By Michael Baadke
Sunday marks the 70th birthday of musician, songwriter and actor David Bowie, who died two days after his 69th birthday on Jan. 10, 2016. His death from liver cancer also came two days after the release of his final studio album, Blackstar.
Bowie was born David Robert Jones in London, England, on Jan. 8, 1947. He studied music and design while venturing into performing with local bands before recording his first album at age 20. The album was titled David Bowie, a name he had adopted to sidestep potential confusion with the suddenly famous British-born singer Davy Jones of the Monkees.
Over the course of a 50-year career, Bowie recorded 27 studio albums, including two as a member of Tin Machine. He became known early on for his innovations in both music and fashion, writing and recording songs flavored by pop, soul, rock, blues, electronic music and musical theater, and forging other songs that defied classification but which became popular anthems and standards.
Bowie appeared in more than 20 films, including lead roles in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and Merry Christmas, Mister Lawrence (1983).
His many chart successes include the singles Space Oddity (1969), Changes (1972), Rebel Rebel (1974), Young Americans (1975), Let’s Dance (1983), Jump They Say (1993), Everyone Says ‘Hi’ (2002), and Lazarus (2015). In a collaboration with Freddie Mercury and Queen he reached No. 1 in 1981 with Under Pressure.
Bowie was honored by Royal Mail of Great Britain in 2010 when his 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was selected for the 10-stamp Classic Album Covers set of 1st-class rate stamps (Scott 2726 and 2743).