Video:Profile of David Bowiewith Omar Saad
David Bowie is a legend of rock music who continuously reinvented his sound and honed his guitar-playing skills. Here is a profile of David Bowie and what he did with the guitar.See Transcript
Transcript:Profile of David Bowie
Hi I'm Omar Saad here for About.com and this is a guitar history profile of David Bowie. Appearing on the popular music scene of the tail end of the 1960s and exploding into superstardom in the '70s, David Bowie has continually reinvented his sound and style over a 40-year career, and pushed the boundaries of nearly all generes of popular music. Let's take a closer look.
Early History of David Bowie
David Bowie was born in London, England in 1947. During his teen years, in the 1960s, he bounced around from band to band, releasing several albums of blues based rock, all of which failed to generate any commercial success. It wasn't until 1969 that Bowie's work began receiving attention. Space Oddity, his first hit, possessed a futuristic feeling and subject matter, with an acoustic, almost folk guitar sound. Its originality began to separate Bowie from the mass blues-based rock typical of the era.
David Bowie's Sound Evolved During His Career
As it would throughout his career, Bowie's sound evolved with his next albums. 1970's The Man Who Sold the World featured a heavier, plugged-in electric sound. With Bowie playing rhythm guitar and Mick Ronson on lead, songs like "She Shook Me Cold" and "Black Country Rock" marked a departure from the acoustic, folk guitar sound of Bowie's earlier work. The birth of Bowie's glam rock sound can also be found here, with the fuzzy electric guitar sound evident throughout the album's tracks.
David Bowie Was a Pioneer of Glam Rock
As Bowie transitioned fully into the glam rock era with classic albums like The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and Aladdin Sane, the guitar sound of his music matched the audaciousness of his look. Songs like "Ziggy Stardust," "Suffragette City," "Rebel Rebel," and "The Jean Genie" feature Bowie and Ronson's amped up electric sound characterized by fuzzy guitars, a range of effects peddles, and a flashy style.
David Bowie's Shift to R&B-Style Music
Bowie's mid-seventies shift away from glam rock and into more of an R&B or Soul Music sound, marked a drastic shift in the guitar style of his music. He parted ways with Mick Ronson and shifted to a cleaner, more subtile guitar sound, partnering with Carlos Alomar. This shift would signal a progression for Bowie away from strictly guitar-based rock, beginning in the late 1970s. In the landscape of rock music history David Bowie was in some ways an answer to the norm of the day. His unmatched creativity and unique take on the sounds and styles that were becoming stale, helped keep rock music relevant and progressing as an artform.
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