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David Buckley: David Bowie: The Music And The Changes

Fame. Fashion. Fascination.

A revision of the author’s earlier attempt to delineate the journey from barrow boy bard to Bewlay Brother and beyond, this ever-so-readable account may not be as scholarly as Peter Doggett’s The Man Who Sold The World but it reactivates the Bowie fan in sentient beings with a wealth of fact and opinion and some drop-dead gorgeous photos of the prettiest star.

Buckley critiques his subject but isn’t up his arse, and while the main man professes to be a covert chameleon he has drip-fed the world so many pointers that we know him better than he might imagine.

With plenty of newly discovered and remastered works to dwell on, not to mention the jaw-dropping Bowie Is V&A exhibition, Buckley puts Bowie back in the room where his career self-assessment “to be a source of endless amusement to you and another form of Chinese torture for myself” hangs in the air like his Kabuki costume.

Another facet of the book is the accidental realisation that Bowie would have been successful at whatever he turned his hand to. His workaday methodology means he is far less mercurial than his image(s) suggest. From working with the ad men to joining all the Mad Men there is a cool calculation and ruthless streak about him.

Classic Rock 214: Stuff