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David Bowie (1947-2016) was a legendary English singer, songwriter, and actor. Renowned for his ever-evolving personas and musical styles, Bowie is considered one of the most influential figures in 20th-century music. His career spanned over five decades, with iconic hits like “Space Oddity,” “Changes,” “Ziggy Stardust,” and “Let’s Dance.” Bowie’s innovative artistry and fearless experimentation extended to his stage personas, including Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, and the Thin White Duke, which further solidified his status as a cultural icon.

But beyond the makeup and music, Bowie’s life was a kaleidoscope of eccentricities, hidden talents, and unexpected twists. Get ready to dive deeper into the enigma that was David Bowie with these 10 facts you probably didn’t know.


1. The Iconic Duet of David Bowie With Bing Crosby

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In September 1977, the rock and roll chameleon David Bowie joined forces with Bing Crosby for an unlikely duet of “Peace On Earth / Little Drummer” on Crosby’s final Christmas special. This unexpected pairing of two musical icons from vastly different worlds resulted in a holiday classic that continues to be cherished today. Sadly, Crosby died shortly after the recording, making this performance a poignant farewell.


2.  David Bowie Played 14 Different Instruments

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David Bowie was a multi-instrumentalist, mastering 14 instruments throughout his career. At age 12, he picked up the saxophone, which would feature prominently in his music. While a skilled rhythm guitarist, notably playing the iconic riff of “Rebel Rebel,” he humbly admitted his limitations as a lead guitarist, focusing his talents elsewhere.


3. The Eye of the Starman

Contrary to popular belief, David Bowie did not have heterochromia (two different colored eyes). Both of his eyes were blue. However, a childhood altercation with a friend resulted in a permanently dilated pupil in his left eye, creating the illusion of different colors. Ironically, this schoolyard brawl forged a lifelong friendship with the artist George Underwood, who later designed artworks for Bowie.


4. David Bowie’s Net Worth at the Time of His Death: $230 Million

David Bowie was often recognized as one of the wealthiest British music stars. Although figures varied greatly due to inaccurate reports and speculation, his financial success was undeniable. Despite estimates ranging from hundreds of millions to nearly a billion dollars in the late 90s, his actual net worth at the time of his death in 2016 was revealed to be an impressive $230 million, primarily left to his family.


5.  He was Left-Handed

A natural left-handed, David Bowie displayed a unique approach to playing musical instruments. Even though he was fully left-handed, he taught himself to play guitar backward for convenience due to the scarcity of left-handed instruments in the 50’s. However, in some music videos following his rise to fame, he plays instruments left-handed. While Bowie could play some instruments both ways and played most right-handed, he was not ambidextrous.


6. Paul Weller Named His Twin Sons After David Bowie and The Beatles

In an homage to his musical idols, British singer-songwriter Paul Weller named his twin sons, Bowie and John Paul, born in 2012. “Bowie” honors David Bowie while “John Paul” pays homage to the legendary songwriting duo of The Beatles, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.


7. The Greatest 14-Year Run in Rock History

Rolling Stone journalist Andy Greene hailed Bowie’s remarkable output between 1969’s “Space Oddity” and 1983’s “Let’s Dance” as “arguably the greatest 14-year run in rock history. This prolific period saw Bowie release groundbreaking albums like “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” “Aladdin Sane,” “Hunky Dory,” and “Young Americans,” solidifying his status as a musical chameleon and cultural icon. And, of course, let’s not forget the brilliant period of experimentation in Berlin, which resulted in the iconic “Berlin Trilogy.”


8. David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

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David Bowie’s breakout hit, “Space Oddity,” wasn’t just a song about an astronaut lost in space; its release on July 11, 1969, was perfectly timed with the Apollo 11 mission. Just nine days later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their historic first steps on the moon. The BBC recognized the song’s cosmic connection and used it in their moon landing coverage, exposing it to a massive audience.

This unexpected boost propelled the song to the top of the UK charts, solidifying David Bowie as a rising star and aligning him with one of humanity’s greatest achievements.


9.  David Bowie and Elvis Presley Shared the Same Birthday, January 8

However, with a 12-year age difference! David Bowie, born in 194, passed away in 2016, was a huge fan of The King, Elvis Presley, born in 1935 and died in 1977.

This simple fact haunted Bowie throughout his career. Bowie’s admiration for Presley was so deep that when RCA Records, their shared label, asked him to write a song for Elvis, Bowie eagerly agreed. He crafted “Golden Years” with Presley in mind, but the rock ‘n’ roll icon ultimately declined the track. In a 2002 interview, Bowie expressed his disappointment, revealing that he would have “adored” working with Presley.


10. David Bowie’s Biggest Idol Was Little Richard

In an interview in 2004, A Q&A with David Bowie By Sean Moeller, David Bowie shared a story where he stated, “That was the only time. A lot of the others came over to England. I got to see my number one idol, Little Richard – he’d already been over in the ’60s. I think he was pretty much the main man for me. I think it was his sax lineup. I just loved the saxophones in that band. I just felt that that was the group I was going to join when I grew up because I was like 9 when he happened in Britain. I just wanted to be a part of that sax lineup.

AlexandreG.
Is just a guy who got tired of bothering his friends talking about music, and decided to create a blog to write about what he loves the most.
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