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Bowie: A Biography


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About the Author

MARC SPITZ's writing on rock 'n' roll and popular culture has appeared in Spin, the New York Times, Maxim, Nylon, Blender and Uncut (UK). He is the author of How Soon Is Never?; Too Much, Too Late; and Nobody Likes You: Inside the Turbulent Life, Times, and Music of Green Day and coauthor with Brendan Mullen of We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk. From the Hardcover edition.


From folkie to Ziggy to the Thin White Duke, David Bowie has sown a career of ch-ch-changes. Spitz (Nobody Likes You: Inside the Turbulent Life, Times, and Music of Green Day) has written a captivating biography of a deliberately evasive musical icon. The author, a devoted fan who is surprisingly capable of providing an objective viewpoint, offers intelligent analysis, both biographical and critical, supported by 100 interviews with members of Bowie's inner circle. Spitz's disarming self-awareness only adds to the warmth of his writing. Figuring Bowie out may be a bit like nailing jello to the wall, and Spitz concludes, "There is no getting Bowie right, really. It's like getting religion right." A fascinating man and a fascinating book. Verdict: An engaging exploration of a chameleon, this Bowie bio takes a prominent place in a crowded field. Recommended for anyone interested in popular music and contemporary culture.-Bill Baars, Lake Oswego P.L., OR Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Despite the plethora of existing books about the British glam rocker (e.g., David Buckley's Strange Fascination), Spitz, formerly of Spin magazine and the author of a look at the punk band Green Day (Nobody Likes You), concentrates on the complex evolution of Bowie's music to deliver an evenhanded, critically thorough, while still reverential life of the Thin White Duke. Born David Jones in the Brixton suburbs of London in 1947, Bowie treaded the musical edges from blues to mod to rock-and-roll, moving from band to band in his teens and trying out different personas. Assuming the name of an American frontiersman who died at the Alamo, Bowie took his cues from influences as diverse as Bob Dylan, the Velvet Underground, and Marcel Marceau, playing with mime, theater, fashion and sheer showmanship. In the beginning, record companies didn't know how to classify him, with albums like Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold the World and Hunky Dory; it was The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders from Mars, depicting Bowie's red-haired rooster haircut and bisexual persona, that sparked the public's fancy. Phenomenal success ensued, and even in his most cocaine-fueled paranoid period during the mid-1970s, Bowie never stopped changing himself, constantly experimenting with new forms, be they Kabuki, disco, New Wave, punk or Brit pop. Spitz concentrates on the heady years culminating in Scary Monsters and underscores the deafening void that Bowie's recent silence has left in the music world. (Oct.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"BOWIE is inspired, edge-worn, loud, quiet, observant, humble, gorgeous, and humane. If the record business loved music as much as Marc Spitz does, there would still be a record business." --Dan Kennedy, author of Rock On: An Office Power Ballad

"A breezy, well-lit portrait of the ever-enigmatic rocker . . . Spitz's encyclopedic knowledge and obvious appreciation for Bowie's work separate this book from countless cookie-cutter rock stories."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Spitz concentrates on the complex evolution of Bowie's music to deliver an evenhanded, critically thorough, while still reverential, life of the Thin White Duke." --Publishers Weekly
From the Hardcover edition.

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