On This Day in 1947

Stratospheric Pop Legend David Bowie Was Born

In the 60s, the London-born David Robert Jones changed his last name to Bowie (a la the hunting knife), so as not to be confused with Monkees frontman Davy Jones, and set the stage for a lifetime of metamorphoses: he became the glam god Ziggy Stardust, followed by the Thin White Duke, a real-life take on his character in The Man Who Fell to Earth. Then he shifted from outré bisexual to devoted husband of supermodel Iman. Along the way he flirted with funk on “Young Americans” and the floor-filler “Let’s Dance,” experimented with drugs, mullets and fascism, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While putting music on hold to focus on his art and his family, he is prepping the forthcoming book Bowie: Object, which will highlight more than 100 personal objects from his archives along with anecdotes. On his birthday, we celebrate the man who did reinvention before Madonna and Lady Gaga and paved the way for the next generation of androgynous frontmen (see: Brandon Flowers and My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way). Thanks to him, the stars look very different today.

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