David Bowie influenced contemporary culture and lifestyle greater than any other musician of his generation. His contributions to music, fashion and performance were millstones of our era.
What I consider as the most important lesson he gave to the world, is that he showed us that we could be who we want to be. He never failed to believe that his talent is unique and that he can inspire people all over the world and become one man revolution.
David Jones was born in 1947 in Brixton, England, as a son of Peggy Jones. When he was performing with his saxophone during school events nobody expected that soon he will change his name to David Bowie and become one of the greatest icon of world’s pop stars, who will sell120 million albums within his whole career.
It didn’t start easy. Before he get any recognition he tried to find his way in art for 10 years. He had no money and lived on credit. But he continue striving to become as famous as he deserved.
His energy was always seeking out new ideas. All artists take inspiration from the world around them, but few spread the net so wide to create something so new, based on what they can already find.He was constantly searching and striving to evolve.
He was constantly feeding his mind by visiting galleries all over Europe, talking to people, watching films, reading books, going to theatre and engaging in avant-garde, and loving music, not only his own. He was also using drugs, mostly cocaine and searching for his own spiritual way in life. His friendship with tibethan monk Chime Rinpoche strengthened his interest in buddhism and paranormal auras.
“I was still wandering whether I found God as a Buddhist, or whether I wanted to be rock and roll star” (David Bowie)
David Bowie has amazing ability to filter all this inspiration and choose exactly what he needs to create a new version of himself, the way he desire at the moment and show to world completely new side of his personality. He always step ahead of anyone else. The results of his imagination and creativity were always complete, outstanding products from the begging.
Ziggy Stardust was definitely the greatest example of his imagination.
In 1969 US mission Apollo 11 landed on the Moon.
The 1969th was also a year when on British television was born a red haired alien who change life of many people at that time.
Ziggy Stardust, a strange creature with outrages sexuality. became Bowie’s mysterious extraterrestrial alter ego, his the most celebrated role and extension of his personality. Performing as Ziggy Stardust he went from the half-forgotten long hair boy who sang “Space Oddity” to an international superstar.
As Ziggy Stardust in particular, he was playing a star who conquered the world and turned himself into exactly that. His new hyperseuxual alter ego was a glam rock icon, and teenagers all across the world had a poster of red haired alien on their walls.
‘I’ve always just seemed to collect personalities, ideas…’ (…) ‘Sometimes, I don’t even feel like a person.’ (David Bowie)
With help of his new character, Bowie promoted freedom of sexuality and individualism in 70’s . In Ziggy he presented totally new sexuality and new concept of fashion, shown in feminine clothes, make up and sexual gestures. People never seen something like this before. As one of BBC commentators said “he might not seem entirely heterosexual”…
His fans got confused but they loved it! Bowie made bisexualism hype. I’m not sure if it came deeply from his nature or it was his innovative vision to promote himself.
In late 60’s new studies of media, threes of communication, growing television industry and influence of philosophers such as Marshall McLuhan (authors of expression global village) influenced a matter of perspective. Bowie worked in advertising in his early life, as also Andy Warhol did.
At that time Bowie even wrote a sun ‘Andy Warhol’ about hanging out with one of his biggest influences at the time, but recalled that he got upset that Andy hated the song and told people ‘hat it was the worst thing he has ever heard. Anyway, both artists deeply manipulate their public showing great understanding of how popular opinion can be shaped.
Despite of the the reason of his change, his unique, provocative style gain him million fans and made him millstone to evolution of human minds. And in the presence of thousands fans he killed him off, exactly in the moment of Ziggy’s biggest popularity.
“ I am just by nature very flighty creature. I get turned off and on very quickly”. (David Bowie)
Something new was about to come… In 70s, America was his dreamland at that time. He explained his attraction by United States by the imagination of this place:
“Imagination can dry up wherever. You live in England and after there is nothing to keep it going. I just supplied the need in me. America became a mythland for me” (David Bowie)
Before entering US he had to leave female stockings and get more into mainstream. American market was simply not ready for Bowie’s sexuality. He went into the horrors. America in 70s was able to understand horrors, blood and dead babies but fail to accept bio sexuality.
Bowie conquer America singing “Welcome to my nightmare”, bringing theatre and pyrotechnics into music. Music alone was clearly not enough for him.
The most amazing thing is that he is still alive. He now lives a happy life with his wife Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid, a Somali-American fashion model, actress and entrepreneur, which who he is married in 1992.
Despite the colourful life, drugs, adventurous, mental and spiritual upturns, he grew into a living legend and remained one of the most incredible people in the world.
If you want to hear more about David Bowie, I recommend watching Cracked Actor , a documentary movie about his life. Not over talked and very insightful.
Photo sources: www.mirror.co.uk