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Strange Fascination: David Bowie: The Definitive Story

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  581 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
David Bowie is now into his fifth decade of making music. Thirty years on from his first hit single, 'Space Oddity'. he remains the most influential rock star from the post-Woodstock generation - yet unlike Hendrix, the Beatles or even Prince, his life has never been the subject of a major biography. Strange Fascination chronicles Bowie's career against the colourful backd ...more
Paperback, Revised and Updated, 641 pages
Published June 8th 2000 by Virgin Books (first published 1999)
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Khris Sellin
Mar 20, 2016 Khris Sellin rated it it was amazing
I grew up listening to Bowie, "discovering" him at age 10 by stealing a listen of my older brother's and sister's Ziggy Stardust albums, then Aladdin Sane, Hunky Dory, Diamond Dogs....and my Bowie obsession had begun. I'm still mourning the loss of this great artist.
This book brought him back to life for me, and maybe that's why I didn't want to finish it. I kept savoring it in little pieces at a time. And of course it kept sending me back to listen to my old favorites and some others that I ha
Feb 28, 2016 Alan rated it liked it
Perhaps being a little mean to this book because it did give me what I wanted, a summary of his life and music, adding some things to the period I already knew well (1971-1982; although it finished in 2000, before 'Heathen' came out), and filling the gaps of that 1983-2000 period where I let go. And it's quite a feat too, to manage such a heaving mass of material and keep it coherent. It is filled with long quotes from the people around Bowie too at the time (although not much from the man himse ...more
Jul 12, 2012 Kurt rated it it was amazing
Essential for any Bowie fan.
Mar 10, 2016 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
In music radio it’s common practice for us as presenters to note and commemorate the passing of a major musical figure, and in my adult lifetime I can’t remember the death of a bigger star than Bowie. Ray Charles is the only one that comes close. He was certainly significant, and in some ways he was just as musically influential as Bowie, but for many reasons (fairly or not) the universal appeal wasn’t the same. My career in radio took a new direction at the beginning of 2016, and on the air in ...more
Mar 10, 2009 Stefani rated it really liked it
David Bowie was my hero when I was 12 years old, and this was before I knew anything about Ziggy or the Thin White Duke - he was the Goblin King, and that was good enough for me. Now I've stumbled upon this book that is a concise account of his rise to stardom, and I find myself even more enthralled by his perseverance and creativity as an artist. Strange Fascination focuses on his career, with anecdotes from collaborators from every period and mask he's worn. The writing is obviously biased tow ...more
Jun 03, 2013 Samira rated it it was amazing
The joy of this is how well written it is. A fan, but not a rose-tinted view and focussed on the art not the gossip. Particularly appreciated the insights and perspectives of longtime collaborators,being given due recognition. And the self-aware tone challenging some of the sexism of rock history writing in assessing the less-sympathetically regarded women in his life.
Damián Vives
Sep 24, 2014 Damián Vives rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muy buena biografía que, afortunadamente, ha quedado desactualizada dado que su original en inglés fue publicado en 1999. No obstante esto, no se me ocurre un mejor trabajo sobre el camaleónico intérprete.
Bárbara Reis
Oct 23, 2016 Bárbara Reis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O Bowie teve uma vida artística tão completa e longa - inclusive, queria que esse livro a cobrisse até o fim. Acho que uma nova edição vai sair logo, mas não tenho certeza - que essa bio nada curta provocou mais pensamentos/reflexões (how bloody pretentious) do que eu consigo lembrar.

A voz do biógrafo é ótima e consegue seguir meu raciocínio perfeitamente, como no momento em que, depois de falar sobre a fama ruim que a Coco (assistente pessoal rígida do Bowie) tinha entre o círculo próximo do B
Paul Lyons
Jun 25, 2012 Paul Lyons rated it it was ok
David Buckley covers all of David Bowie's complicated life and career...From the earliest singles in the 60' his peak period in the 1970' his dreadful albums in the mid 80s, and his creative comeback in the 1990's...Buckley does a great job chronicling Bowie's growth and well as his many changes over the years. We get to read all about the making of such classic albums as "Hunky Dory', "The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars", "Aladin Sane", "D ...more
Sally Nicol
Jan 08, 2017 Sally Nicol rated it liked it
Interesting details and enjoyed the discussion about the different songs but a very long book.
Apr 17, 2016 Rob rated it really liked it
Still in search of a truly satisfying Bowie soup-to-nuts biography, this applicant to the post is a revised version of Buckley's 1999 book, which alongside its comprehensive view of the stunningly creative years also serves to provide the best description of his post-Let's Dance years that I've yet read. This gives it the most complete narrative arc of any of these books, helping us to get more of an insight into the man's fractious moments with his muse, the lure of an easier path to fortune fo ...more
Bianca Helbing
Über David Bowie gibt es viele Bücher. Die meisten werben mit Klappentexten à la „der Journalist, der dabei war“, „der Autor hat mit Ex-Liebhabern, Familienmitgliedern und anderen Insidern gesprochen…“, „dieses Buch enthüllt das wahre Gesicht der Musik-Ikone“ und so weiter. Ich habe das Buch von Buckley gekauft, weil er in der Einleitung etwas anderes verspricht: Eine Beleuchtung des Musikers Bowie, seiner Karriere, seiner Inspirationen und des Einflusses, den er auf unsere heutige Popkultur hat ...more
Apr 02, 2012 Simon rated it it was ok
Strange Fascination David Bowie the definitive story
By David Buckley (revised and updated)

This was the second doorstopper of a biography
that I read on holiday and at 554 pages this one
is over long and nowhere near as definitive as
its author would like you to think. His claim
would only work if you have never read any other
Bowie books or aren't a real Bowie freak which
are two things he bangs on about a lot without
it would seem really being one, that said he
does a not bad job of finding abo
Michael Emond
Sep 03, 2014 Michael Emond rated it liked it
This is a well researched and thorough look at the career of David Bowie. Some of the pluses are how in depth it is and the fact the author takes time out for long direct quotes from the people he interviewed - that is in contrast to many bios that paraphrase what the people said or take a short quote out of context. I like the fact that he is also willing to go in detail about the songs and music - that is why we love Bowie so it is nice to get some insight into this aspect. A lot of music bios ...more
Jun 22, 2012 Nigeyb rated it really liked it
David Buckley really knows his stuff and has interesting, and new - to me, a reasonably knowledgeable fan - observations to make about the myriad twists and turns of David's career.

As a teenage Bowie freak I finally lost interest during the 1980s when David seemed more interest in making money than art. Reading this book stimulated me to revisit his 1970s glory years, and to better understand how and why his career played out the way it did. I enjoyed reading the book with my iPod on, and liste
Oct 12, 2016 Joey rated it it was ok
Wordy, overwrought, and pretentious, "Strange Fascination" is classic music snob writing. Fortunately, David Bowie is the topic, which saves the book from a one-star rating. Buckley treats us to tangents on peripheral figures -- Marc Bolan and Gary Numan come to mind -- that last for several pages. At those points in the book, it's hard to escape the feeling that Buckley is just rubbing our noses in how much he knows about pop history; true, both are key artists who influenced or were influenced ...more
Jul 26, 2013 Clémence rated it it was amazing
This biography must be read by any Bowie fan who would like to know more about him. There are a lot of details with great precision, you can feel the long researches behind that book. The writer knows what - or who - he is talking about. He steps away from the gossips to describe and analyze (only a bit, unfortunately) his music.
I really enjoyed reading this, as a massive Bowie fan. It allowed me to understand a little more his rich artistic mind and his music. You must read it if you've heard
Jeff Howells
Mar 14, 2016 Jeff Howells rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arguably the most influential solo artist in rock history with an unparalleled run of classic albums, his death robbed Music of a total one off. I'm sure there will be a glut of Bowie books in years to come, but for a decent run through of his career then this is a good start. It only takes the story up to 2005 so misses out on his late Renaissance but it has interviews with a number of close collaborators and is genuinely's also quite good in critiquing the records and doesn't s ...more
Mar 09, 2016 Maureen rated it really liked it
Very interesting read, especially for a new fan. Exhaustively researched with a good list other Bowie books to read. This book focuses mostly on the music itself with glimpses of Bowie's personal life thrown in. If you are looking for gossip and innuendo, you will not find here. The tone is respectful throughout; even the Tin Machine years are not entirely trashed by the author, but treated as another step in Bowie's artistic development. I am interested to see if an updated edition is in the wo ...more
Apr 28, 2016 Marianne rated it liked it
This book goes into a lot of detail about Bowie's work, is well written and at times funny, especially during the first half. It started dragging a bit in the second half though, and I ended up skipping over some pages. As someone who loves his later albums, I also didn't really appreciate the "album review" style of the book, which seemed very coloured by the writer's own opinions (mainly as he slated a couple of my favourite albums ;-). Overall I enjoyed this read though, and it provided a lot ...more
Jul 07, 2016 Joseph rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One of the hardest books I've ever had to get through. I'm a huge Bowie fan, so the subject matter is not the problem. This book offers very little new information, other than the fact that Carlos Alomar is kind of an egotistical jerk. The author has a dry style and tries to interject critical views that provides nothing of value. Wow, so good to know the author is mixed on Bowie's post-Scary Monsters output. Nobody has ever had that opinion. Sarcasm. This is a 500 page book that feels like 1000 ...more
Mar 11, 2014 Jonathan rated it liked it
This book started off fine, but the second half really dragged. Overall, I think the writer suffered from a lack of source material since Bowie cultivates sort of an enigma around himself. He did have what appeared to be decent interviews with a couple key Bowie figures such as Carlos Alomar and Adrian Belew, but some passages also read like he was stitching together headlines with his own flaccid analysis. Overall, it felt less substantive than a lot of rock bios I've read.
Feb 29, 2016 Olli-Pekka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kirja on kiinnostava alusta loppuun, mikä on bändikirjoille harvinaista. Usein näiden luettavuus päättyy vuoteen jolloin kirjailija on henkilökohtaisesti menettänyt mielenkiintonsa rakastamaansa artistia kohtaa. Buckley ei tuo liikaa esille omia näkemyksiään sankaristaan, vaan tukeutuu pitkälti Bowien muusikkotovereiden kokemuksiin arvioidessaan legendan elämää ja taidetta. Vasta kirjan luettuani ymmärrän kuinka Bowien perintö pop-taiteelle on juuri niin suuri, kuin annetaan ymmärtää.
Marc Robins
Feb 26, 2016 Marc Robins rated it it was amazing
I finished rereading this and I still consider it the best book on Bowie out there. Unfortunately it was written after Hours came out and doesn't address the awesome work on Heathen, Reality, The Next Day or Blackstar. I'm going to have to dig around to see if he wrote any articles about those records, but if you are interested in Bowie, this is a must read.
Jun 20, 2015 Val rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, favorites
Like a Bowie Bible.

This is one of the BEST books on David Bowie I've ever read, and I've read quite a few, *I am HUGE fan*
Fascinating subject - obviously - I highly recommend!
If you're looking for tabloid-type of dirty deets on this truly one-of-a-kind artist (like that new 'biography' I refuse to name), then this is not the book for you.
Dawn Roberts
Feb 11, 2016 Dawn Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good chronical that mostly avoids becoming a gushy hagiography. I felt Buckley offered some interesting commentary on pop culture's ever-changing perceptions and acceptance levels of Bowie and his work. Good details and reviews on all his recordings, including the large accumulated body of studio work that remains unreleased.
Timo Vuorensola
Järkälemäinen opus Bowien maailmaan on hieman kalskisti kirjoitettu, eikä käännöskään vakuuta kaikilta osiltaan. Sisältö on kuitenkin taakia Bowie-kamaa faneille, ei-faneille tarjolla ei ole juurikaan hauskoja yksityiskohtia lukuunottamatta mitään tärkeää.

Kirjasta opin mm. että Bowien silmät eivät ole eriväriset. Hienoimpia musatriviayksityiskohtia ikinä!
Linda Smolenski
This is a book for the Bowie music fans. It definetly goes deep into the creative process and music of David Bowie, however you won't come out knowing much more about the actual person. If you are interested in Bowie the musician this is good, but I came out dissapointed as I have absolutly found nothing revealing about Bowie the man
Oct 22, 2007 Tosh rated it really liked it
This I think is the best David Bowie bio out there. For one thing, David Buckley interviewed all the Bowie Sidemen and the tales they tell is quite interesting. This is not a gossipy book about Bowie, but more about his culture and his music and how he made some of his recordings. It's never dry, but for sure it's tailor made for the Bowie fanatic - and I am one!
Apr 10, 2016 r.b. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was unable to find this book anywhere and as I didn't want to read Wendy Leigh's bio, which looks to be tabloid trashy, I resorted to buying an ebook edition. So happy I did. I feel like this was really filled with so much information. Hopefully Buckley will write more about the 10 years that would be the last of Bowie's life.
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“Bowie drew our attention to the fact that a person could play the part of a rock star before actually becoming one.” 0 likes
“While Bowie was the great photogenic pop icon, his work about characters and masks, Eno’s art was in disappearance: ‘… Eno’s object was to eliminate himself from his work, to minimise his “degree of participation”, to cleanse his art of the idea of the individual artist,’ wrote Simon Frith and Howard Horne in their book Art Into Pop. Eno was interested in systems music, music that almost played itself and followed repetitive patterns. Bowie was interested in dramatic gestures and melodic sweeps.” 0 likes
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