Music Music Editor Music News Web Exclusives Muse

Star Man voted Greatest Entertainer of 20th Century

A Hero for more than one day, David Bowie rightly awarded greatest entertainer of 20th century

Bowie onstage 1987 Photo Credit: George Rose Getty Images

Ten days ago David Bowie was voted the Greatest Entertainer of the 20th century by BBC2's 'Icons'. The show has a very limited array of awarded stars across each of the seven categories; 'Artists & Writers', 'Leaders', 'Explorers', 'Scientists', 'Activists', 'Sports' and Bowie's dominating category, 'Entertainers'. The star man went on to beat the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Billie Holiday and Marilyn Monroe, for his constant innovating nature and unstoppable cutting-edge music. The show gave three reasons for their winner; most notably the everlasting mark David Bowie left behind after his passing.

The announcement of David Bowie's death on 10th January 2016, aged 69, shook the world unlike any other icon. Bowie had touched more peoples lives with his multitude of characters from Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke, but also, through his outspoken socio-political opinions which he worked into his music and his lifestyle. Despite the rock'n'roll lifestyle he led with the likes of Iggy Pop, David Bowie, adopted an ever current nature, speaking out against political tensions such as the Berlin Wall and taking part in global fundraisers such as Live Aid in 1985 - where his most popular song 'Heroes' spoke out against injustice, consisting of lyrics inspired by the cruelty of segregation of the Berlin Wall, with the descriptive lyrics of the cities plight becoming one of Berlin's anthems. Furthermore in 1987, Bowie performed in West Berlin near the Reichstag, encouraging East Berliner's to sing along behind the Iron Curtain. 

May 1983 photoshoot for Musician Magazine Photo Credit:  Ron Frazier Flikr

New data reveals that since his death David Bowie, born David Robert Jones, has achieved more than five million sales of his records. His most popular albums remain in a static list with his final album 'Blackstar' being his most popular moving 446,000 copies, his 2008 'Best of Bowie' coming second with 335,00 copies sold and his 2016 'Legacy', third with 247,000 copies sold. In addition to these sales 'The Very Best of', 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust', and, 'Hunky Dory', combined have sold a gold award level of sales with over 100,000 copies moved. Ahead of his time, Bowie also developed relations with technology that would mirror his futuristic lyrics in reality; his 1999 album 'Hours', becoming the first downloadable album by a major artist - with a briefly ran internet dial-up service called 'Bowienet'. 

Yet, despite his musical success, what makes Bowie stand out from his musical peers is his entanglement of current life and his own music. David Bowie held his own music in high regard, overseeing all aspects of a record from lyrics and music ensembles to the video productions that raised the bar for music videos of the time.

David Bowie in 1974 Photo Credit: Clausule at Beeld de Geluidwiki


Although, at the time of his death, Bowie understood his impending death from cancer  was inevitable, and in true Bowie style, he turned his life into art, releasing his final album 'Blackstar' a week before his passing. Many of us are not prepared to confront the inevitability of death, yet, this difficulty was made into a gift to his fans, a final farewell in true Bowie fashion. David Bowie's constantly shifting emotive cultural movements, sound, and intelligence led him to be one of the greatest innovators of the 20th century broadening what it meant to be a music star - a star man.


Photo of David Bowie and Cher from her solo variety television program Cher Photo Credit: CBS Television

You Might Also Like...

Leave a comment

Disclaimer: this page is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.