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Strange Fascination: David Bowie: The Definitive Story Paperback – March 9, 2010

3.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Review

One of the most authoritative Bowie books you're ever likely to read -- Mojo

About the Author

David Buckley wrote a doctoral thesis on David Bowie and also wrote a CD-sized introductory guide to Bowie's back catalogue, The Complete Guide to the Music of David Bowie which was repackaged at Bowie's request as part of the media pack accompanying the star's 1995 album Earthling.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books; Rev Upd edition (2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753510022
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753510025
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.5 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Tackling the subject of Bowie is a tall order and not easily accomplished simply because there is so much to consider. One major failing of most treatments of Bowie's career is the annoying tendency to behave as if he arrived on the scene fully formed when in reality Bowie learned and appropriated lots of stuff from other performers, artists, and producers as he ascended to pop icon status. Buckley's book helps make this point in a way that is respectful and acknowledges Bowie's ability to do extraordinary things with those influences.

The feedback provided by associates Tony Visconti, Carlos Alomar, and Ken Pitt take us through the times when Bowie was a bit green and quite obviously searching for a direction. Some people don't like to see their hero de-constructed like this though it is quite fascinating and instructional. For example some of the new or younger fans might not appreciate how Bowie's voice changed from the screechy Anthony Newly sound to the rich Scott Walker-like baritone he cultivated in time for the Diamond Dogs tour and pretty much kept developing even till now. Or how Tony Defries masterfully manipulated Bowie during his rise to fame. Just reading about the complexities and excesses of the Diamond Dogs tour brings back vivid memories of that time.

So for those of us who were around then this is engaging reading though I could see how someone who first picked up on Bowie during the Let's Dance era might find some of this tedious. However I assure you that it is indeed important to examine if you want to better understand how Bowie got to be who he is.

Biographies of major rock stars seldom please everyone so its always a good idea to balance it out by reading several books or doing your own research.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I had already written a review when this book's first edition was published. It is still there on the respective page. But I have to post an updated version here because, in my opinion, the other reviews on this new edition do not do this book justice.

I'm 54 now and have been a Bowie fan for 41 years. I began reading books about Bowie in the 80's. I have read most of the major books written about him. As a long-time fan and an avid reader of Bowie-related books, I assure you: this is the best Bowie biography ever published. The only drawback is that his pre-1969 years are described rather superficiously. But once you get to "Space Oddity", you realize you're reading a worthy tome by a knowledgeable writer. Buckley is a long-time Bowie fan and he got to interview key people in David's career, most of whom were still associated with the singer at the time of writing (unlike other biographies, where only former associates are heard). But unlike some fans you may have met, Buckley has a critical, non-biased view of Bowie's life. While most biographers concentrate on secondary aspects and anecdotes, Buckley hits the nail on the head and takes you right through the spinal cord of David's career. Whether you're a diehard Bowie fan or a newcomer looking for information, this book is for you!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The ISBN 10 matches with the 2005 UK edition of this book, NOT the 2010 International edition. If you must have the 2010 edition keep looking because this is NOT it. Otherwise, this is the most thorough biography of "Bowie, the musician" that you can find. While I don't agree with everything in it, as they are in some part a matter of opinion, it is very well written and celebrates Bowie's work in a way that most of the other bios about him don't.
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Format: Paperback
Sure, read it until the very end, because...
It is there that Buckley stops acting like a critic and finally shows how much Bowie means to him. I forgave him after his last words. The best features of the book are the quotes from the many interviews with some of Bowie's closest, long-time collaborators, especially his guitarists, on the creative process onstage and in the studio. Their insight is really important, because it puts in front of your eyes the different kind of musician mental attitudes: hit maker, genius, rock, generalist, actor, "let's play the hits" VS "let's make something different". and how they sometimes combine, or sometimes evolve in other kinds of magic, or leave something that might see the light of day, some years later.
As a hard core Bowie fan - although I never reached the extreme behaviors discussed in the book (gawd) I felt that, for the most part of the book, Bowie could do no good in Mr. Buckley's words. He did new, experimental music? He was alienating his mainstream fan base. He was doing commercial stuff? He had lost the plot and was only thinking of how to buy back his back catalog from Tony DeFries. He was always doing the opposite of what he should have been doing in his opinion. His praise almost always contains back-handed compliments. In wanting to prove his point (Bowie and his desperate quest to stay relevant) Buckley spends good part of the book desperately trying to show Bowie as an unoriginal music catalyst, a vampiric character, without respect for his fans (They have to shell thousands to get all the re-releases!), or, with the advent of the internet, who did get too close to his fans (ah no, now this demystifies the aura, the secrecy of the artist!).
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