'I loathe disco' - David Bowie, a life in quotes
David Bowie died on January 10 2016 after suffering cancer for 18 months.
His final studio album, Blackstar had been released on 8 January 2016, his 69th birthday. Despite a reputation for being elusive, Bowie, who was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, London, has been candid in interviews. The quotes below are taken from a book called Bowie on Bowie, a fascinating collection of 50 interviews with the musician from 1969 to 2003.
I never kicked a football with my mates
"I've been the male equivalent of a dumb blonde for as few years, and I was beginning to despair of people accepting me for my music."
"I often regret not leading a more normal teenage life. From the time I was about 16, I never kicked a football over a common with my mates, I haven't had to chat up a girl like an ordinary teenager for ages and believe it or not I miss it."
NME, November 1969
I'm just a cosmic yob
"I'm just a cosmic yob, I suppose. I don't have to drag up. I've always worn my own style of clothes. I design them."
Melody Maker, January 1972
I let my imagination run wild
"I'm not convinced that I'm anybody's guru. . . I have a great imagination. I'm not a vegetable. I let my imagination run wild."
"I admire Frank Zappa but I prefer Charles Mingus. I was into that kind of jazz."
NME, July 1972
I really adored John Lennon's use of the pun
"The one thing I really adored about John Lennon's writing was his use of the pun, which was exceedingly good. I played on it more; Lennon would throw it away in one line. I tend to build a song upon it. I treat my puns a lot more seriously."
NME, January 1973
I didn't have any faith in my voice
"I'd really like to be recognised as a singer. I'd love that. I didn't have any sort of faith in my voice. Maybe I just want to be a crooner."
Melody Maker, September 1974
The look in the fan's eyes was real scary
In this interview, Bruce Springsteen is with Bowie. Springsteen recalls when a fan jumped up on stage and threw his arms around him, giving him a "tremendous electric shock from the guitar". In response, Bowie tells him about the time, "A guy jumped up on stage and the look in his eyes was that he was gone. Real scary. . . he was holding a brick in his hand."
The Drummer, November 1974
There's too much ego involved
"There are still so many people on an immortality kick . . . what are we after exactly? There's just too much ego involved. And who wants to drag their old, decaying frame around until they're 90. Just to assert their ego? I don't certainly."
Melody Maker, October 1977
I loathe disco
"I'm not a big fan of disco. I loathe it. I really get so embarrassed that my records do so well in discos."
ZigZag, January 1978
Just a Gigolo was real cack
"The film Just a Gigolo was a cack, a real cack. Everybody who was involved in that film – when they meet each other now, they look away."
NME, September 1980
I took a travelling library on tour
"This is very funny. When I went to see Nick Roeg for the film The Man Who Fell To Earth, I took with me hundreds and hundreds of books. It was one of those things where I was quite awful. I had these cabinets – you're quite right it was a travelling library – and they were rather like the boxes that amplifiers get packed up in. . . because of that period, I have an extraordinarily good collection of books."
The Face, May 1993
I love my own stuff
"I've made some fabulous albums. I've got to be honest. I love it. I love my stuff. And I get so shit-headed and angry when I hear stuff that I haven't done my utmost on."
Q, June 1989
I feel like a very social animal these days
"These days more than ever I feel like a very social animal, which I wasn't at one time . . . sometimes I'm so happy I depress people."
Telegraph Magazine, with Mick Brown, December 1996
I adore music on the edge
"What I really adore about music, is the stuff that starts on the edge."
Mr Showbiz, March 1997
My work is more existential than nihilist
"My work is more existential than nihilist. I've always felt comfortable with writers like Camus. But people would read that as being so negative. And it wasn't! It just made absolute sense what he had to say."
Soma, July 2003