Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Bowie by Marc Spitz (CBR-V #27)
Cannonball Read V: Book #27/52
If you ask anyone who knows me, they'll tell you I'm a huge David Bowie fan. I was browsing my local library and saw this book and just had to pick it up. The only Bowie biography I had previously read was his ex-wife's book about their history together called Backstage Passes. It was a pretty good read with a lot of Bowie's history, but it was (obviously) very biased.
Marc Spitz's biography is an incredibly detailed story of David Bowie's life all the way from how his parents met up until his quiet life in the late 2000's. Of course Bowie released his first album in a decade just this spring, so he's not quite finished with his career yet, even at 66 years old! Even if you're not a fan, you have do admit the man has had quite the career, almost completely reinventing himself every decade.
David Bowie started out as David Robert Jones in London. Even as a child, he knew he wanted to be a famous rock and roll star. Bowie wasn't one of those "instant stars" who was discovered one day out of the blue. He worked hard for a long time before he finally got recognition with his breakout song in the 1960's, "Space Oddity". Although most people recognize it today it actually wasn't a huge hit at first. Bowie probably wasn't considered a well-known rock star until he invented Ziggy Stardust in the early 70s at the onset of the glam rock movement.
Of course he famously retired Ziggy after a few years and adopted several other onstage personalities over the rest of the 1970s (Halloween Jack, The Thin White Duke) and hit his biggest commercial success of his career in the 80s with the Let's Dance album. The 90s brought about a more experimental Bowie and he found some success collaborating with Trent Reznor and touring with Nine Inch Nails. People assumed his 2003 album, Reality, would be his last after he had emergency heart surgery and then stayed quiet until just a few months ago.
This book was so in depth that it's probably not for anyone but Bowie fans. It's not what I'd call "light reading". However, if you're a fan this is a great biography (although I'd also recommend Angie Bowie's book for her interesting inside perspective).