Before Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke; before Bowie was even Bowie; there was David Jones, a Mod.
Today is David Bowie's 69th birthday and also see's the release of his staggeringly impressive 28th studio album 'Blackstar'. The video for 'Lazarus' (the second single from the new LP) was also released yesterday, which you can watch below.
In commemoration we take a look back at the beginning of the icons 50+ year career, to London in the early 60's.
Even back then Bowie was renowned for his style, at school he started a trend of tapered leg trousers and used to use food colouring to dye his hair. At 17 he had his first TV appearance on BBC2’s ‘Tonight’ as part of the ‘Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Men with Long Hair’.
Often forgotten, occasionally denied, and seriously underrated, Bowie's musical output pre Space Oddity (1969) has some real gems. Similar to the early outputs of bands like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles he covered R&B staples with his bands The Konrads, The King Bees, The Riot Squad, and The Lower Third.
By the mid 60s Bowie was dissatisfied with his stage name (Davy or Davie Jones) as it often caused confusion with Davy Jones of The Monkees, who were becoming very popular at that time. So he renamed himself after the 19th-century American frontiersman Jim Bowie.
In 1966 the single 'Rubber Band' was released, it's b-side called 'The London Boys' was written about Bowie's experiences in the London Mod scene. (You can find it on youtube). In 2000, Bowie re-recorded it, along with many of his other earlier songs for the unreleased album 'Toy.'
In 1967 Bowie released his first eponymous full length LP under the monikor David Bowie, it was an mixture of pop, psychedelia and music hall.
Bowie also paid homage to his Mod roots in 1973 by releasing 'Pin Ups', an album of covers by bands such as The Who, The Kinks & The Pretty Things.
Let's have a listen to David Bowie's first release (as Davie Jones & The King Bees) 'Liza Jane'...
... and compare it too his latest single 'Lazarus', the second release from his new album.