David Bowie: Starman
Paul Trynka
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Buy *David Bowie: Starman* by Paul Trynka online

David Bowie: Starman
Paul Trynka
Little, Brown
544 pages
July 2011
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Master journalist Paul Trynka walks us though David Bowie's life in his beautifully detailed book. The author unlocks Ziggy's androgynous appeal in the early 1970s, when every girl - and boy - looked at him and listened to his music. He talks about the Ziggy Stardust super alter ego and dissects the music he made with his band, the Spiders From Mars. In the '80s, when David Jones (Bowie's birth name) went mainstream with disco-infused hits like "Let's Dance," Trynka cites veteran scribe Charles Shaar Murray as saying, "I suddenly thought, 'He's turned into a rock and roll version of Prince Charles.'"

The author recognizes Bowie as a talented and charming yet calculating and ruthless individual who had very few intimate friends and always seemed more intent on pushing forward the persona rather than the person. But there are dozens of illuminating moments that reveal much about the singer's character. Here, Bowie is working with Nile Rodgers, the producer on what will become "Let's Dance":

"He played me this song. And told me he thought it ws going to be a hit," Rodgers explained. I was like, 'That's not happening, man. It totally threw me. And it ws not a song you could dance to." Rodgers simply didn't understand. Was this some kind of mind game? So he called a mutual friend in New York. "Do you think Davis is the kind of guy who would play a trick on me?" he asked. "Is he playing me his song he says is ging to be a hit to see if I'm some sort of sycophant?"

"No, he woldn't do that," came the reply. "If he says that, he really believes it."

The information didn't help. "Oh, shit! What do I do now?" Nile asked himself.
It is a sublime moment, and just one of dozens that Trynka illuminates. There has been a lot written about the Thin White Man, but nothing better than this.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Steven Rosen, 2011

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