David Bowie Is
The book accompanying the V&A’s celebrated 2013 exhibition, which gained unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive to display intimate artefacts: handwritten lyrics, diary entries and sketches. You can flick through quickly and feel the explosions of colour from his various personas, or probe further via a series of critical essays from the likes of Mark Kermode.
David Bowie: The Pitt Report
Kenneth Pitt was Bowie’s manager until around the time of his first hit, Space Oddity, and he illuminates Bowie’s formative years with this insightful, anecdote-laced work focusing on a creatively frustrating period in his life. Pitt’s influence is undeniable, though – it was he who first gave Bowie a Velvet Underground record. In 1971 he would release Queen Bitch as a tribute to The Velvets.
The Complete David Bowie
Everything of note about Bowie rests on one of these 612 pages, which coolly and breezily take you through the details of a constantly shifting, always gripping career. There’s a timeline section that tries to handily condense everything – but still runs to 54 pages. Among many revelations is that the classic Bewlay Brothers was written and recorded in one night.
David Bowie: An Illustrated Record
Picture-based, and the shape and size of a record – this is the one to flick through and gain a fast-yet-thorough knowledge of this most visual of performers. Compiled by NME journalists, it was feted on release for its pioneering work on cracking the Bowie enigma.
Pushing Ahead Of The Dame
A song-by-song breakdown of Bowie’s oeuvre, punctuated by direct quotes. On Life On Mars: “This song was so easy. Being young was easy … I took a walk to catch a bus but couldn’t get the riff out of my head. I jumped off after two stops and went back home.” Great trivia on every page – a procrastinator’s dream.
See also: a list of Bowie’s 100 favourite books.
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