David Bowie: 12 things you probably didn't know about the music legend

Bowie was the first major artist to have a single available for download

Elsa Vulliamy
Monday 11 January 2016 12:42
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1. He refused to drink tea

When he was five, Bowie’s parents took him on a Thames boat trip, where he drank tea that had been stewing for seven years.

It was so awful that he hasn’t drank a cup of English tea since, though he is partial to Japanese green tea.

David Bowie poses with a pig, 2004

2. There's a spider named after him

The Heteropoda davidbowie is a bright orange huntsman spider from Malaysia, and was named in honour of the singer.

English singer David Bowie (right) performing at a live recording for a Midnight Special TV show made at The Marquee Club in London with a specially invited audience of Bowie fanclub members, 21st October 1973. Bowie is wearing a 'space-samurai' costume by Kansai Yamamoto

3. His eyes are the same colour

Contrary to popular believe, David Bowie’s eyes are the exact same shade of blue. They look different due to a permanently dilated pupil, which he acquired during his school days when his friend George Underwood punched him in the eye in a fight over a girl.

David Bowie in the video for 'Blackstar', his latest and final album

4. The moon landing made him famous

Very Bowie-esque. When Bowie was still starting out and not yet well known the BBC played ‘Space Oddity’ over its footage of the 1969 moon landing. The song went on to be Bowie’s first UK number 1 six years later.

David Bowie Dead

5. He shares a birthday with Elvis

Bowie was born on the 8th January 1947, exactly 12 years after rock and roll legend Elvis Presley.

David Bowie performs on stage on the third and final day of 'The Nokia Isle of Wight Festival 2004' at Seaclose Park, on June 13, 2004 in Newport, UK

6. A lot of people say his name wrong

Bowie is meant to rhyme with ‘Joey’, not ‘Howie’

David Bowie performing his final concert as Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Odeon, London

7. He rejected a CBE and knighthood

Bowie was offered a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2000, but turned it down, because ‘didn’t know what it was for’.

He was also offered a knighthood in 2003, an honour he also rejected.

David Bowie Meltdown concert at the Royal Festival Hall, London, June 2002

8. He released the first major downloadable single

David Bowie’s ‘Telling Lies’ was made available for download on his website in 1996, making it the first downloadable single from a major artist. It would have taken approximately 11 minutes to download using dial-up speed internet.

David Bowie in with May 1973

9. He was stalked by a 5’ 3” rabbit

While on his North American tour in 2004, Bowie was stalked by someone in a pink rabbit costume.

He seemed relatively unfased, saying “Hey, it’s rock n roll. It’s just a 5’ 3” bunny”. Things did get a bit harrowing later on, however, when Bowie got on a plane out of New York and the bunny – still in costume – was on board.

David Bowie performing with guitarist Mick Ronson (1946 - 1993) at a live recording for a Midnight Special TV

10. He set up his own internet service provider

David Bowie set up his own internet service provider (ISP) called BowieNet in 1998, which kept going up until 2012.

Signing onto BowieNet cost £10 a month, and each user was given a free 20MB to make their own homepage. User were also given loads of bonus Bowie content, such as exclusive web chats and bonus tracks.

David Bowie, now 68, has refused to go on the road since he experienced a medical emergency in 2004

11. As a teenager, he advocated long hair for men

A 17-year-old Bowie, then known as Davey Jones was on the BBC show Tonight in his capacity as the founder of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long Haired Men. “I think we all like long hair,” he said “I don’t see why other people should persecute us because of this.”

Cook and Dudley Moore with David Bowie (centre) backstage at the Cambridge Theatre in London in 1973 (Getty Images)

12. The pub where he launched his career is now a Zizzi restaurant

If you’re looking for a relatively low-effort way of paying homage, you can always go and order some italian food in the place where David Bowie launched his career.

The historical music venue The Three Tuns is now a branch of Italian restaurant chain Zizzi.

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