The stranger appearances of David Bowie

The news of David Bowie's death has shaken the music world. 

One of modern history's most influential musicians, his 18 month fight had not been made public.

Indeed, this was thought to be a renaissance for the artist as his album, Blackstar, was released to huge acclaim on Jan 8. Which also happened to be his birthday.

The news was announced on Bowie's official Facebook



January 10 2016 - David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with...

Posted by David Bowie on Sunday, 10 January 2016


His son, the director Duncan Jones, confirmed the news via Twitter.



Born, David Robert Jones in Brixton, London, on Jan 8, 1947. Bowie first found fame when his single Space Oddity was re-released to coincide with the 1969 moon landing.

Where others would plough one type of music furrow for their entire career, Bowie fearlessly avoided over-milking the cash cow by moving from genre to genre, leaving copycats in his wake, causing controversy and inspiring millions to follow his music and emulate his look.


Across a career that spanned over 40 years, Bowie pioneered glam rock, blue-eyed soul, ventured into Krautrock and ambient music and was Godfather to the New Romantic movement of the 1980s.

What he also left behind is an archive of sound and vision. His hits are well-known, as are his videos.

There are also a wealth of unsual appearances.


He had a smattering of fame before his rock star years. In 1964, aged just 17, he appeared on BBC current affairs show Tonight about the then unusual trend of men wearing their hair long.




..pretty easy, sometimes.

Under the guise of Ziggy Stardust, Bowie found his first flush of mega-stardom.

He was fully Ziggy, even giving interviews in character. He was quick to move on from it too. The guise lasted just a year-and-half.

In July 1973, at a concert at Hammersmith Odeon in London, Bowie announced that not only was that the last date of the tour, but it would be the last time the band would ever play.

The rumour is that this not only came as news to the stunned audience, it was news to most of Bowie's backing band, The Spiders From Mars.

But he kept his promise. Bowie moved to America and transformed into his Thin White Duke persona.


In the early 1970s he used his growing influence to boost the careers of both Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, whose music had influenced Bowie in the 1960s. For Reed, he produced the classic Transformer album. For Pop, he produced and co-wrote The Idiot and Lust For Life - two albums that spurred the UK punk movement.

Pop performances were wild and often bare-chested. Strange then that they appeared — Bowie on keyboard, Pop on rabid chimp duty — on the ultimate cosy and mumsy US talk show Dinah with host Dinah Shore.

If you can imagine that Shore's usual audience was usually a bunch of aunties, who knows what they made of this. 



In 1977, he flummoxed everyone by appearing on a Christmas special with Bing Crosby for a duet of Little Drummer Boy.

Bizarre because Bowie was in his Berlin Era, which yielded the critically acclaimed Low, Heroes and Lodger.

Brilliant but incredibly dark albums in places. Less egg nog and cardigans and more dank cellars and trenchcoats.


The 1984 documentary Ricochet, about Bowie's Serious Moonlight tour, featured his visit to Singapore.

It's part documentary, part art-piece.

So you get him discussing chewing gum with a taxi driver, and a bit of Majulah Singapura...

...and checking out the Chinese Opera mixed with Heroes...

...and then very artily wandering across the overhead bridge of Far East Plaza.


If he could avoid the usual type of interview, Bowie would go for it. He could be fantastically oblique as this 1999 interview on UK show TFI Friday demonstrates...



​Yes, even rock legends get to enjoy life under the waves.

In 2007, Bowie voiced the Lord Royal Highness in the SpongeBob Squarepants episode, Atlantis SquarePantis



Spider From Mars, Glass Spider tour. Bowie has had a few eight-legged associations. This isn't strictly a Bowie appearance, but it is to do with his appearance.

In 2009, German arachnologist Peter Jaeger named a newly discovered species of Malaysian huntsman spider, Heteropoda davidbowie. 

It is so called because it supposedly resembles the bright orange shock of hair the rockstar sported during his Ziggy days


In the US animated series The Venture Bros, the creators were such huge Bowie fans, not only did they turn the ltrics of Space Oddity into an action sequence...

...they also decided that Bowie should be the head of global supervillain organisation The Guild Of Calamitous Intent.




Some of Bowie's film roles were great (see The Man Who Fell To Earth), some not so great (Just A Gigolo, anyone?)

And some were just weird. Such as this cameo in David Lynch's 1992 film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.



But his greatest cameo may still be when he stepped in to judge the walk off in Zoolander




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