I've been an on-and-off fan of David Bowie since the release of Ziggy Stardust
in 1972, and still believe that the run of fourteen albums he released between Space Oddity
and Let's Dance
is - with one or two exceptions - a rare example of extraordinary consistency over a long period of time in pop music. This account of Bowie's life and music provides some great insights into how those records were made, and how his well-known penchant for self-reinvention kept his work so interesting and appealing. The other thing it does is to strongly suggest that some of his later work (particularly 2002's Heathen
) is equally valuable. Having - like many fans - lost interest in Bowie after 1983, I can't comment on that assertion, but it sounds like it'd be worth picking up some of those discs for a listen.
The author tells Bowie's story in an engaging fashion although, as others have pointed out, there's a good deal of repetition and fragmentation in the text, which suggests it'd've benefited from a final read-through by an editor. They might also have fixed up the sentence on p34 which says that Bowie wanted to "utilise each new innovation as it came along" (rather than, presumably, wasting time on all those old innovations). Similarly, whilst it was indeed a "deserved tribute to Bowie's huge contribution to music" when he received an honorary doctorate in 1999, it wasn't awarded him by [University of California] Berkeley (as stated on p482), but by the similar-sounding (and in the realm of contemporary music, far more prestigious) institution on the other side of the USA. Picking up such nits spoiled my enjoyment of the book somewhat, but it's still a nice piece of work.