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Strange Fascination: David Bowie: The Definitive Story Paperback – 4 Aug 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books; New Ed edition (4 Aug. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753510022
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753510025
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.8 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 387,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"One of the most authoritative Bowie books you're ever likely to read." (Mojo)

"As a critique-cum-re-establishment of the David Bowie character, "definitive" is pretty much it." (Guardian)

"A fascinating portrait of a fascinating artist ... if you like Bowie and you're into biographies, this is the one to read" (Marc Almond)

From the Publisher

'You must think we out-of-towners are a strange and crazy bunch. Well,I guess we are. We dance a furious boredom',a young David Bowie wrote from his provincial bedroom to DJ John Peel in 1969. Five years later this driven, questing and flawed soul created his androgynous, fanatical rock star Ziggy Stardust as the ultimate revenge of the suburbs. Bowie's subsequent pioneering sexual experimentation, cracked actor showmanship and ability to embrace every musical genre from glam rock to drum'n'bass have made him into the biggest commerical success in rock history since the Beatles and The Stones. He is as much an icon in 2005 as he was during the 70's.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By nigeyb on 9 Nov. 2007
Format: Paperback
A wonderful trawl through the highs, lows and mediocrity of David's life and work.

David Buckley really knows his stuff and has interesting, and new - to me, a reasonably knowledgeable fan - observations to make about the myriad twists and turns of David's career.

As a teenage Bowie freak I finally lost interest during the 1980s when David seemed more interested in making money than art. Reading this book stimulated me to revisit his 1970s glory years, and to better understand how and why his career played out the way it did. I enjoyed reading the book with my iPod on, and listening to each track/album as David Buckley brought his expert analysis to bear. If you're reading this, you probably don't need me to tell you that David has enjoyed a musical renaissance since the mid-1990s which - his heart attack aside - gives the book an upbeat ending and a certain symmetry.

Some very random highlights:

- the impact of the Ziggy era and its contribution to Punk a few years down the line
- Mike Garson - keyboard maestro - who is asked at least once a week (1973-present) about his keyboard solo on Aladdin Sane
- David's prodigious mid-70s cocaine intake not getting in the way of creating the majestic Station To Station
- David's more bizarre duets
- how Glam kicked the cr*p out of the hippy dream
- and oh so much more

I think David Buckley is to be congratulated on a great achievement: a fascinating book that does its subject justice. Weighing in at nearly 700 pages it's more for the fan than the casual reader. And you don't need me to tell you that David Bowie is one of the late 20th century's most significant musical figures.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great book, well written, easy to read and which I literally could not put down most of the time.

Like many other reviewers, reading the book made me go back to some tracks and even albums I hadn't played for a while.

Here are some random questions &/or comments about Bowie that I've never found an answer to and was maybe hoping to-- none of these are criticisms of the book though just things I've always wondered about:

1. What were Bowie's thoughts on the original (cartoon) cover to The Man Who Sold the World album?
2. What possessed RCA to release "Rock & Roll Suicide" as a follow-up single to "Rebel Rebel" and before the "Diamond Dogs" single?
3. Why didn't RCA ask Bowie for input when remixing "Velvet Goldmine" for the "Space Oddity" 1975 single re-release?
4. I think a bit more on the making of Lou Reed's Transformer and even the long deleted Dana Gillespie album would have been of interest. There was some coverage of Iggy Pop's The Idiot and Lust for Life but I was left hungry for more.
5. How is it possible that "Be My Wife" didn't even make the Top 75 particularly when the preceding single had been a Top 3 hit? Was there a physical record distribution problem at the time?
6. What was Bowie's experience of working with Giorgio Moroder (and Paul Schrader) on the original "Cat People" track like?
7. Why did EMI America release "Without You" as a follow-up single to "Modern Love" in the US without a promotional video at the height of MTV fever? Contemporary acts were achieving 4th and 5th Top 40 hit singles on the US Hot 100 from the same hit album but not without that all important video.
8. How did the Keith Haring cover of the above "Without You" single come about?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
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).
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