Music

20 things you need to know about David Bowie

1. Born David Robert Jones in London on Jan 8, 1947. He shared his birthday with Elvis.

2. He married supermodel Iman in 1992 and they have a daughter, Alexandria Zahra Jones. His son Duncan Jones, who is from Bowie's previous marriage to Angela Bowie, is the director of the upcoming Warcraft film adaptation.

3. Besides singing, Bowie played the piano, keyboards, guitar and saxophone.

4. He had a permanently dilated pupil as a result of a school fight over a girl.

5. He had just one O-level qualification - in art. He enjoyed drawing, painting and sculpting.

6. He changed his name to Bowie in 1966 to differentiate himself from Davy Jones of The Monkees.

7. Bowie had been in 10 bands. His most famous backing band was called Spiders From Mars.

8. One of Bowie's earliest hits, 1969's Space Oddity, became popular again in 2013, after Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield uploaded a YouTube video of him singing the song in orbit. The song was also featured in the 2013 Ben Stiller movie The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.

9. Bowie was a chameleon and was known for his alter egos on stage: Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and Thin White Duke.

10. Loved by critics and widely regarded as one of the most influential musician, Bowie sold an estimated 140 million albums over his 24-year career.

11. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1996.

12. He claimed to have pioneered moonwalking years before Michael Jackson did, writing on his official website that he was taught a type of moonwalk for his 1974 Diamond Dogs tour.

13. He collaborated with Queen's Freddie Mercury for the 1981 hit Under Pressure.

14. He appeared in movies, including The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976); Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983); Labyrinth (1986); and Zoolander (2001).

15. In 1996, Bowie released Telling Lies, the first-ever downloadable single by a major artist. He launched his own Internet service provider, Bowienet, a year later.

16. He was the first musician to issue bonds against his future income in 1997, with investors paying £35 million (S$73m) for "Bowie Bonds" backed by income from his back catalogue.

17. He voiced the character of Lord Royal Highness in animated movie SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePants in 2007. For the upcoming SpongeBob Squarepants Broadway musical, Bowie was reported to have signed on to write original music for the show.

18. In 2009, a rare yellow spider from Malaysia was named after him because he had referenced arachnids in his 1972 album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.

19. After a 10-year hiatus from music, Bowie had a comeback in 2013 with his 24th studio album, The Next Day. This was followed by compilation album Nothing Has Changed in 2014.

20. Arcade Fire and TV On The Radio are two of Bowie's favourite bands from the last decade.

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