David Bowie: A Life by Dylan Jones


Like so many other people, I was greatly affected by David Bowie’s death. This seems very strange to me because I knew very little about his life. He represented a part of my childhood that ceased, the day he died. When I saw this book available on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read it. I wanted to know more about this icon. I had hoped this book would be a typical biography and so when I saw it wasn’t, I was a little uncertain as to whether or not I would like it. I totally enjoyed reading this, ironically because it wasn’t a typical biography. It was great to get some personal insights into this man from people who knew him and were a part of his life. It is amazing to see how many people were impacted by Bowie.

Dylan Jones’s engrossing, magisterial biography of David Bowie is unlike any Bowie story ever written. Drawn from over 180 interviews with friends, rivals, lovers, and collaborators, some of whom have never before spoken about their relationship with Bowie, this oral history weaves a hypnotic spell as it unfolds the story of a remarkable rise to stardom and an unparalleled artistic path. Tracing Bowie’s life from the English suburbs to London to New York to Los Angeles, Berlin, and beyond, its collective voices describe a man profoundly shaped by his relationship with his schizophrenic half-brother Terry; an intuitive artist who could absorb influences through intense relationships and yet drop people cold when they were no longer of use; and a social creature equally comfortable partying with John Lennon and dining with Frank Sinatra. By turns insightful and deliciously gossipy, DAVID BOWIE is as intimate a portrait as may ever be drawn. It sparks with admiration and grievances, lust and envy, as the speakers bring you into studios and bedrooms they shared with Bowie, and onto stages and film sets, opening corners of his mind and experience that transform our understanding of both artist and art. Including illuminating, never-before-seen material from Bowie himself, drawn from a series of Jones’s interviews with him across two decades, DAVID BOWIE is an epic, unforgettable cocktail-party conversation about a man whose enigmatic shapeshifting and irrepressible creativity produced one of the most sprawling, fascinating lives of our time.


Dylan Jones studied at Chelsea School Of Art and then St. Martin’s School of Art. He is the award-winning editor of GQ magazine, a position he has held since 1999, and has won the British Society of Magazine Editors “Editor of the Year” award a record ten times. In 2013 he was also the recipient of the prestigious Mark Boxer Award.
Under his editorship the magazine has won over 50 awards.
A former editor at i-D, The Face, Arena, the Observer and the Sunday Times, he is the author of the New York Times best seller Jim Morrison: Dark Star, the much-translated iPod, Therefore I Am and Mr. Jones’ Rules, as well as the editor of the classic collection of music writing, Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy. He edited a collection of journalism from Arena – Sex, Power & Travel – and collaborated with David Cameron on Cameron on Cameron: Conversations with Dylan Jones (shortlisted for the Channel 4 Political Book of the Year).
He was the Chairman of the Prince’s Trust’s Fashion Rocks Monaco, is a board member of the Norman Mailer Writers Colony and a Trustee of the Hay Festival. He is also the chairman of London Fashion Week: Men’s, London’s first men’s fashion week, launched in 2012 at the behest of the British Fashion Council.

In 2010 he spent a week in Afghanistan with the Armed Forces, collaborating on a book with the photographer David Bailey: British Heroes in Afghanistan. In 2012 he had three books published: The Biographical Dictionary of Music; When Ziggy Played Guitar: David Bowie and Four Minutes that Shook the World, and the official book of U2’s 360 Tour, published in October. Since then he has published
The Eighties: One Day One Decade, a book about the 1980s told through the prism of Live Aid, Elvis Has Left The Building: The Day The King Died, Mr. Mojo, London Rules, a polemic about the greatest city in the world, Manxiety and London Sartorial.
In June 2013 he was awarded an OBE for services to publishing and the fashion industry. In 2014 he was made an Honorary Professor of Glasgow Caledonian University.



  1. I know so little about David Bowie but this looks like an amazing biography. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction but this may need to be an exception. I checked out your Twitter and see that you have the NaNo banner up. Are you participating this month? I sorta am and would love to chat with you about writing if you are!

    Happy Friday and great review 🙂

  2. This is the second review I’ve seen for this book. David wasn’t someone high on my radar, think it was because his big hits came when I was only a child and not into music.
    I’m also not a biography fan, but for those that are, and David Bowie fans of course, this book sounds like a must read.

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