He reigned the 70’s in the most theatrical way that anyone could have ever imagined, collaborated with countless other artists and changed the face of popular music forever.
It’s still hard to believe a year ago, David Bowie checked ignition and ventured out on the most mysterious journey that we all will eventually encounter—not to mention executing it in the most artistic and once again theatrical way that anyone could have imagined (typical Bowie).
Captivating, fearless and always looking for new channels of artistic expression, it’s safe to say that David Bowie will continue to influence creative mavericks around the globe for many light years to come.
It is therefore with great pleasure that I share with you some of my favorite David Bowie trivia.
Jones to Bowie
Dissatisfied with his stage name, David Jones became obsessed with the character Jim Bowie after having seen the movie The Alamo during his Kon-Rads period. Despite numerous attempts for a catchy stage name, it was this historical icon that would leave his mark on the legend we all know today.
Broken string, first hit
Space Oddity was Bowie’s first single to chart the UK and would also become his signature song for years to come. Everything from it’s opening line to the iconic guitar solo, the song is a perfect example on how to combine simple chord harmonies with imaginative sci-fi influenced lyrics.
Lead guitarist Mick Wayne had forgotten to pack an extra pack of strings for the session and being that the recording took place on a Sunday, all the music stores would be closed. The odd sound at the end of this one take solo is the tone of the low string slowly tearing apart and eventually breaking. Bowie’s reaction to this ordeal was “great, way out man, love that psychedelic bit at the end!”
David Bowie set up his own internet service provider called BowieNet in 1998, which kept going up until 2012. Signing onto BowieNet cost £10 a month, and each user was given a free 20MB to make their own homepage. Users were also given loads of bonus Bowie content, such as exclusive web chats and bonus tracks.
Angie and Androgyny
As many of you know, David Bowie’s image is just as prolific as the music he left behind. I mean when you think about it, he really was the first pop star incorporating sound with visual amazement and style. Though he had a natural eye and ambition to be outrageous both musically and fashionably, it was his first wife Angie Bowie who would introduce and influence a younger David to explore the colorful androgynous wardrobe.
This image would define his early glam rock era and Ziggy Stardust breakthrough.
Apart from his incredible catalog of hits and music releases, 1997 would prove to the world that David Bowie was also a financial pioneer.
That year, Bowie decided to sell off all his royalty rights to his first 25 albums which had lapsed back into his control which would be turned into an asset-backed security called a “Bowie bond”. Investors bought rights for $55 million and promised annual returns of 7.9% over 10 years to customers.
The bond earned an Aaa rating from Moody’s as the first time a security had be been backed by musical royalty rights.
First major download
Bowie was the first major artist to release a downloadable single. ‘Telling lies’ was made available off his official website in 1996 and would’ve taken over 10 minutes to download. He was also personally very keen on this new internet technology and would spend hours surfing the web for this easily accessible information.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with David Bowie’s involvement in features. From protagonist roles in The Man Who Fell to Earth to short cameo appearances in Zoolander and Ricky Gervais’ Extras, there’s no denying that the man had a real love for filmography and the collaborative work it involved. It was however his theatrical appearance in 1980 as Joseph Merrick in The Elephant Man that most critics would regard as his acting opus magnum.
Greeted with multiple standing ovations, it is safe to say that the performer’s ability to captivate needed only a hungry audience and his limitless imagination.