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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bowie in calm, fond, total, detail., 1 Nov 2000
Nicholas Pegg is clearly a great fan of David Bowie, but he also displays a calm intelligence, gently chiding his hero for Tim Machine and other follies. The book examines every track Bowie ever recorded in alphabetical order, a cut-up technique similar to Bowie's own, before launching on more in-depth (and chronological) examinations of the albums. The pitch is exactly right: it's not too musicianly, not too fannish, and entertains the wild speculations of biographers as possibilites rather than history. Also, Pegg seems to have paid attention to every Bowie resource and taken the best from all of them, leading to an overview that carefully wanders round its subject to see it from all angles. If the character of Bowie himself can be pinned down in print, it's here, where he comes across as a decent, concerned, sharing sort of chap with a corny sense of humour, who, realising that he was rather horribly normal, hid for a long time behind images and drugs. Whilst, of course, being an astonishing songwriter and performer. This book reminds you of the length of the career, the size of the contribution, and is a work of similar art itself. 'The Complete' title has never been more apt.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book worthy of Bowie, 12 Sep 2006
This book triumphantly illuminates the extraordinary career & catalogue of David Bowie.

It works on several levels. It is bursting with detail, but there is a consistent discipline which prevents it falling into random trivia. With Bowie, this distinction is vital. His cronic referencing of many artists, not least himself, creates a maze. Mr Pegg is our surefooted guide through the sometimes obscure labyrinth. My appreciation of Bowie's work, particularly from Buddha Of Suburbia onwards, has been hugely enhanced by understanding his influences & context at the time of writing.

The most satisfying sections are the narratives on albums & tours. These are not biography, in the sense of the bonkfest pageturner genre of rock writing. Mr Pegg clearly has no appetite for these redtop areas. Rather, he studiously, absorbingly & lovingly charts the evolution of the Bowie canon.

Bowie emerges as down to earth, somewhat vulnerable & touched by an extraordinary intuitive genius. We see that his work excels the more he trusts this intuition.

Most broadly, 'The complete DB' begins to place Bowie in cultural history. Legacy is not,I suspect, a priority of Bowie, but it is an inevitable issue & the almost scholarly perspective & rigour of Mr Pegg sets a well considered marker.

The final pleasure of this book is the style. Generous, whilst balanced in sharing past journalistic criticisms of Bowie; witty; understated, yet sharp. I would have enjoyed the read if Bowie had not been a hero. For those for whom he is, you will find yourself continually pouring through the pages, preferably with the stereo at full volume.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare intelligence, 6 Oct 2009
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This review is from: Complete David Bowie (Paperback)
Reference books are struggling to survive, edged out by the accessibility, flexibility and, let's not deny it, freeness of the web. So why is it worth your while to splash out hard cash on this vast chunk of dead tree? Because it's rather more than a reference work. Yes, all the facts are there; or rather, Pegg's facts are utterly plausible, as his grasp of the minutiae of Bowie's life and career, from album serial numbers to Dave Lee Travis sessions is at times overwhelming to this humble reader.

But Pegg offers something extra, that you don't get with Wikipedia or the All Music Guide. He has a fine critical intelligence, expressed with a dry wit, while never descending into crass journalese of PR-style puffery. He is a Bowie fan, but this is never expressed as blind, gushing praise. He does not try to claim that Tin Machine II is as good as Hunky Dory - he is not deaf, or a certifiable nincompoop - but he does dare to suggest that the more recent album may have its less horrible moments, and be worthy of contemplation in the overall arc of Bowie's career. Indeed, one of the book's strengths (and a reason to pick up a new edition, if you have an earlier one) is that the author does not follow the hack orthodoxy that DB ceased to be relevant at some point between Scary Monsters and Let's Dance. Bowie is still out there, and should be grateful to have Pegg as his most scrupulous, even-handed and articulate chronicler.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As the title says "complete"....well, almost, 12 Sep 2003
By 
M. SIRL "Man With Ears" (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is not a book for those looking for a biography of the great man. What this is is a book for the true Bowie fanatic. If you’re not interested in the fact that the version of Ziggy Stardust recorded on 1st June 1973 is two words different from the version recorded on 14th July 1973 then don’t buy this book. If you find such titbits fascinating then this book is for you. Packed with trivia on virtually every song, film, video, play, art exhibition, and just about everythng else that Bowie has produced, contributed to, or just inspired, this is simply the definitive record of the man’s works. Read it from cover to cover , or just keep it for reference. Either way, this book is a must.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete indeed!, 31 Oct 2000
By A Customer
It's hard to dispute this book's billing as "The Most Comprehensive Bowie Book Ever Published"! Although the author drew from existing sources without conducting any original research, his encyclopedic knowledge of the subject more than makes up for it. David's music is analyzed from two perspectives: song by song (from A to Z) and album by album (in chronological order). And the entries are far from superficial: they scrutinize each topic exhaustively. Bowie's other works (movies, videos, etc.) are also covered. With 445 pages full of text in small print (no pictures), "The Complete David Bowie" puts all other "Bowie guides" to shame. That, of course, does not include biographies. But you can forget books like "We Can Be Heroes - The Story Behind Every Bowie Song" (Chris Welch), "The Complete Guide to The Music of David Bowie" (David Buckley - but his Bowie biography "Strange Fascination", on the other hand, is a must), "David Bowie, Theatre of Music" (Robert Matthew-Walker) and others in a similar vein.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete Bowie? You Betcha!, 21 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Complete David Bowie (Paperback)
The world needs Nick Pegg! Pur and simple!

Whilst Bowie doesn't have the volume of fans that Springsteen, Dylan, The Stones and Beatles may have one thing is for sure, Bowie fans are a desperate bunch!

We love to know everything about his music, films, art, his passion for writing and like myself many of us have been inspired by Bowie to discover Dali, Kraftwerk and French art house cinema.

Nick Pegg picks apart every aspect of Bowie's career in great detail. You will find out so many wonderful bits of information and continue to come back to this wonderful publication time and again.

I own all bar one of the volumes released so far and none have left me disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference book, 7 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Complete David Bowie (Paperback)
Not much to add to the other reviews here: this is an outstanding book covering every aspect of Bowie's career in fine detail. This edition was published just before the surprise release of the most recent Bowie album, 'The Next Day', so that record and its associated singles are the only recorded works that don't appear. For everything else, Nicholas Pegg's book is a good place to check first.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for all Bowie Fans, 21 May 2013
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This review is from: The Complete David Bowie (Paperback)
The ultimate bible for all Bowie fans. I've wanted this book for a long time and am so pleased to get the updated version that takes us up to Reality album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exhaustive History of The Dukester, 3 May 2013
By 
Og Oggilby "Og Oggilby" (North London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: The Complete David Bowie (Paperback)
A huge, exceptionally well-researched and very informative book, Nicholas Pegg's 'The Complete David Bowie' is a superb, in-depth trawl through David Bowie's musical history, including his earliest days in the mid 1960s. It's not a biography - look elsewhere for that, but in terms of lifting the lid on the inspiration and recording history of individual songs, albums and the weaving in of outside events and even managerial and contractual issues, and how they impinged on his career, this book is invaluable. It's a handy item to have around when you listen to Bowie's magisterial catalogue of recordings, affording the listener an insight into what any individual song is about. Endlessly fascinating, like the career of David Bowie himself, this book repays the modest outlay time and again
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Very Definition of Complete, 27 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Complete David Bowie (Paperback)
There must be more books about David Bowie than of any other individual in the field of music/entertainment; some good, some not so good.

For an indepth understanding of ALL his work look no further than this eridite, yet highly readable book- without all the salacious gossip.

This, and Paul Trynka's "Starman" are all you need to understand one of the most important people in the field of popular music of the 20th centuary.

Complete indeed!
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The Complete David Bowie
The Complete David Bowie by Nicholas Pegg (Paperback - 9 Sep 2011)
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