“He was always ambitious and had many failures before Ziggy gave him the breakthrough.
Browsing the shelves in the fashionable Mc Nally Jackson bookstore in New York’s So Ho, a man in a grey overcoat and flat cap barely merits a glance from other shoppers.
A regular customer at one of the few independently-owned bookstores left in the city, where he mostly buys books on art, the man exchanges a few pleasantries with the staff before buying, on this occasion, a couple of DVDs.
Dreary 70s Britain was shocked and seduced by this alien life form, a South London boy desperate for fame.
Articulate and with a dry sense of humour, Bowie knew how to create a stir.
Desperate to knock Mick Jagger off his pedestal as Britain’s Baddest Bad Boy at the time, Bowie declared archly: “I think Jagger would be astounded and amazed if he realised that to many people he is not a sex symbol but a mother image.” Miaow.
The two later became friends – but were fiercely competitive. As he switched characters in a bid to stay one step ahead – Major Tom, Halloween Jack, The Thin White Duke – he became addicted to cocaine for a decade followed by a descent into alcoholism.