David Bowie | Penguin Random House Canada

David Bowie

A Life

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Dylan Jones's engrossing, magisterial biography of David Bowie is unlike any Bowie story ever written. Drawn from over 180 interviews with friends, rivals, lovers and collaborators, some of whom have never before spoken about their relationship with Bowie, this oral history weaves a hypnotic spell as it unfolds the story of a remarkable rise to stardom and an unparalleled artistic path. Tracing Bowie's life from the English suburbs to London to New York to Los Angeles, Berlin and beyond, its collective voices describe a man profoundly shaped by his relationship with his schizophrenic half-brother Terry; an intuitive artist who could absorb influences through intense relationships and yet drop people cold when they were no longer of use; and a social creature equally comfortable partying with John Lennon and dining with Frank Sinatra. By turns insightful and deliciously gossipy, David Bowie is as intimate a portrait as may ever be drawn. It sparks with admiration and grievances, lust and envy, as the speakers bring you into studios and bedrooms they shared with Bowie, and onto stages and film sets, opening corners of his mind and experience that transform our understanding of both artist and art. Including illuminating, never-before-seen material from Bowie himself, drawn from a series of Jones's interviews with him across two decades, David Bowie is an epic, unforgettable cocktail-party conversation about a man whose enigmatic shapeshifting and irrepressible creativity produced one of the most sprawling, fascinating lives of our time.


A Guardian (UK) Best Music Book of 2017

"A welcome surprise of David Bowie: A Life is its strength on the essential subject of music making. There are multiple accounts of the speed and professionalism of Bowie's work in the recording studio, and an illuminating explanation of his cut-and-paste method of writing lyrics—a system for sustaining the elusiveness at the heart of Bowie's songs that has something in common with the way this fragmentary, disjointed oral history is constructed. . . . [David Bowie: A Life] suits its subject perfectly." —New York Times Book Review

"The least self-indulgent and most informative of the many books published since [Bowie's] death last year. Via interviews with 180 friends, colleagues, lovers and others, Jones constructs an oral-history mosaic that will engage even those whose lives were not changed by the appearance of Ziggy Stardust on Top of the Pops in 1972." —The Guardian (UK)

"Of all the volumes to appear since Bowie's death last year, this is perhaps the most useful: an oral history that brings together the most incisive reminiscences and memorials. The fragmentary nature of the narrative means you can collaborate on creating your own Bowie from the pieces—and that seems entirely fitting." —Evening Standard (UK)

"There have been many books about David Bowie, both before and after his death, but GQ editor Dylan Jones's is among the best, as well as the most revelatory. . . . [Jones] skilfully teases out hitherto unknown facts and details. . . . For any admirer of the great man, there is a smorgasbord of new information, mixed with well-judged analysis. But even for agnostics, there is no denying Jones's flair and dedication in giving his hero the most comprehensive of eulogies." —The Observer (UK)

"David Bowie: A Life is, on the whole, a total blam-bam. Mostly it's the excitement of picturing Bowie's mind at work." —San Francisco Chronicle

"A funny, enlightening, gossipy, sometimes tough read." —The Sunday Herald (UK)

"A labour of love with many vivid voices and fresh insights." —Jon Savage, author of England's Dreaming and Teenage

"What a story—no screenwriter could have made it up. Dylan Jones tells the epic tale of how David Bowie turned the world upside down, from his early scuffling London days to his rock-and-roll golden years—a starman who kept reimagining himself and his art in ways that transformed our whole culture." —Rob Sheffield, author of Love Is a Mix Tape and On Bowie

"Dylan Jones elevates the art of oral biography to a cinematic level. Scene by scene, this is the movie of David Bowie's life." —Robert Greenfield, author of S.T.P: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones

"Capturing the kaleidoscopic range of David Bowie's life and work seems like an impossible task. But through more than 150 interviews spanning the entirety of Bowie's extraordinary time on Earth, Dylan Jones thoroughly and seamlessly conveys the creativity, curiosity and velocity of a visionary who transformed the very possibilities of pop music." —Alan Light, author of The Holy and the Broken and Let's Go Crazy