Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BOWIE by Marc Spitz

BOWIE

A Biography

By Marc Spitz

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-307-39396-8
Publisher: Crown

A breezy, well-lit portrait of the ever-enigmatic rocker.

Born David Jones in 1947, David Bowie became one of the most shape-shifting artists in the history of rock ’n’ roll. From psychedelic folkie, to dramatic glamster, to blue-eyed soul crooner, to electronic new waver, to hard-rocking alterna-dude, to elder hipster statesman, Bowie is a restless—some would say contradictory—soul. A charismatic, arresting presence on both the music and social scene, the lanky Brit has always spent considerable amounts of time in the public eye. However, few know what he’s really about. Fortunately for Bowie’s multitudinous minions, veteran pop-culture scribe Spitz delivers the goods, despite his subject’s lack of participation in the making of this filmic book. The author (Nobody Likes You: Inside the Life, Turbulent Times, and Music of Green Day, 2006, etc.) takes great care in his dissection of the details of Bowie’s long, eventful career, from the highs—e.g., the success of his remarkably entertaining alter ego Ziggy Stardust—to the lows, most notably a lengthy coke bender that almost ended it all. Unauthorized biographies are often frustratingly shallow for serious fans of the book’s subject—especially when lacking new material, an original spin or a legitimate sense of enthusiasm—but Spitz’s encyclopedic knowledge and obvious appreciation for Bowie’s work separate this book from countless cookie-cutter rock stories.

Only time will tell if this is the definitive Bowie bio, but for now it should satisfy hardcore Ziggy freaks and most casual fans.