There is hardly any other artist who has reinvented himself so often as David Bowie: In more than 40 years he has worked not only as a musician, but also as an actor and producer. After his brilliant breakthrough in the early 1970s, hard drugs almost destroyed his career.
David Bowie, however, moved to Berlin, went through a cold withdrawal and experienced one of his most artistically fruitful episodes in Germany. In the 1980s he finally celebrated new musical successes and finally became a living legend. All in all, he has sold more than 140 million records during his career, which also makes David Bowie one of the most successful artists commercially.
How did David Bowie come to music?
David Bowie was born on 8 January 1947 in Brixton, London. There he grew up in relatively simple, but at least secure conditions. David Bowie first came into contact with Rock’n’Roll at the age of nine: His father had given him the single Tutti Frutti by Little Richards. Now his interest for music was awakened, which was also supported and encouraged by his parents and half-brother Terry. So from then on Terry took him regularly to concerts in Soho.
After David Bowie had had rather miserable experiences with a band, he recorded his first own single in 1964, but it also became a flop. During the 1960s Bowie therefore gained further experience in bands, which did not necessarily shine with success.
David Bowie becomes a legend
After David Bowie had produced several unsuccessful singles, he finally made his international breakthrough with The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust in 1972. He consolidated his nimbus with the subsequent world tour thanks to his theatrically staged stage show. But even then David Bowie was already promoting other artists such as Lou Reed. But at the same time Bowie slipped into the drug scene and moved to Berlin, where he underwent cold turkey.
At the same time, the Berlin period was probably the most productive. Some of his most famous hits such as Heroes were written here. David Bowie also worked closely with Iggy Pop during this time. He lived in a neighbouring apartment and David Bowie produced the album Lust for Life with him.
At the beginning of the 1980s David Bowie worked mainly as an actor, but he also continued his musical work. And with the album Let’s Dance in 1983 he also achieved the greatest commercial success in his career to date. The artist had now changed again and instead of experimenting, he now wrote pop music, which the audience loved.