David Bowie, the influential singer/songwriter who blended "drama, images and personae" with his music, died Sunday at 69 after an 18-month bout with cancer, the entertainer's publicist told The New York Times
A posting on Bowie's Facebook site and other media accounts announced the singer's death, noted the Times. The newspaper said he passed two days after his birthday.
"One of the most original and singular voices in rock and roll for nearly five decades, Bowie championed mystery, rebellion and curiosity in his music," said Kory Grow of Rolling Stone
"Ever unpredictable, the mercurial artist and fashion icon wore many guises throughout his life. Beginning life as a dissident folk-rock spaceman, he would become an androgynous, orange-haired, glam-rock alien (Ziggy Stardust), a well-dressed, blue-eyed funk maestro (the Thin White Duke), a drug-loving art rocker (the Berlin albums), a new-wave hit-maker, a hard rocker, a techno enthusiast and a jazz impressionist. His flair for theatricality won him a legion of fans," said Grow.
Born David Robert Jones on Jan. 8, 1947, in London, Bowie started learning the saxophone at 13 and honed his musical skills in high school, noted Rolling Stone. He took the name stage name Bowie, as in the knife, so he could avoid confusion with Davy Jones, of The Monkees, said the magazine.
His 1969 hit "Space Oddity" put Bowie on the entertainment map, noted the New York Times. The Hollywood Reporter
said Bowie's "artistic breakthrough" came with the release of "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" in 1972 with images that fused "British mod with Japanese kabuki styles and rock with theater."
In 1975, Bowie hit it big in the United States with his first crossover No. 1 hit "Fame," a song he co-wrote with John Lennon and guitarist Carlos Alomar, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "Golden Years," off his "Station to Station" album, also reached the top 10 in the America.
While "Let's Dance" in 1983 was his only other U.S. No. 1 song, Bowie is also remembered for tunes such as "Heroes," "Changes," "Under Pressure," "China Girl," "Modern Love" and a 1977 Christmas medley with Bing Crosby.
Bowie's final album "Blackstar," which the New York Times said was a collaboration with a jazz quintet, was released on his birthday Friday. A concert at Carnegie Hall on March 31 was expected to honor him and his music, noted the newspaper.
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