David Bowie was born David Robert Jones in a low-rent section of London to a publicist father and a movie-theater usher mother on January 8, 1947. (EDITOR'S NOTE: David Bowie passed away on January 11, 2015 at the age of 69.) His parents did not marry until after David was born. When David was 12, his parents bought him a saxophone and he performed in a series of small-time groups while in high school. He learned to play guitar while a student at Bromley Technical High School, and was composing songs by the time he dropped out in 1964.
His first couple of bands achieved minimal success, some of the names included: Davie Jones and the King Bees, The Manish Boys, and The Lower Third. Frustrated with the groups lack of success, Davie Jones renamed himself David Bowie -- he wanted to avoid being confused with the lead singer of the Monkees. His first solo album The World of David Bowie (1967) generally escaped notice of any kind, and Bowie dropped out of the music scene altogether. He pondered Buddhism, acted in community theatre, and spent more that two years as a member of the Lindsay Kemp Mime Troupe.
During this time, Bowie met the girl he would marry in 1970, Angela Barnet, who convinced a friend at Mercury Records to listen to some of Bowies music. Bowie then found himself with his first U.K. Top 10 hit with 1969's "Space Oddity." After knowledge of the American moon landing, the album was released in the U.S. and the BBC even played it during coverage of the moon landing.
His next album The Man Who Sold the World (1970) raised many eyebrow's with the cover of Bowie in a dress, and because it failed to win a wide audience, Mercury parted ways with Bowie. RCA Records quickly signed Bowie and his next album Hunky Dory (1971) was released. During that same year, Angela, gave birth to their son: Zowie Duncan Heywood Bowie. Quickly after Hunky Dory came the album that made Bowie a legend: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972).