SOME JEWISH FACTS ABOUT DAVID BOWIE
It was clear long before the Internet swelled with heartfelt tributes to David Bowie that the late musician was an artistic legend. The 69-year-old Englishman, who passed away Sunday after an 18-month battle with cancer, reinvented himself countless times over a five-plus decade music career that also included stints as a Broadway and Hollywood actor.
From his Ziggy Stardust alter ego period to his latest album — a jazzy, avant-garde rock release called Blackstar released just two days before his death — Bowie racked up some interesting Jewish connections. Below, we give you five of them.
1. He was into kabbalah, and sang about it
“Here are we, one magical movement from kether to malkuth,” Bowie sang in his 1976 song Station to Station. “Kether” and “malkuth” are two of the 10 elements of the kabbalistic tree of life — the highest and lowest parts, respectively.
Despite being high on cocaine for most of the Station to Station album’s recording process anddescribing it years later as the work of “an entirely different person,” Bowie was fascinated with kabbalah during this period (decades before Madonna made it cool). The back cover of the Station to Station album features Bowie drawing the kabbalistic tree of life in chalk.
2. His first manager was Jewish
Les Conn, born to a Jewish family in Stamford Hill, a traditionally Jewish part of London, failed to make much headway in the music business before 17-year-old Bowie (then still going by his birth name David Robert Jones) connected with him in 1964 through a mutual acquaintance, washing machine magnate John Bloom. Conn managed to get Jones’ first band some gigs, but he couldn’t sell his talent to The Beatles’ publisher Dick James. When Conn’s contract with Jones expired, the rocker left for a new band and changed his name to Bowie — and the rest is history.
3. He was close to Jewish rockers Lou Reed and Marc Bolan (in different ways)
Bowie connected with Lou Reed, of the Velvet Underground, and pop artist Andy Warhol on a trip to the U.S. in 1971. He later produced Reed’s breakthrough solo album Transformer in 1972. When Reed passed away in 2013, Bowie called him “a master.”
Marc Bolan, the lead singer of glam rock band T-Rex, had
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