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Backstage Passes: Life on the Wild Side with David Bowie Paperback – August 8, 2000

3.2 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Neither coy nor restrained, and freed of a time-limited divorce-settlement clause that forbade her to discuss her marriage, the former Mrs. David Bowie describes in no uncertain terms the torrid "open marriage" she shared with the singer known as the Thin White Duke. The couple met in 1968, married in 1970, and were estranged long before their 1980 divorce. Here, Angela Bowie (nee Barnett, an American citizen born in Greece), with assistance from freelance journalist Carr, proudly affirms her bisexuality as well as that of her "dear ex-husband," and describes with considerable relish their dalliances with sundry gender-benders of the glitterati. Sex and drugs far outweigh the rock 'n' roll: this is the book to read for details about David Bowie in bed with Mick Jagger; for the sexual scoop on Rod Stewart, Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull and numerous now-deceased performers. There are even some possibly supernatural phenomena. With its smutty anecdotes and barbed remarks about music-industry folk of the 1970s, this portrait may be ugly at times, but it's never dull. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC featured alternate.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Neither coy nor restrained...the former Mrs. David Bowie describes in no uncertain terms the torrid 'open marriage' she shared with the singer known as the Thin White Duke....This is the book to read for details about David Bowie in bed with McJagger; for the sexual scoop on Tod Stewart, Lou Teed, Marianne Faithfull, and numerous other performers....With its abecdotes and vbarbed remarks about music-industry fold of the 1970s, this portrait is never dull. (Publishers Weekly)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Cooper Square Press; First Edition Thus edition (August 8, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815410018
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815410010
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #725,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ya know, you have to take this book with a grain of salt. She is his ex-wife after all. But aside from the occasional "And did I mention this embarrasing sexual problem David has" and the long list of "But look at all the people who wanted to sleep with me!", this was a highly entertaining book. It was well written and witty. Who knows how many of the stories are true, although I have read other Bowie biographies and can confirm from other sources that a good many of them are. Also, it's nice to get the point of view of someone who was so close to it all. Go ahead and read this book. I recommend reading it in conjunction with a very thoroughly researched "Alias David Bowie" or some other such biography in addition. But this really was an enjoyable book. I intend to make several of my friends read it, just for pleasure although they have no particular interest in Bowie. It's just a fun read.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a David Bowie fan, and because of that, I became interested in this book. When I read this book, I couldn't put it down. Angela Bowie says it all, from the sweet begining of their relationship to the bitter downfall of their marriage. It's a very funny and twisted tale, but it's very strange. The book is mostly about her rather than David and I thought that was kind of interesting. What is also interesting is the fact that she also mentions other famous names in rock and roll like Mick Jagger, Keith Moon, as well as others. On the other hand, I honestly didn't believe in half of the things she said in this book. So therefore, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves music and gossip. David Bowie fans might also be interested as well. : )
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Format: Paperback
Why do some reviewers care whether Angela Bowie is "bitter?" Does she seem a little bitter? Yes, frequently. Um ... So?

Great stories in this book (my fave involves Led Zeppelin, who come across as average, rather loveable drunks), with an attempt by Bowie to exorcise a demon from a swimming pool running a close second.

A really enjoyable read ... A friend who's met Angela tells me she seemed kind of crazy, but I'd have to say she comes across as a very hurt, somewhat bitter person who also has a few cogent things to say. Take her with a grain of salt.

And all you people working so hard to knock this poor woman ... an average human who probably did indeed have an impact on Bowie's career, in the same way all magical things combine in places and in times to create a special chemistry -- what, are you secretly jealous you didn't marry Bowie or something? Let's hear it for pulling hair. Meow.

Geez
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Format: Paperback
The tell-all autobiographies of disgruntled ex-spouses/paramours are among the most annoying books on the rock world. Angela Bowie's "Backstage Passes: Life on the Wild Side With David Bowie" aspires to be witty and caustic, but ends up merely sounding bitter, without revealing anything really worth knowing.
Bowie describes how she arrived on the music scene of the 1960s and met the budding singer David Bowie. After a very unconventional relationship, they married (he proposed by asking if she could deal with the fact that "I don't love you"?) into an open, bisexual union. A child, several albums and a drug addiction later, they split.
A gag order was part of the divorce settlement between Angela Bowie and her ex husband; this book was published once the order ran out. Alas, there really isn't anything to justify the order. She is bitter -- nobody could mistake that. But aside from intimate rashes and lack of sexual prowess, she really has nothing too grubby to say about David Bowie. Bowie apparently contents herself with acid-flecked comments whenever she can manage it. There are jilted ladies of the rock world (Marianne Faithfull, Bebe Buell) who handle themselves with decorum, but apparently Bowie doesn't want to.
The problem with Angela Bowie is that, like many paramours of rock stars, she assumes that she's a lot more interesting than she actually is. Her life is detailed, but not terribly interesting. What's worse, there's little contact with the intriguing people in the rock world. There's a spattering of stars like Mick Jagger who make real appearances (okay, we know Mick is a "billy goat" -- next shocking revelation!) and Michael Jackson, and others like Marianne Faithfull and John Lennon are mentioned but never really shown.
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Format: Paperback
Yes I did love reading this book, and I found it very hard to put it down, but it was not the definitive guide to Mr. Bowie's life that I hoped it would be. I love to read about the musicians that inspire me, and to learn about what was going on in their personal lives when they were making brilliant art, so I thought that by reading a book by someone who was so close to one of my heroes, that she was actually married to him, that it could give me some insights about Mr. Bowie's life, during that time, which other biographies could not. But in the end, I gained more insight into what was going on in Angie's life during their marriage, which was actually quite a separate existence from his life, especially since there were lots of times when they weren't even living in the same place. I guess I shouldn't complain too much because it is a biography about her life as well, but there is often not enough emphasis on what was going on with his life, and the reason for this is because she doesn't seem to know.

I knew that the book probably wouldn't shed any light on his life after the '70s, since him and Angie were divorced by then, but I was surprised by the fact that it hardly gave me any info on his life in the latter half of the '70s. If you want to know what was going on in Bowie's personal life while he was making such innovative albums as Station To Station, Low, Heroes, and Lodger, you are not going to learn it here. She breezes through the mid-late '70s rather quickly, and it seems as if during that time she barely even saw him. Their divorce was finalized in 1980, but their marriage was over long before that.
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