Ground control...

Posted on January 08, 2020


…To Major Tom.

It’s David Bowie’s 73rd birthday today. John on our team is a fan of the Thin White Duke and picked the man himself as the topic of conversation for today’s blog post. 

David Bowie has been part of my life for a long time. My dad is a big fan, so I grew up with his songs in the background. My mum loved country music and all that jazz, but we’re not about to chat about Patsy Cline, don’t worry.  

I started getting into Bowie at Uni - I did the classic Partridge thing of buying a greatest hits album (with continued misuse of student loan funds) - but he never really totally took over my thoughts until a few years later. 

He’s now firmly up there with Liam Gallagher and his brother in terms of influential music in my life. 

God, that’s a bit dramatic. 

Anyway, to celebrate the great man’s birthday, here are some things that you might not have known, but you need to know, about David Bowie. Pretty sure these are all true!

His surname rhymes with snowy. Any other pronunciation is wrong. 

To this day, he remains the youngest solo artist to headline Glastonbury. 

He didn’t get his first number one single in the UK until 1975, when he re-released Space Oddity. The song first came out in ’69 and was used by the BBC during the moon landing. Which is weird because if someone at the Beeb had listened to the lyrics of the whole song, they probably wouldn’t have used it. Doesn’t end well for Major Tom, does it? 

He also got his first number one single in America in ‘75. The song is Fame. John Lennon is on backing vocals. As in the one from the Beatles. The album is Young Americans and it’s laden with hits, FYI. 

In the ‘90s, he had his own internet service provider called Bowienet. 

He once played a character in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants. Don’t ask me what it was called. 

He had many a showbiz fling. Slash’s mum, Elizabeth Taylor, Tina Turner and at least one member of the Rolling Stones and the Velvet Underground are (rumoured) former flames. 

One of his most famous periods was the ‘Berlin trilogy’ of albums, released in the late ‘70s. Only one of the albums was actually entirely recorded in Berlin. Have a listen to them and you’ll quickly figure out which one it was. They’re called Low, Heroes and Lodger. 

Staying with Berlin, he lived there for a few years in a flat. His flatmate was Iggy Pop. 

His eyes weren’t two different colours - he got punched in the face by his friend George Underwood when they were kids. Bowie was chatting up his girlfriend and George smacked him. The punch caused one of his pupils to permanently dilate, which is why they look different. The pair were lifelong friends. George went on to be a designer of great album covers. Guess who he worked for…

It’s impossible to name his best album, but in the interest of trying, here’s my top five:

Diamond Dogs / Low / Station to Station / Hunky Dory / The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.  

(Hard to leave out Let’s Dance, Blackstar, the Next Day, Scary Monsters, Lodger, Aladdin Sane, PinUps, The Man Who Sold the World…you know what I mean) 

The Laughing Gnome is his..erm…most interesting piece of work. Check it out.

Labyrinth is not as good as you remember.

His dad worked in PR, which makes this post almost semi-relevant for a work blog. 

Happy Birthday, King Bowie!