David Bowie (born David Robert Jones on 8 January 1947) is an English Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger and audio engineer.
Active in five decades of rock and roll, and frequently re-inventing his music and image, Bowie is widely regarded as an influential innovator, particularly for his work through the 1970s. Bowie has taken cues from a wide range of fine art, philosophy and literature.
He is also a film and stage actor, music video director and visual artist. In 1981, Queen released "Under Pressure", co-written by and performed with Bowie. The song was a hit and became Bowie's 3rd and Queen's 2nd #1 single. In the same year Bowie made a cameo appearance in the German movie Christiane F. Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo, the real-life story of a 13 year-old girl in Berlin who becomes addicted to heroin and ends up prostituting herself. Bowie is credited with "special cooperation" in the credits and his music features prominently in the movie. The soundtrack was released in 1982 and contained a version of "Heroes" sung partially in German.
Bowie then scored his first truly commercial blockbuster with Let's Dance in 1983, a slick dance album co-produced by CHIC's Nile Rodgers. It was a departure from Scary Monsters for which Bowie received a bit of inside criticism; rather than revolting against 1980s dance music, he had in fact joined the scene. The title track went to #1 in the United States and United Kingdom and many now consider it a standard.
The album also featured the singles "Cat People", "Modern Love" and "China Girl”, the latter causing something of a stir due to its suggestive promotional video. "China Girl" was a remake of a song which Bowie co-wrote several years earlier with Iggy Pop, who recorded it for The Idiot. In an interview by Kurt Loder, Bowie revealed that the motivation for recording China Girl was to help out his friend Iggy Pop financially, contributing to Bowie's history of support for musicians he admired. Let's Dance was also notable as a stepping stone for the career of the late Texan guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, who played on the album and was to have supported Bowie on the consequent Serious Moonlight Tour. Vaughan, however, never joined the tour after a pay dispute between Bowie and Vaughan's manager at the time. Vaughan was replaced by Earl Slick. The Simms Brothers Band toured and performed with Bowie at this time. The tour was a huge success, and a single performance at the US festival actually scored Bowie a million dollars on its own.
The 1984 follow-up album Tonight was also dance-oriented, featuring collaborations with Tina Turner and a cover of The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows". Critics labelled it a lazy effort, dashed off by Bowie simply to recapture Let's Dance's chart success. Yet the album bore the transatlantic Top Ten hit "Blue Jean" whose complete video, a 22-minute short film directed by Julien Temple, reflected Bowie's long-standing interest in combining music with drama. This video would win Bowie his only Grammy to date, for Best Short-Form Music Video. It also featured the minor hit "Loving the Alien". The album also has a pair of dance version rewrites of "Neighborhood Threat" and "Tonight", old songs Bowie wrote with Iggy Pop which had originally appeared on Lust for Life.
In 1985, Bowie performed several of his greatest hits at Wembley for Live Aid. At the end of his set, which comprised "Rebel Rebel", "TVC 15", "Modern Love" and "'Heroes'", he introduced a film of the Ethiopian famine, for which the event was raising funds, which was set to the song "Drive" by the Cars. At the event, the video to a fundraising single was premièred – Bowie performing a duet with Mick Jagger on a version of "Dancing in the Street", which quickly went to #1 on release.David Bowie as the Goblin King JarethAlso, Bowie worked with the Pat Metheny Group on the song "This Is Not America", which was featured in the film The Falcon and the Snowman. This song was the centrepiece of the album, a collaboration intended to underline the espionage thriller's central themes of alienation and disaffection.
In 1986 Bowie contributed the theme song to the film Absolute Beginners. The movie was not well reviewed but Bowie maintained for many years that the song, a UK #2 hit, was one of the best and most professional he'd ever written. He also took a role in the 1986 Jim Henson film Labyrinth as Jareth, the Goblin King, who steals the baby brother of a girl named Sarah (played by Jennifer Connelly), in order to turn him into a goblin. Bowie wrote songs for the film, some of which became singles.
Bowie's final dance album was Never Let Me Down (1987), where he ditched the light dance of his two earlier albums, instead producing harder rock with a dance edge. The album, which 'only' scraped to a UK #6 peak, drew some of the harshest criticism of Bowie's career, condemned by critics as a faceless piece of product and ignored by the public — Bowie himself openly apologized in an interview for the album's quality; defenders of the album maintain that many of its songs are underrated and that Bowie at this time was simply facing the inevitable backlash of an overexposed superstar.
Opening on 30 May 1987, the Glass Spider Tour sought to market the album; visiting fifteen countries and produced eighty-six performances, as well as nine promotional press shows. Musicians included: Carlos Alomar (guitar), Peter Frampton (lead guitar), Carmine Rojas (bass), Alan Childs (drums), Erdal Kizilcay (keyboards, trumpet, congas, violin) and Richard Cottle (keyboards, saxophone). Dancers included: Melissa Hurley, Viktor Manoel, Constance Marie, Craig Allen Rothwell (aka Spazz Attack), and Stephen Nichols.
Some critics called it overproduced and claimed that it was pandering to then-current stadium rock trends in its special effects and dancers. However, fans that saw the shows from the Glass Spider Tour were treated to many of Bowie's classics. In August of 1988, Bowie portrayed Pontius Pilate in the Martin Scorsese film The Last Temptation of Christ.
Never Let Me Down is an album by David Bowie, released April 1987. It drew some of the harshest criticism of Bowie's career, condemned by critics as a faceless piece of product and ignored by the public—Bowie himself openly apologised in an interview for the album being so bad. However, defenders of the album maintain that many of its songs are underrated and that Bowie at this time was simply facing the inevitable backlash of an overexposed superstar. Featuring more of Bowie's own compositions, the album certainly maintained a greater degree of originality than its predecessor, Tonight. Tracks from Never Let Me Down formed the backbone of Bowie's highly theatrical Glass Spider world tour in 1987.
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Tonight is a 1984 album by David Bowie, featuring collaborations with Tina Turner and a cover of the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows". Critics slammed it as a lazy effort, dashed off by Bowie simply to recapture Let's Dance's chart success. Yet the album bore the Top 10 hit "Blue Jean" whose long-form video, a 22-minute short film directed by Julien Temple, reflected Bowie's long-standing interest in combining music with drama. It also featured the minor hit "Loving the Alien", a deep song about religious conflict and one of the few songs from Tonight to later return to Bowie's stage repetoire. The album also has a pair of dance version rewrites of "Neighbourhood Threat" and "Tonight", old songs Bowie wrote with Iggy Pop, both of which originally appeared on Lust for Life, possibly to recreate the success of his earlier rewrite, "China Girl".
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