discovered his interest in acting and worked in several thrillers and films. Still things got much calmer around David Bowie, who was diagnosed with cancer with serious complications. Just two days after his final album “Blackstar,” the release of which he celebrated on his 69th birthday, the exceptional artist died from the complications of his illness. But his many songs will not be forgotten.
While his singing voice in the school choir was ironically described as “adequate” at the time, David Bowie has developed into a real exceptional talent over the years. Above all, the versatility and emotionality of his voice ensured that each new song could elicit unique feelings with a completely new style. This made the music powerful, but at the same time emotional and activating. It is not without reason that David Bowie is not only celebrated as a songwriter but above all as an exceptional singer.
The variety of different tones and styles of music made it possible for him to oscillate across many genres and categories. He was able to express many different sides and facets of himself through music. Many music critics rate David Bowie's voice and related skills as one of the best of its kind.
We don't want to miss the opportunity to introduce you to the three most famous songs by David Bowie. These of course come from the most popular and greatest albums that reached billions of people around the world during the 70s and 80s. The following songs are still significant today:
China Girl One of the biggest hits from the album “Let's Dance” was undisputedly China Girl. Although the album was originally written for Iggy Pop, David Bowie ultimately recorded the song himself. This is how the song attracted a lot of attention worldwide:
Under Pressure The cooperation between David Bowie and Queen was one of the highlights for modern rock. Under Pressure is one of the most famous Queen songs worldwide, which made both Bowie and Queen even more popular:
Heroes One of the most iconic pop songs of all time, Heroes can be found in the album of the same name. It is not without reason that many fans refer to this era as the high point of David Bowie's career, which can also be seen in the musical style. To this day, the song can be heard in many films:
Even if perfect careers are difficult to plan, David Bowie has done a lot of things right during his own musical career. This includes collaborations with Queen, the selection of new songs and topics, but also the frequent change of genre. Despite the setbacks caused by his eccentric nature, Bowie’s songs leave behind a lot of emotions, exciting backgrounds, deep insights and musical finesse. And it was probably that same eccentric manner that makes him unforgettable to this day.
Both new bands and committed musicians often cite Bowie as a role model and would like to try to follow in his footsteps. Even though he’s a tough act to follow, his inspiration will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the music industry.
Not only David Bowie is one of the remaining greats in the music industry. In our blog we introduce you to many great musicians. For example, you can find articles on Demi Lovato, LEA, Billie Eilish, Sam Fender and many more. If you make music yourself and are looking for fellow musicians, producers or music teachers, you should stop by our mukken portal. There you can connect and exchange ideas with other musicians, find new band members and continue your education.
Originally published on November 17, 2021, updated on January 11, 2022