David Robert Jones, known professionally as David Bowie, was an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, painter and actor. Bowie was a figure in popular music for over four decades, and was known as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. His androgynous appearance was an iconic element of his image, principally in the 1970s and 1980s.
Born and raised in South London, Bowie developed an early interest in music although his attempts to succeed as a pop star during much of the 1960s were frustrated. Space Oddity became his first top five entry on the UK Singles Chart after its release in July 1969. After a three-year period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust, spearheaded by his single Starman and album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Bowie's impact at that time, as described by biographer David Buckley, challenged the core belief of the rock music of its day and created perhaps the biggest cult in popular culture. The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona proved to be one facet of a career marked by reinvention, musical innovation and visual presentation.