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David Bowie´s history and story: A time line infographic

This time line illustrates the history of David Bowie: from his career beginnings in 1964 until his death, in January 10th, 2016 (an beyond).

 
 
 
 
 
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Una publicación compartida por Toms Music Data Blog (@tommy.mdb)

Trying to explain David Bowie‘s history is quite a complex task. His multiple characters and diverse music styles, attitudes and stories is really hard to sumarize. This time line serves as a short visual version of many of his stage personas, like Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, Pierrot, Halloween Jack, Jareth the Goblin King and many more.

Click on the image below to find the complete graphic about David Bowie’s History Time Line:

The history of David Bowie: a sumarized version

Career beginnings in the 60’s and 70’s

David Bowie started playing in diverse bands since the early sixties, from which most memorable ones are The Lower Third and the King Bees. It was not until 1966 that he decided to change his artistic name to David Bowie and became a solo performer.

His first record,1967´s selftitled David Bowie, did not have much impact, but two years after he released Space Oddity, an album that started gardening attention from music critics.

After the release of the well received The Man Who Sold the World (1970) and Hunky Dory (1971) his big break came with the magestic glam rock release, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972). It was with this record that Bowie rose to world popularity, formulating the narrative and theatrical performance of his first widely know stage persona.

After this landmark album, he released the also critically and commercially successful Aladdin Sane in 1973 and Diamond Dogs in 1974. When Station to Station was released in 1976, he had developed some problems with drugs. To take care of that bad habit, he relocated to Berlin and took his good friend Iggy Pop with him.

This is when the famous Berlin Trilogy started, with a series of albums that are now highly regarded by both fans and music critics: Low and “Heroes”, which were released in 1977; and Lodger in 1979.

It is also worth noting that it was during this era that David Bowie also managed to produce Iggy Pop’s two first solo releases: The Idiot and Lust For Life, both from 1977.

Bowie during the 80’s

After the release of the Berlin trilogy, David Bowie changed yet again his alter ego: at that time he chose the monicker Pierrot, who was some kind of clown or mime. This record was not as popular as his seventies output.

It took him three years to come up with a follow up to that record, the successful Let´s Dance came out in 1983 and it features the famous title track. At the time, this album met with a mixed reaction from his fan base and part of the music press, who did not embrace his new dance music style.

It was in 1986 that David Bowie created yet another character, perhaps one of his most famous of the 80’s decade: Jareth the Goblin king. Along with this new Bowie Persona came the movie and the soundtrack Labyrinth, both in 1986. David Bowie starred on the film, as we know.

In 1987 David Bowie released the album Never Let Me Down Again, which is considered one of the low points in his career.

David Bowie during the 90’s and into the 2000’s

In the early nineties, David Bowie was musically wandering and trying to find a new musical drive. It was during this time that he started the band Tin Machine, a project that released two albums. With no significant chart and sales impact, it is still worth noting that for Tin Machine, David Bowie was inspired by The Pixies.

After the Tin Machine project was discontinued, David Bowie released a series of albums that did not have significant impact: Black Tie White Noise, The Budda of Suburbia (both in 1993) and Outside (1995). In my opinion, his 1997´s album Earthling is a stand out of his nineties output.

Starting the new milenium he released some other good records like the overlooked Heathen (2002) and Reality (2003). After this, Bowie took a decade break in this music recording career.

It was in 2013 that he came back and released another great album: The Next Day. The cover of the release was inspired in the one from his famous record Heroes, from 1997.

David Bowie´s last studio album was Blackstar, which came out in 2016. It was released in his 69th birthday (January 8th) and two days before his death (January 10th, 2016). After this terrible loss, many compilation albums and box sets were released.

In 2021, the “lost” album Toy was officially released. It features re-recordings of old Bowie songs from his 1964-1971 era, plus three new tracks.

David Bowie Discography

  • David Bowie (1967, selftitled)
  • Space Oddity (1969)
  • The Man Who Sold the World (1970)
  • Hunky Dory (1971)
  • The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
  • Aladdin Sane (1973)
  • Pin Ups (1973)
  • Diamond Dogs /1974)
  • Young Americans (1975)
  • Station to Station (1976)
  • Low (1977)
  • “Heroes” (1977)
  • Lodger (1979)
  • Scary Monsters (1980)
  • Let´s Dance (1983)
  • Labyrinth (1986)
  • Never Let Me Down (1987)
  • Black Tie White Noise (1993)
  • Outside (1995)
  • Earthling (1997)
  • Hours (1999)
  • Heathen (2002)
  • Reality (2003)
  • The Next Day (2013)
  • Blackstar (2016)
  • Toy (2021) (Recorded in 2000)

More content:

You can also find Nirvana´s History Time Line here.