While there has been something of a deluge of Bowie book’s since the singer’s passing, there are some gems out there for the discerning fan.
Among them this new offering from BBC World Service presenter and reporter Tom Hagler, with consultant editor and Bowie producer Tony Visconti, offers some vibrant and humorous insight.
What makes the book such an attractive option is that you can easily dip in to any point on Bowie’s timeline and read about the artists inspiring him or what encounters he was having at that moment. For many the shift from LA to Berlin remains a point of fascination, a major catalyst in the move was novelist Christopher Isherwood.
Bowie lived within walking distance to his former apartment around the same time that he procured the desk of Nazi propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. Bowie admitted to being “out of his gaud” in the mid 70s, while earlier chapters deal with his interest in the occult.
There’s a more redemptive spirit around the chapters covering his years in Berlin and Switzerland spanning 1977-81. The mutual respect with Kraftwerk leads to plans to work together, it’s the same with Neu! but nothing materialises for reasons discussed in the book.
A planned session with Edgar Froese from Tangerine Dream is another collaboration that never reaches fruition. Another electronic pioneer that doesn’t work with Bowie in the end is Conny Plank, the common denominator seems to be Bowie’s drug problems. All of them would rub off on Bowie’s experimental masterpiece Low in one way or another.
One collaboration that also nearly didn’t happen was the recording of Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy with Bing Crosby. Broadcast in the U.K on Christmas Eve as part of Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas it would soon become a Christmas classic.
Even the most well informed Bowie reader will find something new here. As we approach what would have been his 75th birthday, many a Bowie fan will enjoy this absorbing portrait.