- 1 Overview
- 2 History
- 3 Discography
- 4 Bowie the actor
- 5 Filmography
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
He is commonly known as a chameleon of popular music, predicting trends and adjusting his style and persona, while holding on to his own ideas and creativity. He first rose to prominence with the heady, 1969 folk rock single "Space Oddity" but is perhaps best known for the flamboyant, androgynous glam rock of Hunky Dory (1971), The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972), and Aladdin Sane (1973). Subsequent albums have explored blue-eyed soul, electronica and new wave, often predating these genres' popularity or even the point at which they were defined as genres.
Bowie has had a profound influence on rock music from the 1970s to the present. In the cable music network VH1's 2000 list of the 100 greatest artists of rock and roll, Bowie ranked seventh. In the British Broadcasting Corporation's list of 100 greatest Britons, Bowie ranked 29. He has sold an estimated 136 million albums in his career and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1947 to 1967: Early years
David Robert Jones was born in Brixton, London on January 8, 1947, apparently at his family's house at 40 Stansfield Road (but see discussion page). He lived in Brixton until he was six years old, when his family moved to Bromley in Kent (now part of Greater London). He lived with his parents until he was eighteen. He stated that his earliest musical goal was to be a saxophone player in Little Richard's group. Initially a saxophonist, he, quite by accident, was discovered as a singer when he subbed in for a missing vocalist at a club in London. He played with various blues groups, such as "The King Bees," "The Mannish Boys" and "The Lower Third" in the 1960s. Bowie's greatest strength throughout his career has been his ability to adapt his public image to fit, and often anticipate, the prevailing musical trends. His early work shifts through the blues and Elvis-esque music while working with many British pop styles.
Popular legend has it that in the spring of 1962, Bowie and his schoolmate, George Underwood, got into a fight over a girl. Underwood was wearing a ring when he struck Bowie, and it hit him in the left eye. Bowie was forced out of school for eight months and at one point it was feared that he would lose the sight in his left eye. He had several operations, but the doctors could not fully repair the damage, leaving his pupil permanently dilated. As a result, Bowie has faulty depth perception and his left eye, although actually blue, now usually appears to be brown or green (depending on the ambient lighting). In any case, the difference between his eyes added an exotic element to the good looks that would benefit Bowie throughout his career. Coincidentally, Underwood later went on to do artwork for Bowie's earlier album covers.
Heavily influenced by the dramatic arts—from avant-garde theatre and mime to Commedia dell'arte—much of his work has involved the creation of characters or personae to present to the world.The aspiring rock star needed to use a different stage name to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of The Monkees, so he chose the last name Bowie after the Alamo hero Jim Bowie and his famous Bowie Knife. David pronounces "Bowie" to rhyme with "Joey".
Bowie released his first solo album in 1967 for Deram records, simply called David Bowie, an amalgam of Psychedelic Rock and Easy Listening. Also released was a single, "The Laughing Gnome", with the cult-classic B-side "The Gospel According to Tony Day". None of these managed to chart; the 1967 album is hard to find today, although it exists in counterfeit copies. However the materials of both the album, the single, and several other works were later recycled in a multitude of compilation albums, and "The Laughing Gnome," much to Bowie's embarrassment, was re-released in 1973, selling over 250,000 copies to become one of his best selling singles.
1969 to 1973: Glam rock and Iggy Pop
His first flirtation with fame came in 1969 when his single Space Oddity was released to coincide with the first moon landing. This ballad was the story of what was often called Bowie's first dual-subject and role, Major Tom, an astronaut who becomes lost in space. A failure when first released, it later became a UK hit record. Its corresponding album was originally titled David Bowie, and has caused some confusion, as both of Bowie's first and second albums were released with that name in the UK. In the U.S. the second album bore the title Man of Words, Man of Music. On March 19, 1970, David married Mary Angela Barnett (Angie/Angela Bowie) in Kent, England. In 1972, the second album was re-released as Space Oddity. While the album is not as hard to find as the original David Bowie, the highlights of the album are hardly well known.
The Man Who Sold the World (1970), rejected the acoustic guitar sound of Space Oddity, replacing it with the heavy rock backing provided by long-term collaborator Mick Ronson. On Bowie's part, the album provided some interesting musical detours, such as the title track's use of Latin sounds to hold the melody. The track provided an unlikely hit for UK pop singer Lulu and would be covered by many bands over the years, including Nirvana. The cover of the first release of this album, on which Bowie is seen reclining in a dress, was an early indication of his interest in exploiting his androgynous appearance.
His next record, Hunky Dory (1971) saw the partial return of the fey pop singer of Space Oddity, with light fare such as the droll "Kooks" (dedicated to his young son known to the world as Zowie Bowie but legally named Duncan Zowie Heywood Jones) and "Oh! You Pretty Things" alongside the semi-autobiographical "The Bewlay Brothers". Lyrically, Bowie also took a profound stand against other popular musicians of the time in his songs "Song for Bob Dylan", "Andy Warhol" and "Queen Bitch". The next year Bowie produced Lou Reed's solo breakthrough Transformer. Supported by the hit singles "Changes" and "Life on Mars?", Hunky Dory sold tremendously well and lifted Bowie into the first rank of stars. Bowie then had four top 10 albums and eight top ten singles in the UK in 18 months between 1972 and 1973.
Bowie's androgynous image was taken a step further with his next record, the seminal The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Ziggy Stardust was a concept album relating the career of an extraterrestrial rock singer. The album contained many hit singles, including "Ziggy Stardust", "Soul Love", "Starman", and "Suffragette City". Bowie's Ziggy Stardust character became the basis for his first tour beginning in 1972, where Bowie donned his famous red, flaming hair and wild outfits. The tour featured a four-piece band called the "Spiders from Mars", which consisted of himself, Mick Ronson on guitars, Trevor Bolder on bass, and Mick Woodmansey on drums. Bowie's show was an ultra-theatrical and wildly overproduced affair, filled with some rather shocking stage moments, such as Bowie stripping down to a sumo wrestling loincloth or simulating fellatio with Ronson's guitar. Bowie took the character to extremes, touring and giving press conferences as Ziggy before a dramatic and abrupt onstage "retirement" in 1973. The record contained some of Bowie's most acclaimed work, much of it a reaction to his own fame and the conflict between his privacy needs and the reality of stardom.
These themes were further explored, with the same musicians, on 1973's Aladdin Sane, another conceptual work about the disintegration of society. The album is commonly called his "On the Road" album, because all of the songs (except for a new version of an old single, "The Prettiest Star") were written on the bus or trains during the tour. The album's cover, featuring Bowie shirtless with Ziggy Stardust hair and a red, black, and blue lightning bolt across his face, is one of the most famous covers of all time. It included the hit "Jean Genie" and a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Let's Spend the Night Together". Mike Garson joined Bowie to play piano on this album, and his performance has been called the album's highlight. To this day, Garson often plays in Bowie's band.
Pin Ups, an indifferently received collection of cover versions of 1960's hits, was released in 1973. By that time, the "Spiders from Mars" were long split, and Bowie was trying to escape from his Ziggy persona.
The androgynous public and stage persona Bowie affected during this period sold records, but its popularity in gay culture and the emerging gay rights movement created controversy in England, where homosexuality was legally considered "sodomy" and was punishable by imprisonment. Bowie would further stir up controversy by publicly proclaiming himself bisexual, a claim he has since retracted and distanced himself from.
1974 to 1976: Soul, R&B, and the Thin White Duke
1974 saw the release of Diamond Dogs, another ambitious album with a spoken word passage and a song-cycle ('Sweet Thing/Candidate'). Diamond Dogs was the product of two distinct ideas - a musical based on a wild future in a post-apocalyptic city, and setting George Orwell's 1984 to music ('1984', 'Big Brother', 'We Are The Dead').
Bowie had planned on actually writing a musical to 1984, but his interest waned after encountering difficulties in licensing the novel, and he used the songs he had written for Diamond Dogs. The album — and an NBC television special, the 1980 Floor Show, broadcast at around the same time — demonstrates Bowie headed toward the genre of soul/disco music, the track 1984 being a prime example.
With the album came tremendous success, and Bowie launched a new world tour that lasted from 1974 to 1975, the Diamond Dogs tour. Wildly overproduced and filled with theatrical special effects, Bowie performed no encores in this extremely high-budget stage production, which has been noted as extremely memorable. (Bowie himself, however, has commented that the resulting live album David Live ought really to be called David Bowie Is Alive And Well And Living Only In Theory.)
Although still slowly morphing out of his Ziggy Stardust glamour, in 1975 Bowie made a sudden and very jolting step in a new direction, having taken the genderless-alien-cum-rock-star to (and possibly beyond) its limit, culminating in the lead role in Nicolas Roeg's film The Man Who Fell to Earth. He shed the glam rock trappings and, with Young Americans, explored Philadelphia soul with backing from a young Luther Vandross. (The Diamond Dogs tour had been renamed the Philly Dogs tour in its later stages.) Young Americans also contained his first number one hit in the U.S. Fame", co-written with John Lennon (who also contributed backing vocals) and one of Bowie's favourite guitarists and band members, Carlos Alomar, and based on a version of James Brown's Footstompin' which Bowie's band had taken to playing live during the Philly Dogs period.
1976's Station to Station featured a bleaker version of this soul persona, called The Thin White Duke. By then Bowie was heavily dependent on drugs, especially cocaine (it is rumoured that Bowie was in such a cocaine-induced haze that he actually does not remember the production of this album). Many have attributed the chopped rhythms and emotional detachment of the record to the influence of the drug, and often Bowie has blamed his addiction on a lack of judgement while being introduced to the substances in America. Nonetheless, there was another large tour in 1976, the Station to Station World Tour, which featured Bowie's soul hits. However, Station to Station presented an interesting new direction in Bowie's music, with interesting use of synthesizer and electronic sounds and a lean towards German pop music.
At around this time, Bowie became embroiled in a controversy caused by his comments to Playboy magazine apparently praising Hitler, and his statement to the effect that "Britain could benefit from a fascist leader". This was accompanied by some theatrics involving an open-top vintage Mercedes and what some claimed was a Nazi salute staged outside Victoria Station. Bowie would later angrily deny that "even I" would do something so "foolish" as raise a Nazi salute, although the open-top car ride perhaps offered much scope for misinterpretation. This incident, along with similarly controversial racist remarks by Eric Clapton around the same time, were catalysts for the formation of the Rock Against Racism movement. Later, Bowie retracted his comments, excusing himself by claiming his judgement had been affected by substance abuse.
1976 to 1980: Brian Eno and the Berlin era
Bowie's interest in the growing German music scene and his drug addiction prompted him to move to Berlin to dry out and rejuvenate his career anew. Sharing an apartment in Schöneberg with his friend Iggy Pop, he produced two more of his own classic albums, as well as aiding Pop in his solo career, helping him forge two of his most popular albums, Lust for Life and The Idiot; all four albums were released in Bowie's annus mirabilis 1977.
The brittle sound of Station to Station was a precursor to that found on Low, the first of three recorded in collaboration with Brian Eno. Heavily influenced by the Krautrock sound of Kraftwerk and others, the new songs were relatively simple, repetitive and stripped, a clear and typically perverse reaction to punk rock, with the second side almost wholly instrumental. (By way of tribute, proto-punk Nick Lowe recorded an EP entitled "Bowi".) The album provided him with no real hits, only a few favourites such as Sound and Vision and Always Crashing in the Same Car. However, it was renowned for having been far ahead of its time, and fascinates many to this day. Many have called it Bowie's best album. It was produced in 1976 and released in early 1977.
The next record, "Heroes", was similar in sound to Low, but slightly more accessible. The mood of these records fit the zeitgeist of the Cold War, symbolised by the divided city that provided inspiration. The title track was a worldwide hit and remains one of Bowie's best known, a classic love story about two lovers who met at the Berlin Wall. Also in 1977, Bowie appeared on the ITV music show Marc, hosted by his close friend and fellow glam pioneer Marc Bolan, with whom he had regularly socialised and jammed since before either became famous. He turned out to be the show's final guest, as Bolan was killed in a car crash shortly afterwards. Bowie was one of many superstars who attended the funeral.
There was a brief world tour in 1978 which featured the music of both Low and "Heroes". A live album of this tour was released, known as Stage. 1978 was also the year that featured Bowie releasing a narration recording of Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and The Wolf, which to this day is one of the best such recordings for Peter and The Wolf of all time.
Lodger (1979) was the final, and most accessible, of Bowie's so-called "Berlin Trilogy". It featured the hits "D.J.", "Boys Keep Swinging", and "Look Back in Anger", and it did not contain any instrumentals. However, the album is renowned for being quite a contorted mix of punk rock and world music, and pieces such as African Night Flight and Yassassin were surprising detours even by Bowie's standards. This was Bowie's last album with Eno until 1995's 1. Outside.
In 1980, Bowie did an about-face and made an unabashed bid for commercial success. Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) included the #1 hit Ashes To Ashes, revisiting the character of Major Tom from "Space Oddity". The imagery Bowie used in the song's music video was seen by many as that which gave international exposure to the underground New Romanticism movement and, with many of the followers of this phase being devotees, Bowie visited the London club "Blitz" - the main New Romantic hangout - and recruited several of the regulars to act in the video, renowned as being one of the most innovative music videos of all time. Scary Monsters clung to the principles that Bowie had learned in the Berlin era, however; it was very fresh considering the brutal transformation Bowie had gone through during the experience. Bowie had divorced his wife Angie, gone through withdrawal from the drugs of the "Thin White Duke" era, and his conception of how music should be written had totally changed. The album had a very hard rock sound with many innovations, and it laid much of the foundation for rock music in the 1980s.
The 1980s: Bowie the superstar
In 1981, Bowie released "Under Pressure", co-written by and performed with Queen. The song was a hit and became Bowie's third number one single as well as one of Queen's all time classics. The song appears on the Queen album Hot Space.
Bowie then scored his first truly commercial blockbuster with Let's Dance (1983), a slick dance album with co-production by Chic's Nile Rodgers. It was a departure from Scary Monsters for which Bowie received a bit of inside criticism; rather than joining the musical revolt against 1980s dance music, he had definitely joined the scene. Its title track has become a standard, and the album also featured the singles "Modern Love" and "China Girl", the latter causing something of a stir due to its suggestive promotional video. Oddly enough, "China Girl" was actually a new version of a song which Bowie had co-written with Iggy Pop for The Idiot. Let's Dance is also notable as a stepping stone for the career of the late Texan guitar virtuoso Stevie Ray Vaughan, who played on the album and was to have supported Bowie on his new world tour for the album The Serious Moonlight Tour. The tour was a huge success, and one concert actually scored Bowie a million dollars on its own. Vaughan, however, never joined the tour after a pay dispute between Bowie and Vaughan's manager at the time. Vaughan was replaced by Earl Slick.
The 1984 followup album Tonight, became his next big dance album, featuring collaborations with Tina Turner and a cover of the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows". Critics slammed it as a lazy effort, dashed off by Bowie simply to recapture Let's Dance's chart success. Yet the album bore the minor hit "Blue Jean", whose long-form video, a 22-minute short film directed by Julien Temple, reflected Bowie's long-standing interest in combining music with drama. It also featured the minor hit "Loving the Alien". The album also has a pair of dance version rewrites of "Neighbourhood Threat" and "Tonight", old songs Bowie wrote for Pop, both of which originally appeared on Lust for Life.
In 1985, Bowie performed several of his greatest hits in a memorable performance at the Wembley leg of Live Aid. At the end of his set, he introduced a film of the Ethiopian famine, for which the event was raising funds, which was set to the song "Drive" by the Cars. At the event, the video to a fundraising single was premiered – Bowie duetting with Mick Jagger on a version of "Dancing In The Street", which quickly went to Number 1 on release.
In 1986 Bowie contributed the theme song to the film Absolute Beginners. The movie was not well reviewed but Bowie maintained for many years that the song, a UK Number 2 hit, was one of the best and most professional he'd ever written. Also, after taking a role in the film Labyrinth, he wrote songs for the film, some of which became singles.
Bowie's final dance album was Never Let Me Down (1987), which drew some of the harshest criticism of Bowie's career, condemned by critics as a faceless piece of product and ignored by the public—Bowie himself openly apologised in an interview for the album being so bad; defenders of the album maintain that many of its songs are underrated and that Bowie at this time was simply facing the inevitable backlash of an overexposed superstar and argue that the singles, "Day-In, Day-Out" and "Time Will Crawl" are actually rather good songs.
The Glass Spider World Tour sought to market the album; however, critics slammed it as being too silly, overproduced, and pandering in its special effects and dancers. However fans that saw the shows from that Glass Spider tour were treated to many of Bowie's classics.
1989 to 1991: Tin Machine
In 1989, for the first time since the early 1970s, Bowie formed a regular band, Tin Machine, a hard-rocking quartet, along with Reeves Gabrels, Tony Sales, and Hunt Sales. Obviously influenced by many ascendent alternative rockers (including the Pixies), Tin Machine released two studio albums and a live record. The band received mixed reviews and a somewhat lukewarm reception from the public, but Tin Machine heralded the beginning of an ongoing collaboration between Bowie and Gabrels.
The original album, Tin Machine (1989), was actually a success, holding the number 3 spot on the charts of the UK. Tin Machine launched its first world tour, featuring a now unshaven David Bowie, that year. Despite the success of the Tin Machine venture, Bowie was mildly frustrated that many of his ideas were either rejected or changed by the band.
Bowie began the 1990s with a stadium tour, in which he played mostly his biggest hits. The "Sound + Vision Tour" (named after the Low single) drew large crowds, perhaps in part because he had declared that this would be the last time he would play the hits. Though he surprised no one when he later reneged on that promise (and also on the promise that his set in each country would be focused on the favourite hits voted by phone poll in that country... an idea quickly jettisoned when a puckish campaign by the British magazine NME resulted in a landslide in favour of The Laughing Gnome!), it is true that his later tours generally featured few of those hits, and when they appeared, they were often radically reworked in their arrangement and delivery.
After the less successful second album Tin Machine II and the complete failure of live album Oy Vey, Baby, Bowie tired of having to work in a group setting where his creativity was limited, and finally disbanded Tin Machine to work on his own. But the Tin Machine venture did show that Bowie had learned some harsh lessons from the previous decade, and was determined to get serious about concentrating on music more than commercial success.
1992 to today: Contemporary Bowie
1993 saw the release of the soul, jazz and hip-hop influenced Black Tie White Noise, which reunited Bowie with Let's Dance producer Nile Rodgers. Though considered by some critics to be musically far superior to Let's Dance, the public was still unsure whether or not it was ready to be receptive to Bowie again. The album, however, met the number one spot on the UK charts with singles such as "Jump They Say" and "Miracle Goodnight". However, until re-releases later in the 1990s, the album was extraordinarily rare after the fledgling Savage Records on which it had been released suddenly went belly-up. The album is often considered Bowie's oddest departure.
Undaunted, Bowie explored new directions on albums such as 1993's The Buddha of Suburbia (built on incidental music composed for a TV series). The album still contained some of the new elements introduced in Black Tie White Noise, except with more of a twist in the direction of alternative rock. The album's odd success later led to a 1994 re-release in the United States, and Bowie hails it as being an album of entirely his own, original, and newly created work.
1995's ambitious, quasi-industrial 1. Outside, supposed to be the first volume in a subsequently abandoned nonlinear narrative of art and murder, reunited him with Eno. The album introduced the characters of one of Bowie's short stories, and was quite an interesting success. The album put Bowie back into the mainstream scene of rock music with its singles such as "Hallo Spaceboy" and "The Heart's Filthy Lesson". In September of 1995 Bowie began his the Outside Tour with Gabrels again joining Bowie as his live band's guitarist. In a move that was equally lauded and ridiculed by Bowie fans and critics, Bowie chose Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails as the tour partner. NIN & Bowie toured as a co-headlining act. Although initially successful, the tour was cancelled early due to poor sales. However, Reznor has gone on record numerous times as being heavily influenced by Bowie, and further collaborated with him by remixing "The Heart's Filthy Lesson".
1997's Earthling incorporated experiments in jungle and drum and bass and included a single released over the Internet. There was ultra-sustained energy in this album, along with experiments in techno drum rhythms, while still holding to Bowie's own musical concepts. Singles such as "Little Wonder" and "I'm Afraid of Americans" (also remixed by Reznor) were the forefront of the album. There was a corresponding world tour, which was fairly successful.
The 1998 Todd Haynes film Velvet Goldmine drew its title from a Ziggy-era Bowie song and contained many events paralleling Bowie's life on and off stage; the relationship between the two main characters, Curt Wild (played by Ewan McGregor) and Brian Slade (played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) was loosely based on that of Bowie and Pop during the 70's. The tagline "The rise of a star... the fall of a legend" obviously recalls the name of one of Bowie's most famous albums. In an interview with the band Placebo, Bowie noted that he liked the story, but the movie felt more like the early 1980s than the early 1970s. He combatted it in a lengthy court case, where Bowie sued to try to stop the film. The Bowie-influenced Slade character was painted as one who always seeks to steal what is about to become hip from new youth movements (à la Madonna). Also, he forbade the use of his own songs in the film.
1999's 'hours...' featured "What's Really Happening", the lyrics for which were written by the winner of an Internet competition. Bowie also performed live again extensively throughout the '90s. The decade also saw him launch a branded internet service provider (BowieNet) as well as a novel and quite successful fundraising scheme to raise cash on the strength of future royalties, called Bowie Bonds.
Bowie opened the "Concert for New York City" at Madison Square Garden on 20th October 2001, to aid 9/11 victims' families. He performed two carefully chosen songs, America and "Heroes", striking a deep emotional chord in the audience of firefighters, police, other rescue workers, and bereaved families.
The 2002 album Heathen reunited him with Tony Visconti, producer of many of his best 1970s efforts, and won critical acclaim for his best chart performance in years. It also included a cover of the Pixies song 'Cactus', which was another off-shoot of Bowie's consistent interest in the band. Earlier in 1998, he had also reunited with Visconti to record a song for The Rugrats Movie called Sky Life. Surprisingly, it was edited out of the final cut, and did not feature on the film's soundtrack album. A bootleg remix of his 'Hunky Dory' classic 'The Bewlay Brothers' surfaced on white label vinyl and the internet, courtesy of the heavily Bowie influenced Steve Haw under the guise of 'DJ Spaceboy' - a name inspired by the Bowie track 'Hallo Spaceboy'.
In 2003, a report in the Sunday Express named Bowie as the second-richest entertainer in the U.K. (behind Sir Paul McCartney), with an estimated fortune of £510 million. Later that year, Bowie released a new album, Reality, and announced a world tour.
In 2004, taking the market by surprise, "A Reality Tour" was the best selling tour of the year. However, it was cut short after Bowie suffered chest discomfort while performing on stage in the northwestern German town of Scheesel, on June 25. Originally thought to be a pinched nerve in his shoulder, and later diagnosed as an acutely blocked artery, an emergency angioplasty was performed at a hospital in the region. He was then released in early July and continues to spend time recovering. The tour was cancelled for the time being, with hopes that he would go back on tour by August. Although these hopes, as time has shown, did not materialise into more live shows, Bowie released a live DVD of the tour, entitled 'David Bowie - A Reality Tour', in October 2004, which included songs spanning the full length of Bowie's career, although mostly focusing on his more recent albums. Despite hopes for a comeback, in 2005, David Bowie announced that he had made no plans for any performances during the year.
After a relatively quiet year, Bowie recorded the vocals for the song "(She Can) Do That", co-written by BT, for the movie Stealth (2005). Rumours fly about the possibility of a new album, but no announcements have been made yet. On September 9th, Bowie performed with The Arcade Fire for the nationally televised event Fashion Rocks, his first gig since the heart attack. Bowie had requested the band to perform at the show, and together they performed the Arcade Fire's song "Wake Up" from their album Funeral. He joined them again on September 15th, singing "Queen Bitch" and "Wake Up" from Central Park's Summerstage as part of the CMJ Music Marathon. Bowie has shown interest in the Montreal band since he was seen at one of their shows in New York City nearly a year ago.
Bowie recently appeared in Family Guy's Stewie Griffin, The Untold Story, but he is potrayed by one of the voice actors.
There are rumors that his shelved album 'TOY' which is made up of re-recorded songs from Bowie's pre-Space Oddity days will be released by Starbucks, however, this report is unconfirmed.
This is a discography of David Bowie's studio albums. See David Bowie discography for details about other albums.
- David Bowie (1967)
- Space Oddity (1969, the 1972 reissue charted at UK #17, US #16)
- The Man Who Sold the World (1970, the 1972 reissue charted at UK #26)
- Hunky Dory (1971, US #93, the 1972 reissue charted at UK #3)
- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972, UK #5, US #75)
- Aladdin Sane (1973, UK #1, US #17)
- Pin Ups (1973, UK #1, US #23)
- Diamond Dogs (1974, UK #1, US #5)
- Young Americans (1975, UK #2, US #9)
- Station to Station (1976, UK #5, US #3)
- Low (1977, UK #2, US #11)
- "Heroes" (1977, UK #3, US #35)
- Lodger (1979, UK #4, US #20)
- Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980, UK #1 US #12)
- Let's Dance (1983, UK #1, US #4)
- Tonight (1984, UK #1, US #11)
- Never Let Me Down (1987, UK #6, US #34)
- Black Tie White Noise (1993, UK #1, US #39)
- The Buddha of Suburbia (1993, UK #87)
- 1.OUTSIDE (1995, UK #8, US #21)
- Earthling (1997, UK #6, US #39)
- 'hours...' (1999, UK #5, US #47)
- Heathen (2002, UK #5, US #14)
- Reality (2003, UK #3, US #29)
Bowie the actor
Bowie's first film major role in The Man Who Fell to Earth earned acclaim, as did his performance on stage as The Elephant Man. He had appeared in a few late '60's avant garde films, mostly as an extra. Since then his acting career has been sporadic. Nagisa Oshima's film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, based loosely on Laurens van der Post's novel The Seed and the Sower, was released in 1983. Bowie played Maj. Jack Celliers, a prisoner of war in a Japanese internment camp; another famous musician, Ryuichi Sakamoto, played the camp commandant. Bowie has a small part as a hit-man in 1984 film Into the Night. Bowie also played a sympathetic Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ.
Mr. Lawrence impressed some critics but his next project, the rock musical Absolute Beginners (1986), was both a critical and box office disappointment. The same year he appeared in the Jim Henson movie Labyrinth, playing Jareth, the king of the goblins.
Along with numerous appearances as himself, Bowie also appeared in The Hunger, a revisionist vampire movie with Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon; Basquiat, a biopic of the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, in which Bowie played Andy Warhol to great acclaim; and as mysterious FBI agent Phillip Jeffries in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. He also made a cameo appearance as himself in the 2001 comedy Zoolander.
- The Image (1967) (short subject)
- The Virgin Soldiers (1969)
- Love You Till Tuesday (1969) (short subject)
- Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1973) (documentary)
- Cracked Actor (1974) (BBC documentary)
- The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
- Just a Gigolo (1979)
- We Children from Bahnhof Zoo (Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo) (a.k.a. Christiane F.) (1981) (Cameo)
- The Snowman (1982) (short subject) (narrator in re-release version)
- Group Madness (1983) (documentary)
- Cool Cats: Twenty-Five Years of Rock 'N' Roll Style (1983) (documentary)
- The Hunger (1983)
- Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983)
- Yellowbeard (1983)
- Into the Night (1985)
- Absolute Beginners (1986)
- Labyrinth (1986)
- Queen: The Magic Years (1987) (documentary)
- The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
- Imagine: John Lennon (1988) (documentary)
- Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol (1990) (documentary)
- The Linguini Incident (1991)
- Travelling Light (1992) (documentary)
- Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
- Basquiat (1996)
- Inspirations (1997) (documentary)
- Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart (1998) (documentary)
- Il Mio West (1998)
- Everybody Loves Sunshine (1999)
- Mr. Rice's Secret (2000)
- Zoolander (2001) (Cameo)
- Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2003) (documentary)
- Gunslinger's Revenge (2005)
- Arthur and the Minimoys (2006) (voice) (currently in post-production)
- Bowie Bonds
- Best selling music artists - World's top selling music artists chart.
- List of number-one hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the Hot 100 (US)
- List of Number 1 Dance Hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the US Dance chart
- 100 Greatest Britons
- BowieNet is the official David Bowie website which provides inside information and ISP service to subscribers and is updated by David's diligent lackey, Total Blam-blam.
- Bowie Wonderworld Fansite is a news site with a decent database of lyrics and pictures as well as sound bites and articles.
- the SoundtrackINFO project details David Bowie songs appearing in movies and on soundtrack albums.
- Teenage Wildlife is a sparingly updated David Bowie news site with many lyrics as well as an active forum.
- Bassman's David Bowie Page includes a detailed official and unofficial discography, chart history and article archive.
- The Ziggy Stardust Companion is a detailed guide to David Bowie's work on the Ziggy Stardust album and the related tour.
- Manofmusic is a French David Bowie site including a detailed encyclopedia of his life and work.
- Bowie Downunder presents David Bowie news, detailed tour history and an email group for Australia and New Zealand fans.
- Template:Imdb name provides information on David Bowie and all films he has been involved in production of.
- David Bowie's portrait by Stephen Finer in the National Portrait Gallery
- Bowie and the Occult: The Laughing Gnostic is an in-depth review of odd and mystic symbolism in David Bowie music.
- Little Oogie's David Bowie Site is a large David Bowie site with a large database of pictures and tour setlists.
- Bowie Golden Years provides a very detailed timeline of David Bowie's activities from 1974 to 1980.
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