25 Facts About the Fabulous, Late David Bowie
by Jasmine Gordon
Stars and fans worldwide are mourning the untimely death of glam rocker David Bowie, who passed away January 10th, 2015 at age 69. Join us in tribute as we “turn and face the strange” life of this late, beautifully talented musician, artist, and visionary.
Early on January 11, 2016, the world fell into shock when the news was released that musical legend David Bowie had passed away at age 69. Even Bowie’s scores of super fans weren’t aware he’d been battling cancer for 18 months prior to his death. Both stars and fans worldwide are paying tribute to Bowie, whose final studio album “Blackstar” was released on January 6, 2015. Per Bowie’s producer Tony Viscounti, the album was the artist’s “parting gift” to the world.
During his decades of fame, the original glam rocker Bowie dazzled fans worldwide with his trademark style, gorgeous songwriting, and unending commitment to pushing the boundaries. No one can deny that the gender-bending, brilliant Bowie was ever anything but an artist. Here are twenty five facts about Bowie, who once asked the world to “turn and face the strange.”
1. He Wasn’t Born Bowie
David Bowie was born January 8, 1947, in London as David Robert Jones. He later adopted Bowie to avoid confusion with musician Davy Jones.
2. His Eyes were Unique
David Bowie’s trademark mismatched pupils weren’t achieved with contact lenses. Bowie’s left pupil was permanently dilated after he took a punch from a friend during a fight over a girl.
3. He Loved Art
Bowie was a painter and art collector. His collection included a small Rubens and lots of British 20th century artists.
4. He Was Well-Read
Bowie published a list of his 100 favorite books to Facebook, which included classics like A Clockwork Orange, 1984, and As I Lay Dying.
5. He Voiced a Baby
Bowie did the “gurgling” voice work for the baby featured in the song “Magic Dance” in Labyrinth.
6. He Founded a Society
At age 17, Bowie scored a BBC interview — as the founder of “The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-haired Men.”
7. He Hated “The Little Drummer Boy”
In 1977, Bowie reportedly refused to collaborate with legend Bing Crosby on a rendition of Christmas song “The Little Drummer Boy,” stating “I hate this song.” So he sang a different song, “Peace On Earth,” to Cosby’s “Drummer Boy.”
8. He’s Old Friends with Sir Elton
At age 17, Bowie loved talking music with his friend Reginald Kenneth Dwight, who you probably know as Sir Elton John.
9. His Wedding was Star-Studded
At Bowie’s wedding to Somalian supermodel Iman, the guests of honor included Yoko Ono, Bono of U2, and his longtime producer Brian Eno.
10. He Considered Becoming a Monk
At age 20, Bowie seriously considered becoming a monk. He even stayed at a Buddhist retreat in Scotland called Eskdalemuir for a time!
11. Ziggy Drove Him “Insane”
While Bowie had several alter egos, the most famous is certainly Ziggy Stardust. However, Bowie once said the experience of creating music as Ziggy affected his “whole personality.”
12. He Was Notoriously Cool
Like any other star, Bowie was subject to plenty of rumors and negative press at times. However, he refused to address the negative attention, calling it “petty.”
13. He Declined a Knighthood
Despite being offered the British honor of Commander in 2000 and a Knighthood in 2003, Bowie politely declined both honors.
14. His First Album Wasn’t Successful
Bowie’s first album was released in 1967, the same day as The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper. Bowie didn’t regret that it wasn’t commercially successful, believing it gave him exposure to “an awful lot of influences.”
15. He Didn’t Invent Connect Four
One of the most pervasive myths about David Bowie was that he invented the game Connect Four, thanks to a rumor started by a radio professional.
16. He Experienced Love at First Sight
Bowie and his wife, Iman, met on a blind date. Bowie experienced love at first site, but it took Iman a bit longer to fall in love with her “homebody” husband.
17. He Became Famous Due to a Moon Landing
Bowie’s first hit “Space Oddity” was widely publicized in 1969, when the BBC used it as a backing track for footage of the moon landing.
18. He Loved to Act
Despite his incredible commercial success as a musician, Bowie reportedly considered himself “more of an actor.”
19. His Son is a Creative Force
Bowie’s son, director Duncan Jones, is said to have inherited his father’s “creative genius.”
20. He Was a Tech Visionary
Bowie wasn’t just a legend when it came to forward-thinking music and fashion. He was the first musical artist to release a single as a digital download on his website, in 1996.
21. He Hated Tea
Unlike many of his fellow Brits, Bowie was no fan of a steaming cup of black tea. Rumor has it, the “phobia” was due to a “traumatic experience” at age 5.
22. He Was a Master of Secrets
Bowie’s 2013 album, The Next Day, was a closely-guarded secret to all but one or two studio staff. In fact, even his public relations team was shocked by its release!
23. He Was a Masterful Musician
Bowie’s first instrument was the saxophone. He certainly didn’t stop there, playing “just about every instrument” on his 1974 album Diamond Dogs.
24. He Was Super Professional
At a 2004 performance in Oslo, Norway, Bowie was hit in the eye by a lollipop thrown from the crowd. The lollipop “became lodged” until a crew member removed it. However, Bowie kept performing.
25. He Worked Extraordinarily Hard
In 1974, Bowie reportedly weighed 95 pounds at 5’10”. His diet consisted of peppers and milk, and he’d stay up for “days on end” to work tirelessly.