22 Interesting Facts About David Bowie You’ll Enjoy Reading

22 Interesting Facts About David Bowie You’ll Enjoy Reading

David Bowie 2004“, by Mark Jeremy, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

On January 10, 2016, the world and music industry lost a legend by the name of David Bowie. He was a three-in-one person: the man, the legend, and the myth. Bowie embodied everything the world needed in an artiste. His sudden death aside, here are some intriguing facts about David Bowie you’d love to know.

1. He shared the same birthday with Elvis Presley

January 8 will go down in history as the day the world was gifted with two music legends. Bowie was born on January 8, 1947, more than a decade after the birth of his legendarycounterpart Elvis, on January 8, 1935. Even though the two were over a decade apart, they were often compared with each other in multiple debates about their celebrated careers.(Famous Birthdays)

2. He stored urine in his fridge

In the 1970s, David reportedly feared that witches were after his urine. At the time, he was a cocaine addict, and struggled with emotional issues.

In one of the most famous books by David Buckley,Strange Fascination, Bowie is said to have disconnected himself from the physical world and reality at some point. Around that time, he reportedly survived on pepper and milk, and was thin and emaciated. He also exhibited bizarre behaviors such as storing his urine in his fridge to prevent witches from stealing it. (Amazon)

3. He vowed never to drink tea again

When Bowie was five years old, his parents took him on a boat trip on river Thames. During the trip, he drank tea that had been stewing for seven years. Bowie reportedly did not like it and promised never to drink English tea ever again. However, was believed to be a big fan of Japanese tea. (All Spice Chronicles)

4. He is the voice of the Lord Royal Highness

This is one of the most amazing facts about David Bowie, especially when you think of how talented he was.  From making music to voiceovers, everything he touched turned into gold. In 2007, David became the voice of the famous character the Lord of Royal Highness in the musical episode Atlantis SquarePantis of the SpongeBob SquarePants comedy series. (Screen Rant)

5. He had a rare eye condition

When you take a closer look at any of David Bowie’s photos, you will notice that his eyes had two different shades. His right eye appeared bluish, while the one on the left had a darker shade of green. This condition is scientifically known as anisocoria, meaning that his pupils were actually different sizes. However, one of the most surprising facts about David Bowie, with regards to his eye condition, is that he got it through an injury during a fight with his schoolmate. (Who.com)

6. He changed his name to avoid confusion

At some point in his career, many fans confused him with Davy Jones of the Monkees. Consequently, the Over the Wall We Go hitmaker changed his name from David Jones to David Bowie to avoid further confusion. (Time Magazine)

7. He was already a star at the age of 12

This is probably one of the most inspiring facts about David Bowie, especially to youngsters working on their dreams. The London-born signer earned his first music award –a saxophone – at age 12.

His maternal half-brother, Terry Burns, introduced Bowie to modern jazz and as they say, the rest was history. (Rock And Roll Globe)

8. He had unspeakable love for long hair

One of the most unknown facts about David Bowie was his love for long hair. When he was 17, he featured on BBC’s Tonight show not as a star or artist, but as the spokesman for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men. He was campaigning against the mistreatment of long-haired men on the streets of England.

It all started when the Mannish Boys were scheduled to appear on another BBC Show, Gadzooks! It’s All Happening. Prior to their appearance, the show’s producer Barry Langford askedmembers of the band to cut their hair prior to gracing the show. Consequently, the then Bowie manager Les Conn organized a protest outside the BBC, an event that birthed the society. (Mashable)

9. He played the Pontius Pilate in the Famous Martin Scorsese’s Christ Movie

If you are a Christian movie enthusiast, this one of the most thrilling facts about David Bowie you need to know. He played the character of Pontius Pilate in the 1988 movie, The Last Temptation of Christ. Throughout his illustrious career, Bowie featured in over 30 movies, theatrical productions, and television shows. It was widely argued that he would have become a successful actor had he not pursued music. (Charlotte Observer)

10. He once wrote his song backwards and sold it as new

David once altered his songMove On by writing it backward to make it seem new. Surprisingly, the rewrite made its breakthrough without many people noticing. It all started when he accidentally played All the Young Dudes backward while listening to some old tapes. Mesmerized by the resulting melody, he decided to be extra creative. Describing the storied moment, his then producer Tony Visconti explained:

“David and I flipped the new version’s tape over and played it backwards, and sang the melody of “All the Young Dudes” forwards—I know I’ve lost most of you—and that became “Move On.” (Bowie Songs)

11. He invented his own internet service provider

His innovativeness, one of the many intriguing facts about David Bowie, is worth a mention. In the summer of 1998, Bowie decided to launch his own ISP. At the time, the world was still new to internet services, a vacuum that Bowie was hoping to fill. The internet service provider, named Bowienet, would improve downloading speeds for songs. The innovative star once stated that he did not like taking more than 11 minutes downloading a song. It is also worth noting that he was the first major artist to release an online-only song – Telling Lies. The song had over 300,000 downloads. (The Guardian)

12. Came out as gay in 1972

In one of his most controversial interviews, Bowie confessed to being gay. He made the announcement in an interview with British weekly music magazine the Melody Maker. He declared:

“I am gay and always have been, even when I was David Jones.” Those words changed the lives of many of his fans and followers – forever. He made the confession at a time when homosexuality was still a controversial issue in British society and the rest of the world. (Billboard Magazine)

13. He died two days after releasing his last album

This is probably one of the most heartbreaking facts about David Bowie. His 25th studio album almost felt like he was saying goodbye to the world. On his 69th birthday and two days before his death, Bowie released his final album – BlackStar – which became his only album that topped the billboard 200 charts in the United States. (The Telegraph)

14. His maternal half-brother committed suicide

In 1985, Bowie’s half brother Terry, who had introduced him to modern jazz as discussed earlier, committed suicide. He played an integral role in Bowie’s life, introducing him to new books, music, and philosophies. As a tribute to this late brother, Bowie’s lead single Jump They Say deriving from the Black Tie White Noisealbum, was inspired by the tragic loss. (Bowie Bible)

15. One of his first recorded songs was later found in a bread box

Recorded in 1963, when Bowie was 16, his song I Never Dreamed was discovered in a bread box by the Konrads’ drummer David Hadfield, while moving. He kept his discovery a top secret until years later. The song was auctioned in 2018 and earned a whopping $50,000. (The Telegraph)

16. A lollipop almost stopped his show

In 2004, while performing at a live concert in Oslo, Norway, Bowie almost ended his performance prematurely when a fan threw a lollipop at him. Strangely, the stick of the lollipop stuck in his eye, causing him to writhe in pain. He had been performing for about 20 minutes when a fan threw the lollipop, which hit the same eye that troubled him in the past following a fight with schoolmate George Underwood. Later, an unnamed woman admitted that the infamous lollipop belonged to her. She also added that she did not intend to hit the award-winning singer; she was pushed, causing the lollipop to fly from her hand as she danced. (MTV)

17. His hair sold for over $18,000 at an auction

David Bowie’s wigmaker kept aclipping of his hair, which later sold for more than $18,000 at an auction held by Beverly Hills-based auction house Heritage Auctions. Speaking about the record sale, Heritage Auctions’ Director of Entertainment Music Auctions, Margaret Barret, explained:

“David Bowie changed music forever and fans are hungry for related precious objects that bring them closer to their favorite musician. What brings you closer than a lock of hair?” (Rolling Stone)

18. He attended a TV show moments before the host died

In 1977, David Bowie became the talk of the town after being the last guest to be hosted by Marc Bolan of ITV music showMarc. Shortly after David’s exit from the show, Bolan was involved in a ghastly road accident that claimed his life. David was one of the high-profile celebrities who graced Bolan’s funeral at the Golders Green Crematorium in north London. (DavidBowie.com)

19. He sold over 140 million records

One of the most astonishing facts about David Bowie is his immeasurable success as a musician. According to the Fortune magazine, he sold over 140 million records worldwidethroughout his decorated career. In 2007, his musical catalogue on Spotify reached one billion streams, according to a Facebook post on the legend’s page. (Fortune)

20. He turned down some major honors

Bowie turned down high-profile British honors more than once in his life. In 2000, he declined an opportunity to be awarded the Commander title, also known as CBE. Three years later, he also refused to be knighted. Explaining his decision to turn down the distinguished honors, Bowie said:

“I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don’t know what it’s for. It’s not what I spent my life working for.”

Almost a decade later, David would furtherturn down a chance to perform Heroes at the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics.(CTV News)

21. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

This is one of the least surprising facts about David Bowie, but worth mentioning. In 1996, he was indicted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. By the time of his death, he had received at least 49 major awards and 113 nominations. (Time of India)

22. He campaigned for the African continent

In the 1990s,the singer-cum-actor campaigned against hunger and starvation in Africa, releasing his single Do They Know It’s Christmas? The song was an instant hit (and is still is), especially during the festive season. It encouraged the spirit of caring and sharing for the less privileged in third world countries. Other social and philanthropic campaigns he was involved in include Every Mother Counts, the Lunchbox Funds, Keep a Child Alive, Save the Children, 21st Century Leaders, among others. (Grammy.com)

If there is one thing to learn from these facts about David Bowie, it must be his selflessness. Even though he was naturally talented and deserved every award and recognition he received, deep inside, he was still a humble and simple man. Not so many British celebrities would turn down the chance to be knighted but Bowie did. His contribution to the global music industry, his campaign for humanity, and unique dedication to succeed in everything he did are some of the reasons his name will always be fondly remembered for generations to come.

SOURCES:

  1. Famous Birthdays: https://www.famousbirthdays.com/january8.html
  2. Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Strange-Fascination-David-Bowie-Definitive/dp/075350457X
  3. All Spice Chronicles: http://allspicechronicles.com/beverages/how-to-make-a-perfect-cup-of-tea/
  4. Screen Rant: https://screenrant.com/spongebob-squarepants-david-bowie-guest-star-cameo-explained/
  5. Who.com: https://www.who.com.au/why-david-bowie-had-two-coloured-eyes#:~:text=David%20Bowie%20had%20a%20different,pupils%20were%20actually%20different%20sizes.&text=This%20permanent%20dilation%20of%20his,his%20bright%20blue%20right%20eye.
  6. Time Magazine: https://time.com/4175275/david-bowie-name-change/
  7. Rock And Roll Globe: https://rockandrollglobe.com/jazz/steve-elson-david-bowies-sax-appeal/
  8. Mashable: https://mashable.com/2016/03/17/david-bowie-long-hair/
  9. Charlotte Observer: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/entertainment/ent-columns-blogs/state-of-the-art/article54172320.html
  10. Bowie Songs: https://bowiesongs.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/move-on/
  11. The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jan/11/david-bowie-bowienet-isp-internet
  12. Billboard Magazine: https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/magazine-feature/6843021/david-bowie-sexuality-gender-rebellion-changing-music
  13. The Telegraph: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/03/16/david-bowies-last-release-lazarus-was-parting-gift-for-fans-in-c/
  14. Bowie Bible: https://www.bowiebible.com/songs/jump-they-say/
  15. The Telegraph: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/news/david-bowies-first-recording-found-bread-bin-set-sell-10000/
  16. MTV: http://www.mtv.com/news/1488580/lollypalooza-lollipop-in-the-eye-stops-bowie-show/
  17. Rolling Stone: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/david-bowies-hair-sold-for-over-18000-at-auction-235020/
  18. DavidBowie.com: https://www.davidbowie.com/blog/2017/9/16/remembering-marc
  19. Fortune: https://www.forbes.com/sites/russespinoza/2017/08/29/david-bowie-reaches-one-billion-spotify-streams-in-advance-of-upcoming-box-set/?sh=6ff0e1305a5d
  20. CTV News: https://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/12-celebrities-who-turned-down-a-british-honour-1.5249627?cache=yes%3FclipId%3D375756
  21. Times of India: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/David-Bowie/awards?from=mdr
  22. Grammy.com: https://www.grammy.com/grammys/artists/david-bowie/4819

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