It is 1965, and Swinging London is coming into its prime years. The streets are alive with mods and rockers, playboys and good-time girls, all revelling in the blossoming artistic, creative and cultural energies of the decade.
Amid the colour and chaos is a boy sporting drainpipe jeans, an immaculately tailored sports coat and a half-inch wide tie. A devoted fan of The Who, he looks the part in his pristine mod gear. As the lead singer of the Lower Third, his talent is shaping itself into something truly special.
His name is Davie Jones. In ten years, he will be unrecognisable as fresh-faced boy of 1965, and in just over fifty years, his death will be mourned by millions, his legacy the story of the greatest rock star of all time.
And through Bowie’s transition from pop group member to solo performer, Phil Lancaster was by his side. As the drummer in Bowie’s band, the Lower Third, Phil was there as the singer’s musical stripes began to show, and was witness to his early recording techniques, his first experimental forays into drug-taking, and the band’s discovery of his bisexuality in shocking circumstances.
In this riveting – and often very funny – memoir, Phil tells the story of life alongside the insecure yet blazingly talented boy who became Bowie, at a critical crossroad of time and place in music history. What follows is an intimate, personal and important perspective on the genesis of one of the most iconic musicians of the twentieth century – one that gets under the skin of the man himself, before the personas and alter-egos masked the fascinating figure beneath them.
At the Birth of Bowie is essential reading for anyone who knows what happened on Bowie’s journey, but wants to understand how, and why, it ever began.