David Bowie

On this date in 1947, music legend David Bowie was born David Robert Jones in London to Margaret Mary, a waitress, and Haywood Stenton Jones, a promotions officer. He was raised without religion. Though he dabbled in different religions throughout his life, he later described himself as a nonbeliever.

His interest in music was piqued when his father brought home 45s of early American rock and roll artists, including Elvis Presley, Fats Domino and Little Richard. He was also influenced by an older brother, Terry, who tragically committed suicide when Bowie was 38. He joined his first band at 15 and hopped from band to band until he found success as a solo performer in 1969 with the release of his album “Space Oddity.”

His career was marked by experimentation with genre and persona, although he was most frequently considered a glam rock artist. He’s famous for his alter ego Ziggy Stardust, a character from Mars who was Bowie’s own creative invention. Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, he continued to release hit singles, including “Star Man,” “Young Americans,” and “Changes.” He collaborated with British rock group Queen on the song “Under Pressure” in 1981, which reached the top of the charts in the UK.

Bowie married Angela Barnett, a model and actress born in Cyprus, in 1970. They had a son, Duncan, before divorcing in 1980. He married the supermodel Iman in 1992. Their daughter Alexandra was born in 2000. Bowie didn’t perform live after 2006 but continued to record music. He died in New York City of liver cancer, two days after turning 69. (D. 2016)

PHOTO: Bowie at the Metropolitan Opera opening night in New York City in 2006; photo by NYCArthur under CC 2.0.

Freedom From Religion Foundation