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David Bowie: The Ultimate Shape-Shifting Musical Icon

Full Name David Robert Jones
Birthday January 8, 1947
Birth Place Brixton, London, England
Death Date January 10, 2016
Height 5‘10
Net Worth $100M
Facebook David Bowie
Twitter @davidbowie
Instagram @davidbowie

As a lifelong David Bowie fan, I‘m excited to provide an in-depth look at this innovative musician and pop culture icon who reinvented himself again and again over his illustrious career. From his early folk-rock beginnings to the height of his Ziggy Stardust glam rock fame and his chameleonic 80s reign, Bowie produced an astonishing 25 studio albums spanning genres until his fitting swan song Blackstar shortly before his tragic death from cancer.

The Many Iterations of David Bowie

David Bowie was rock‘s ultimate chameleon – constantly evolving his sound and persona across his 25 albums and over five decades in music. While his early work blended folk, psychedelic and music hall styles, he truly broke through with his orange-haired, makeup-laden extraterrestrial alter ego Ziggy Stardust in 1972‘s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. His mid-70s albums saw a soulful makeover followed by the experimental "Berlin Trilogy" where he traded glam for ambient electronica. Let‘s Dance (1983) made Bowie a global pop icon, before he co-founded the rock group Tin Machine. In his later years, Bowie continued to innovate right through his jazz-inflected swan song Blackstar.

Top 10 David Bowie Songs

  1. "Space Oddity"
  2. "Changes"
  3. "Life on Mars?"
  4. "Starman"
  5. "Rebel Rebel"
  6. "Fame"
  7. "Heroes"
  8. "Ashes to Ashes"
  9. "Let‘s Dance"
  10. "Under Pressure"

"Bowie‘s a chameleon. He‘s always changing. He‘s not one person all the time." – Mick Jagger

Behind the Iconic Ziggy Stardust Persona

David Bowie‘s seminal rise to stardom came in 1972 with his alien rockstar creation Ziggy Stardust – an androgynous, otherworldly persona for his concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. With fiery red hair, sci-fi inspired makeup and futuristic fashions, Ziggy propelled the singer to fame and pioneered glam rock. That record-breaking US tour saw rabid fans idolizing him as the embodiment of the mysterious Stardust. But in 1973, Bowie abruptly "killed off" Ziggy before a shocked audience in London, marking the end of his most famous alter ego. Still, the Ziggy persona cemented him as a visionary trailblazer in music, fashion and gender-bending.

Legacy of Innovation Across Genres

Few artists have exerted as much continuous influence across rock, pop and avant-garde genres as David Bowie. He paved the way for glam rock in the 70s. His Berlin trilogy pioneered ambient electronica. Even in the 80s, when commercial success beckoned, Bowie innovated by helping launch the touring rock festival Lollapalooza. In his final days, Blackstar saw him experimenting with jazz and hip hop. Decade after decade, he kept breaking boundaries right until the end. As Bono said, Bowie was "my idea of a rock star – self-reinventing, daring". That restless creative spirit left a lasting mark on everything from fashion to film to the evolution of rock itself.