Quotes by David Bowie
Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by David Bowie. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.
Wikipedia Summary for David Bowie
David Robert Jones OAL (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie ( BOH-ee), was an English singer-songwriter and actor. A leading figure in the music industry, Bowie is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. He was acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, with his music and stagecraft having a significant impact on popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at over 100 million records worldwide, made him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In the UK, he was awarded ten platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and released eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and nine gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Rolling Stone placed him among its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and named him the "Greatest Rock Star Ever" following his death in 2016.
Born in Brixton, South London, Bowie developed an interest in music as a child. He studied art, music and design before embarking on a professional career as a musician in 1963. "Space Oddity", released in 1969, was his first top-five entry on the UK Singles Chart. After a period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with his flamboyant and androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The character was spearheaded by the success of Bowie's single "Starman" and album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which won him widespread popularity. In 1975, Bowie's style shifted towards a sound he characterised as "plastic soul", initially alienating many of his UK fans but garnering him his first major US crossover success with the number-one single "Fame" and the album Young Americans. In 1976, Bowie starred in the cult film The Man Who Fell to Earth, directed by Nicolas Roeg, and released Station to Station. In 1977, he further confounded expectations with the electronic-inflected album Low, the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno that came to be known as the "Berlin Trilogy". "Heroes" (1977) and Lodger (1979) followed; each album reached the UK top five and received lasting critical praise.
After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single "Ashes to Ashes", its album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), and "Under Pressure", a 1981 collaboration with Queen. He reached his commercial peak in 1983 with Let's Dance; its title track topped both the UK and US charts. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including industrial and jungle. He also continued acting; his roles included Major Jack Celliers in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), Jareth the Goblin King in Labyrinth (1986), Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (2006), among other film and television appearances and cameos. He stopped touring after 2004 and his last live performance was at a charity event in 2006. In 2013, Bowie returned from a decade-long recording hiatus with The Next Day. He remained musically active until his death of liver cancer at his home in New York City, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of his final album, Blackstar (2016).
Though I've passed 316 yards there's still two games to go If I want to make it to the Super Bowl And show everyone on Earth how to Tebow.
I'm not actually a very keen performer. I like putting shows together. I like putting events together. In fact, everything I do is about the conceptualizing and realization of a piece of work, whether it's the recording or the performance side.
I'm wallowing in the whole idea of just being a guy out there with a band, with songs. It's a real enjoyment.
Things have to hit for the moment. That's one of the reasons I'm into video; the image has to hit immediately. I adore video and the whole cutting up of it.
I spent so much time in my bedroom. It really was my entire world. I had books up there, my music up there, my record player. Going from my world upstairs out onto the street, I had to pass through this no-man's-land of the living room, you know, and out the front hall.
For me a chameleon is something that disguises itself to look as much like its environment as possible. I always thought I did exactly the opposite of that.
People got extremely comfortable with being able to turn on their television and see MTV say, This guy's hot you should buy this record.
There seem to be a lot of black artists making very good videos that I'm surprised aren't being used on MTV.
I guess, -- a greater number of the 26 or so albums that I've made are known in Europe than they are in America.
If I wasn't going through a thing where I was also being my characters offstage, uh, I'm much happier just wearing the most low-profile things that I can come up with just so I can get down the street.
I think that the history of rock could be recycled in a different way and brought back into focus without the luggage that comes along with it.
There's a thing that just as you go to sleep, if you keep your elbows elevated that you will never go below the dream stage. And I've used that quite a lot and it keeps me dreaming much longer than if I just relaxed.
TV has eaten up everything else, and Warhol films are all that are left, which is fabulous. Pork could become the next I Love Lucy, the great American domestic comedy. It's about how people really live, not like Lucy, who never touched dishwater. It's about people living and hustling to survive.
Rather than really have, like a close relationship to anything that's coming out today, people are just, they've got it on as background music. It's kind of the same way the cabdrivers use music; it's very disposable.
It's true -- I am a bisexual. But I can't deny that I've used that fact very well. I suppose it's the best thing that ever happened to me.
I'm wary of the word glam because I think that became the all-inclusive term with for any bloke with lipstick on, which is fine, you know, and that's what it is when it comes down to the public level.
I have to take total control myself. I can't let anybody else do anything, for I find that I can do things better for me. I don't want to get other people playing with what they think that I'm trying to do.
If I put faith in medication, if I can smile a crooked smile, if I can talk on television, if I can walk an empty mile.
I'm bemused by the whole Robbie Williams aspect of British pop. Posh Spice? It all looks like cruise ship entertainment to me.
The truest form of any form of revolutionary left, whatever you want to call it, was Jack Kerouac, E.E. Cummings, and Allan Ginsberg's period. Excuse me but that was where it was at. The hippies, I'm afraid, don't know what's happening.
To be taken seriously about doing something creative and probably travel a lot. That was my motivation. I knew I was good, I knew I could write. I also knew you could get laid really easily.
I wanted to imbue Ziggy with real flesh and blood and muscle, and it was imperative that I find Ziggy and be him.
I haven't changed my views much since I was about 12, really, I've just got a 12-year-old mentality.When I was in school I had a brother who was into Kerouac and he gave me On The Road to read when I was 12 years old. That's still been a big influence.
The world that I inhabit in reality is probably very different world than the one people expect that I would be in. It is quite sedate. It's far removed from a lot of what they would feel to be the limousine traveling rock existence, or whatever.
Look up here, I'm in heaven
I've got scars that can't be seen
I've got drama, can't be stolen
Everybody knows me now
There's something about the style of living in the country that they feel, This is what represents me. So style is about the philosophy of how we create our civilization.
Am I Machiavellian? I don't think I'm quite the mastermind people would have me be. Everything I do tends to be very successful and it may have something to do with the fact that I'm very good, not necessarily that I manipulate. But that doesn't often occur to people.
I'm not sure that an art career would have any benefit for me; I'm not sure it's what I want. I don't think I want to be a designer-rock artist.
I really believe that Bob Dylan and others have speeded up the changes. Pacifism has found a voice at last.
I hate albums that are really happy. When I am really happy, I don't like to hear happy albums, and when I am really sad I don't wanna hear happy albums... and I tend to gravitate towards the lonely and isolated anyway when I write.
There was a time in America not long ago when rock 'n' roll was called race music, and white kids who wanted to go see Chuck Berry were completely forbidden.
It's not the side-effects of the cocaine -- I'm thinking that it must be love. It's too late to be grateful, It's too late to be hateful, It's too late to be late again, The European cannon is here.
David Bowie emerged as a rock star in the late '60s. And as Ken Tucker wrote, In the face of the hippy era's sincerity, intimacy and generosity, Bowie presented irony, distance and self-absorption. His song 'Changes' announced the arrival of a new counterculture, unquote.
He says he's a beautician and sells you nutrition, and keeps all your dead hair for making underwear.
I think everything that I learned about stagecraft and carrying through -- creating a through point for a theatrical device.
You should turn around at the end of the day and say I really like that piece of work, or that piece of work sucked. Not, was that popular or wasn't it popular?
People don't get a chance to think, Why am I a consumer? Because the decisions come at them so fast and furiously, they're not even given time to think, I am a consumer.
I'm regarded quite asexually by a lot of people. And the people that understand me the best are nearer to what I understand about me.
I find it easier to write in these little vignettes; if I try to get any more heavy, I find myself out of my league.
I was always accused of being cold and unfeeling. It was because I was intimidated about touching people.
We slit the Catholic throat, stoned the poor on such slogans as wish you could hear and love is all we need.
I went to a middle-class school, but my background is working class. I got the best of both worlds, I saw both classes, so I have a pretty fair idea of how people live and why they do it.
I think Lindsay Kemp really introduced me to the work of Jean Genet, and through that, I kind of kept re-educating myself about other prose writers and poets.
Hear this Robert Zimmerman, I wrote a song for you, about a strange young man called Dylan with a voice like sand and glue.
I'm really quite bipolar, and the depressed times, when everything felt like night, sometimes you get to such a low point that you physically beat at it until it bleeds -- as you would say -- bleeds till sunshine.
All art is unstable. Its meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author. There is no authoritative voice. There are only multiple readings.
I think the first song I ever wrote ... was called Can't Help Thinking About Me. That's an illuminating little piece, isn't it?
In order to look special wearing the chancy unique; it must be worn with your persona, and if the two don't blend, then the look becomes pear-shaped.
I think that we have created a new kind of person in a way. We have created a child who will be so exposed to the media that he will be lost to his parents by the time he is 12.
There were lots of nightly relationships. But the reason you don't want to make a commitment is not that you're such a freewheeling, adventurous person, it's because you're scared shitless that it will turn out like your mother and father.
I have found myself deeply, deeply intrigued by the ska-punk scene. It's such an expressive form of popular music, it's so real, it's got so much life: it's the most vital music in the world.
Trying to tart the rock business up a bit is getting nearer to what the kids themselves are like, because what I find, if you want to talk in the terms of rock, a lot depends on sensationalism and the kids are a lot more sensational than the stars themselves.
I thought that I could do some kind of vehicle involving rock musicals and presenting rock and characters and storyline in a completely different fashion.
I don't like talk and I don't like talkers. Like Ma Barker. That's what she always said, 'Ma Barker doesn't like talk and she doesn't like talkers.' She just sat there with her gun.
It's a compulsive need to wreck everything. You might notice there's a pattern of stripping down and building back up again throughout my life. But I guess that's how some of us conduct our lives.
The name Bowie just appealed to me when I was younger. I was into a kind of heavy philosophy thing when I was 16 years old, and I wanted a truism about cutting through the lies and all that.
I'm an early riser. I get up between five and six, have coffee, and read for a couple of hours before everyone else gets up.
There's a starman waiting in the sky, he'd like to come and meet us, but he thinks he'd blow our minds.
It took me a long time to reach the bottom and it went through various stages. I went from drugs into an alcohol stage. For a while, one feels, Ah, I've kicked drugs, but what I discovered was I had another addiction instead.
Rebel, rebel, you've torn your dress. Rebel, rebel, your face is a mess. Rebel, rebel, how could they know? Hot tramp, I love you so.
I surrounded myself with people who indulged my ego. They treated me as though I was Ziggy Stardust or one of my characters, never realising that David Jones might be behind it.
I had enormous self-image problems and very low self-esteem, which I hid behind obsessive writing and performing. It's exactly what I do now, except I enjoy it now. I'm not driven like I was in my twenties. I was driven to get through life very quickly.
I think music should be tarted up, made into a prostitute, a parody of itself. It should be the clown, the Pierrot medium.
And it's always the same kind of artist, I think, who has more enjoyment being slightly on the outside of things, who doesn't want to be sucked into the tyranny of the mainstream. Because once you get sucked into that, you're dead as an artist.
I am a moderately good singer. I am not a great singer but I can interpret a song, which I don't think is quite the same as singing it.
Style is about the choices you make to create the aspects of civilization that you wish to uphold.
Style is about the choices you make to create the aspects of civilization that you wish to uphold. I will buy a chair for my house. What style of chair are you gonna buy? Everything we look at and choose is some way of expressing how we want to be perceived. I mean, why bother choosing a chair because it looks a certain way? Because there's gonna be something about that chair that says something about you.
For here, I'm sitting in a tin can, far above the world. Planet earth is blue, and there is nothing I can do.
I don't make changes to confuse anyone. I'm just searching. That's what causes me to change. I'm just searching for myself.
David Thomas: What do you think is the worst crime that could possibly be committed? What is the crime that offends you most?
David Bowie: Seeing a man humble himself in his capacity as a worker to somebody else, and having to have that accepted as a given situation.
Look out my window, what do I see?
A crack in the sky and a hand reaching down to me.
All the nightmares came today
And it looks as though they're here to stay.
Keep your 'lectric eye on me babe
Put your ray gun to my head
Press your space face close to mine, love
Freak out in a moonage daydream, oh yeah!
My particular thing is discovering what can be done with media and how it can be used. You can't draw people together like one big huge family, people don't want that. They want isolation or a tribal thing.
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations.
They're quite aware of what they're going through.
Don't you love the Oxford Dictionary? When I first read it, I thought it was a really really long poem about everything.
I just put drugs down to luck. I persevere quite honestly, and I've got a fair amount of discipline that keeps me out of deep water.
There, in the chords and melodies, is everything I want to say. The words just jolly it along. It's always been my way of expressing what for me is inexpressible by any other means.
The Americans at heart are a pure and noble people; things to them are in black and white. It's either 'rawk' or it's not. We Brits putter around in the grey area.
The skin of my character in 'The Man Who Fell to Earth' was some concoction, a spermatozoon of an alien nature that was obscene and weird-looking.
I cannot with any real integrity perform songs I've done for 25 years. I don't need the money. What I need is to feel that I am not letting myself down as an artist and that I still have something to contribute.
Dance music is no longer a simple Donna Summer beat. It's become a whole language that I find fascinating and exciting. Eventually, it will lose the dance tag and join the fore of rock.
I don't have a problem with ageing -- in fact, I embrace that aspect of it. And am able to and obviously am going to be able to quite easily... it doesn't faze me at all.
Frankly, if I could get away with not having to perform, I'd be very happy. It's not my favorite thing to do.
Art was, seriously, the only thing I'd ever wanted to own. It has always been for me a stable nourishment. I use it. It can change the way that I feel in the mornings.
I have all the admiration in the world for somebody like Bono, who really puts himself on the line and tries actively to do something about our world situation.
I couldn't have written things like 'Low' and 'Heroes,' those particular albums, if it hadn't have been for Berlin and the kind of atmosphere I felt there.
I thought that I wrote songs and wrote music, and that was sort of what I thought I was best at doing. And because nobody else was ever doing my songs, I felt -- you know, I had to go out and do them.
Once I've written something it does tend to run away from me. I don't seem to have any part of it -- it's no longer my piece of writing.
Since the departure of good old-fashioned entertainers the re-emergence of somebody who wants to be an entertainer has unfortunately become a synonym for camp. I don't think I'm camper than any other person who felt at home on stage, and felt more at home on stage than he did offstage.
I don't have stylistic loyalty. That's why people perceive me changing all the time. But there is a real continuity in my subject matter. As an artist of artifice, I do believe I have more integrity than any one of my contemporaries.
There are half a dozen subjects that I return to time and time again, and that doesn't bother me. Because most of my favorite writers do that, to hunt down the same topic or theme from different directions each time.
I think it all comes back to being very selfish as an artist. I mean, I really do just write and record what interests me and I do approach the stage shows in much the same way.
But I've got to think of myself as the luckiest guy. Robert Johnson only had one album's worth of work as his legacy. That's all that life allowed him.
When it comes down to it, glam rock was all very amusing. At the time, it was funny, then a few years later it became sort of serious-looking and a bit foreboding.
I never thought I would be such a family-oriented guy; I didn't think that was part of my makeup. But somebody said that as you get older, you become the person you always should have been, and I feel that's happening to me.
Being a hybrid maker off and on over the years, I'm very comfortable with the idea and have been the subject of quite a few pretty good mash-ups myself.
I guess, taking away all the theatrics or the costuming and the outer layers of what I do, I'm a writer... I write.
Questioning my spiritual life has always been germane to what I was writing. Always. It's because I'm not quite an atheist and it worries me. There's that little bit that holds on: 'Well, I'm almost an atheist. Give me a couple of months.'
And I saw the sax line-up that he had behind him and I thought, I'm going to learn the saxophone. When I grow up, I'm going to play in his band. So I sort of persuaded my dad to get me a kind of a plastic saxophone on the hire purchase plan.
I could imagine at a certain age, when I have no vocal cords left, that I would find a young man who could sing my parts for me. But I don't see why I would stop.
My mother was Catholic, my father was Protestant. There was always a debate going on at home -- I think in those days we called them arguments -- about who was right and who was wrong.
I think Mick Jagger would be astounded and amazed if he realized that to many people he is not a sex symbol, but a mother image.
I feel confident imposing change on myself. It's a lot more fun progressing than looking back. That's why I need to throw curve balls.
It amazes me sometimes that even intelligent people will analyze a situation or make a judgement after only recognizing the standard or traditional structure of a piece.
I still derive immense pleasure from remembering how many hod-carrying brickies were encouraged to put on lurex tights and mince up and down the high street, having been assured by know-it-alls like me that a smidgen of blusher really attracted the birds.
Frankly, I mean, sometimes the interpretations I've seen on some of the songs that I've written are a lot more interesting than the input that I put in.
Anxiety and spiritual searching have been consistent themes with me, and that figures into my worldview. But I tend to make my songs sound like relationship songs.
I'm rather kind of old school, thinking that when an artist does his work, it's no longer his... I just see what people make of it.
Glam really did plant seeds for a new identity. I think a lot of kids needed that -- that sense of reinvention. Kids learned that however crazy you may think it is, there is a place for what you want to do and who you want to be.
The humanists' replacement for religion: work really hard and somehow you'll either save yourself or you'll be immortal. Of course, that's a total joke, and our progress is nothing. There may be progress in technology but there's no ethical progress whatsoever.
I suppose for me as an artist it wasn't always just about expressing my work; I really wanted, more than anything else, to contribute in some way to the culture that I was living in. It just seemed like a challenge to move it a little bit towards the way I thought it might be interesting to go.
I've started doing book reviews for Barnes and Noble! They saw that I did a lot of book reviews on the site, and they figured that it might not be a bad thing if they got me to do some for them as well. I gave them five categories I'd be interested in reviewing, from art to fiction to music.
Confront a corpse at least once. The absolute absence of life is the most disturbing and challenging confrontation you will ever have.
I felt I really wanted to back off from music completely and just work within the visual arts in some way. I started painting quite passionately at that time.