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David Bowie and the 1970s

"A meticulous and engaging insight into the golden years of one of pop's true innovators. For those who love Bowie - a must." (Mark Radcliffe)

"A fine song-by-song guide . . . an excellent cultural history . . . brilliant contextualisation . . . this rich and well researched book demands our attention" (David Buckley, Mojo)

"Superb" (Mark Ellen, The Word)

The Man Who Sold The World is Peter Doggett's detailed study of David Bowie's remarkable creative journey through the 1970s.

Across more than 400 pages, it covers every song, album and film that Bowie released between the writing of 'Space Oddity' in 1969, and his return to the iconic figure of Major Tom on the Scary Monsters album in 1980. (A lengthy appendix surveys Bowie's apprenticeship as a musician between 1963 and 1968.) Each song-by-song entry examines the musical and lyrical content, its biographical significance in Bowie's career, and the wider social and cultural background against which Bowie was working.

Alongside this forensic examination of the songs, The Man Who Sold The World offers brief but penetrating essays on the role that each of his albums from 1969 to 1980 occupied in his career, and on the major themes that obsessed him throughout the decade.

Mixing psychological insight with artistic critique and social analysis, The Man Who Sold The World explains why Bowie was the most significant popular artist of the 1970s, and how he was able to pursue a course of almost reckless creative experimentation throughout the decade.


INTRODUCTION: how David Bowie was able to reflect the culture of the 1970s more accurately and perceptively than any other artist

THE MAKING OF DAVID BOWIE: the story of Bowie's cultural and artistic development between 1947 and 1968, from his South London roots through his baptism in the world of advertising and marketing, to his frantic attempts to secure a role amidst the tumult of London's mid-60s pop scene

THE SONGS OF DAVID BOWIE 1969-1980: song-by-song analysis of every Bowie composition (and his major cover versions) between the composition of 'Space Oddity' and the completion of the Scary Monsters album. This section, which forms the heart of the book, examines almost 250 songs in detail, from global hit singles to obscurities such as 'How Lucky You Are' and 'I Am Divine', which enabled Bowie to experiment with highly effective changes of musical direction.

ESSAYS: a series of nearly 40 short studies of Bowie's albums, film projects and the major influences on his work during the 70s, placed strategically at the appropriate points of the song-by-song narrative. Subjects range from fashion to fascism and Expressionism to Minimalism.

AFTERWORD: Bowie's strange journey between 1980 and 2005, and how it reflects the massive changes in culture and the music business over the past thirty years

APPENDIX: a complete song-by-song guide to more than fifty songs written by Bowie between 1963 and 1968, from his first attempts at composition during the heart of Beatlemania to his final pre-fame attempts to reinvent himself as the British equivalent of Paul Simon.

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