(Disclaimer: this book was sent to me, at my request, by Hodder and Stroughton, in association with Mulcahy Associates. I have been wanting to read this for months, ever since it was announced. What follows is my honest opinion, unhindered. )
David Bowie. If you say his name to some, there’ll be fond reminiscences, having lived alongside his music at the time of production. Even if you didn’t like his songs, you cannot deny he was a huge influence on the music world. He, like so many others, played their part. (Freddie Mercury, anyone?)
In the run up to publication, I was disgusted by how much online abuse this got. For a gem of a book, that was shocking.
Lesley Ann Jones has been a Journalist, Biographer, Novelist and more; she is somebody who knows how to write, report accurately, and paint a very distinct picture in your head. I’ll admit, I didn’t grow up with Bowie’s music, and I was still eight years late to see Queen in their heyday. (Go on, work out my age!!) To read about his life by a great writer is something I am very much enjoying.
The introduction is immensely evocative; it conjures up the day, way back in January, when Bowie passed away. There’s a sense that this is the end of an era; music like he produced was on the decline. You haven’t got as big as rock scene these days. We have more R ‘n’ B, indie acoustic solo artists, and auto tune. It’s the same, I imagine, when Freddie Mercury passed away. Black star is revealed to be Bowie’s legacy, just part of a musical treasure trove.
This biography is also unrivalled, in the sense that Jones herself knew Bowie; she lived locally to him when he was still David Jones. There was also meetings at concerts, etc. There is almost an extra spark in this book; after all, what’s a better way to get behind the enigma? It’s a great tribute to somebody classed as a “Friend.”
My only issue was with sheer size, but considering the time it took to write, hats off to Lesley Ann! (I haven’t been able to take it round with me, as it has begun to occasionally hurt my shoulders.) That’s probably why I haven’t come to finish it, to be honest. But I will do soon.