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The Age of Bowie: How David Bowie Made a World of Difference Paperback – 12 Jan 2017

3.2 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (12 Jan. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471148114
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471148118
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 3.5 x 13.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘A thrilling hymn to a brilliant and beloved “song and dance man”. David Bowie did make a world of difference, and Paul Morley explains why.’

  (Barney Hoskyns The Observer)

‘Morley has a deep understanding of Bowie’s music . . . this is great fun.’  (The Times)

‘A huge sprawl of Bowieania that takes us from skiffle to social media’  (The Herald)

‘A discursive, free-associating ride across the life and work of the Starman Who Changed the World […] The Age of Bowie does feel like an outpouring of the sincerest love for its subject, the fruit of an obsessive emersion of everything Bowie meant to him and us. Eschewing the conventionally dry biographical voice, Morley’s expansive present-tense prose flows […] I hold him to be one of the great pop writers. You might even call him the Bowie of rock journalism.’  (The Guardian)

‘Morley has not only plenty of insights into Bowie’s life and work but also the kind of details that only a diligent biographer unearths’  (The Times)

‘Ultimately it is Bowie that makes this an enjoyable read, his life and art speak so loudly and profoundly that if you capture just a piece, as Morley has, you have something worth reading.’ (Fortitude Magazine)

About the Author

Writer, broadcaster, and cultural critic PAUL MORLEY has written about music, art, and entertainment since the 1970s. A founding member of the electronic collective Art of Noise and a member of staff at the Royal Academy of Music, he is the author of Ask: Chatter of Pop; Words and Music: A History of Pop in the Shape of a City; Piece by Piece: Writing About Joy Division 1977–2007; Earthbound; The North; and Nothing, and he collaborated with music icon Grace Jones on her memoir, I'll Never Write My Memoirs.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am the same age as Paul Morley. His account of growing up with David Bowe is very similar to my own including that we both grew up in the Manchester area. He captures the feeling of Bowie changing his (therefore my) life with uncanny accuracy. The moment you know, you know you know - it was like that and in a way, DB gave me my education. Books to read, artists to find out about, music to listen to. He opened out the world for me,. Morley describes all this............and the insight deep in your own soul that those who didnt `get` Bowie were missing out on something (and yes this came with a certain smugness). That is why this is such a good book. That its is sycophantic is not in question. it is meant to be. Thats how we felt !
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A previous reviewer "Iceland John" seems to see think it's acceptable to review this book on the grounds that he listened to the Radio 4 readings by the author and didn't think much of it. He also doesn't like David Bowie very much anyway! But why would you bother to review a book about an artist you don't like???
And why then did he listen to the Radio 4 readings of the book, if he knew it was about an artist he disliked? Was it morbid curiosity or was he stuck on the toilet with a case of serious and incurable stylistic and artistic constipation? Or maybe just had nothing better to do?
Iceland John, I respect a lot of your musical choices and some of your reviews are spot on, but maybe not your one on the Paul Morley book or your opinions on David Bowie. I am a big Beatles fan too. But these things are decided by consensus not by individuals. Check out Mojo or Classic Rock or Q. Or any decent rock encyclopedia! Bowie was one of the greats! Not even the Beatles achieved the musical transformations that Bowie managed during the 1970s over such a sustained period, though I would not suggest for a minute that he was superior to them!
I have actually never come across anyone so hostile to Bowie unless they are totally ignorant of his work (sometimes)! Or a troll (quite a lot). His catalogue is huge and varied. Its like saying you don't like classical, jazz, Dylan... or air!!
Anyway, this book is actually pretty good. Not the greatest ever on Bowie, but it puts things in a different perspective, so if you have read the print off all the others (like me), then it's got a different slant. And a different chronology. And some unusual viewpoints. If you want a first Bowie biography maybe get Strange Fascination or Starman, don't start with this one, but move onto it later on.
It is an enjoyable read!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I expected a lot from this book and I certainly did get a lot - of words! The sentences were so long, sometimes half a page, that it was almost impossible to read. No matter how pretentious a book is, it at least should be a pleasure to read. And Paul Morley seems somehow to have been inside the head of David Bowie for the last 69 years as he appears to know every thought, feeling and motivation of the man. Very disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
Long time Morley admirers, and I am most definitely one, will know what to expect, this is a characteristically impressionistic biography in which he lucidly and provocatively discusses his relationship with the illusion that is David Bowie. Which is your David Bowie? This stunning biography will help you to make your mind up.

‘The Age of Bowie’ is not a conventional biography, but who wants another one of those? I’ve probably read more than most and, whilst it’s always a good story, a rote chronological biography will never get to the essence of Bowie (or the multifarious versions of David Bowie, as Morley has it) and it is here that this refreshing and absorbing biography is so successful. Morley has always been an original thinker who makes thrilling cultural connections and which, for music obsessives like me, is a joy to read. You can also have your cake and eat it because “at the end of a book about him there is only one way through his life”. Paul Morley runs through each year's “headline” highlight.

Paul Morley is both a passionate Bowie fan, and an expert, which is a winning combination. Morley's meandering, confused thoughts about being asked to comment on news programmes in the aftermath of Bowie's death are worth the price of admission on their own.

Paul Morley was also an artistic advisor to the David Bowie Is exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum from back in 2013, and which, in late 2016, continues to tour the world. I had very mixed feelings about that exhibition but there was no denying the attention to detail and rigour that went into it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful biography about a special person who's contribution to popular culture is unrivalled in recent times. The author, Paul Morley, provides a balance of personal tribute supported by a professional critic and commentator's observations and impressive analysis. It is written in an accessible style which draws you into David Bowie's life story, and which cleverly introduces the inspirations and influences behind his immense artistic output.

There's something for everyone in this book, for the fan, musicologist, art historian, film buff, fashionista or for someone who just wants a good read.The book covers a wide range of topics but has coherent and consistent themes. Bowie is defined as a work of art; mysterious; futuristic; influential; and as a brand- amongst other things. But to most people, Bowie is the most innovative pop performer we have seen over the past 50 years and, what's more, has a global audience.

Bowie has provided a soundtrack to many of our lives. His music was inspired from far and wide but also influenced many other artists. The renowned modern classical composer, Philip Glass, was inspired to compose his first and fourth symphonies - the "Heroes" and "Low" Symphonies based on Bowie's albums. But the list of other artists who have covered or been inspired by Bowie's output is endless, and continues with his final album Blackstar with Anna Calvi's version with the Kronos Quartet, Jherek Bischoff, and Amanda Palmer.

The BBC Proms commissioned a tribute to David Bowie for the 2016 season, based on his music, which is a measure of the respect from the music establishment of classical music.

The book can be read from start to finish, but it is also rewarding to just dip in.
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