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David Bowie Through the Years

The Thin White Duke, from his time as Davie Jones to his passing at age 69

Bowie

Jan. 1, 1970 - DAVID BOWIE LIVE IN CONCERT IN 1970 (Credit Image: © UPPA/ZUMAPRESS.com)

Zuma

David Bowie lived many lives. He was completely capable of transforming from blues-loving Davie Jones to rock & roll alien Ziggy Stardust to the dapper Thin White Duke with ease. Even until his death in January of 2016, the singer, performer, actor and fashion icon continued to reinvent his image and sound, ending his career with the dark, reflective Blackstar that served as a parting gift for fans who did not yet know about his struggle with cancer. 

Over the years, Bowie's fashion was a reflection of his personal rebirth, the killing of his past and the beginning of a new era. Take a look a back at the development of the artist in the nearly 50 years of evolution. 

David Bowie

David Bowie

RB

Portrait Session 1969

In 1969, Bowie began immersing himself into the space-y glam folk that made him famous. He released his second self-titled album that year, which included his first of many iconic singles, "Space Oddity."

David Bowie

David Bowie

Michael Ochs Archives

Los Angeles, 1971

In 1971, Bowie moved to RCA and released Hunky Dory, a glam folk LP that has songs dedicated to Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan and Bowie's older brother Terry.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Michael Ochs Archives

Spiders From Mars

Bowie debuted Ziggy Stardust and his Spiders from Mars in 1971. On concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, Bowie's Stardust is sent to warn humans that there are only five years left on earth. He becomes a rock icon who is destroyed by his own vices and fans.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Michael Ochs Archives

Diamond Dogs

Bowie released two albums in 1972: Aladdin Sane and the covers LP Pin-Ups. Between the pair of releases, he began prepping Diamond Dogs, his 1974 concept album based on George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four

David Bowie

David Bowie

de Villeneuve/Hulton Archive

Bowie and Twiggy

Model Twiggy joined Bowie on the cover of Pin Ups, an album of covers featuring Bowie's takes on songs by artists like Pink Floyd and the Kinks. 

David Bowie

David Bowie

Michael Ochs Archives

NYC

Bowie's visits to America had a huge effect on the music he released in the Seventies, with the artist describing Aladdin Sane as "Ziggy goes to America." Bowie eventually settled in NYC where he lived with his wife Iman and their daughter. 

David Bowie

David Bowie

Michael Ochs Archives

Bowie Live

Bowie's personae came alive fully in his colorful stage performances that pulled were as theatrical as they were rock & roll.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Kay/Express

The Midnight Special

Marianne Faithfull joined David Bowie onstage for a live taping of The Midnight Special at the Marquee Club in London in 1973.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Hussein/Hulton Archive

Portrait Session, 1974

Bowie released Diamond Dogs in 1974. He also moved to NYC, becoming entrenched in the soul and funk scenes occurring in America at the time. The sounds would influence his 1975 album, Young Americans.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Galella

17th Annual Grammy Awards

Though he wasn't nominated — and was not nominated until 1984 for Let's Dance — Bowie joined Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon, Yoko Ono and John Lennon at the 17th Annual Grammy Awards on March 1st, 1975.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Persson

David Bowie and Iggy Pop

Bowie and Pop lived together in Berlin for some time, sharing a small apartment while working on each other's albums. 

David Bowie

David Bowie

McCaffrey/Michael Ochs Archive

David Bowie and Iggy Pop Live

Bowie appeared alongside his frequent collaborator Iggy Pop during a 1978 concert in San Francisco.

David Bowie

David Bowie

RB

David Bowie and Mick Jagger

In support of Live Aid and famine relief, Bowie and his hero-turned-peer Mick Jagger remade Martha and Vandellas upbeat hit, "Dancing in the Street." The eccentric video won Best Overall Performance in a Video at the MTV Video Music Awards

David Bowie

David Bowie

Hogan/Hulton Archive

Prince’s Trust Concert

Jagger and Bowie performed as part of an all-star band at the Prince's Trust Concert at Wembley Stadium in 1986. 

David Bowie

David Bowie

Mazur Archive

Under Pressure

Bowie originally recored "Under Pressure" with Queen's Freddie Mercury. Following Mercury's tragic death in 1991, Bowie reprised the duet with some help from Annie Lennox.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Mazur

David Bowie’s 50th Birthday Celebration

In 1997, Bowie celebrated his 50th birthday extravagantly by hosting a concert at Madison Square Garden. He was joined on-stage by Lou Reed for performances of "Queen Bitch," "Dirty Blvd," "White Light/White Heat," and "I'm Waiting for the Man." The Cure's Robert Smith, Foo Fighters, Trent Reznor and Sonic Youth were among the other artists to join Bowie in ringing in his 50th year.

David Bowie

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Tibet House Benefit Concert

Like his friends Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, Bowie supported Tibet House. He performed at the Tibet House Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall in 2001. 

David Bowie

KMazur/WireImage

Warm-Up Show

Bowie gave fans an intimate preview of his Reality tour at the Chance Nightclub in Poughkeepsie, NY in August 2003. 

David Bowie

KMazur/WireImage

Arcade Fire

The performer remained secluded following his Reality tour but returned to the public eye in 2005 when he joined Arcade Fire at Conde Nast's Fashion Rocks Show in New York City.

David Bowie Alicia Keys

Kevin Mazur Archive 1/WireImage

The Black Ball

David Bowie's final live performance occurred in 2006 at a charity event where he sang "Changes" with Alicia Keys.

David Bowie

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

New York Can-Do Awards

David Bowie's public appearances in the last decade of his life were sparse, but he did show up for charity galas. In 2007, he rubbed shoulders with Bill Clinton at the Food Bank of New York's Can-Do Awards.

David Bowie

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for DKMS

DKMS’ 5th Annual Gala

Iman and Bowie supported DKMS' 5th Annual Gala: Linked Against Leukemia, which honored Rihanna and Michael Clinton.

Bowie Dead

Jimmy King

Lazarus

After a private, 18 month battle with liver cancer, Bowie passed away at the age of 69. His death arrived two days after his birthday and release of 25th and final album Blackstar.