12 Surprising Facts Many Fans Still Don’t Know About The Late David Bowie

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

It’s hard to believe a year has come and gone since the passing of the legendary entertainment icon David Bowie.

After keeping his health struggles a closely guarded secret and releasing a final album filled with chilling references to his own mortality (and of course, a few surprises), the world said goodbye to David on January 10, 2016.

Luckily, we still have his music, movies, and other projects from his incredible career to look back on and remember the enormously talented man. There’s no doubt that his music especially will continue to reach out to future generations, the songs touching their hearts just as much as our own.

And there are also plenty of surprising facts about his life that even some of his most dedicated fans are still uncovering.

Take a look below to celebrate the life of David Bowie and all the wonderful contributions he gave us during his time on earth.

Let us know in the comments if we missed your favorite fact about the entertainer and be sure to SHARE his memory with your friends!

[H/T: BBC]

1. There Was A Violent Reason Behind His Unique Eyes

David Bowie music video

Most people assumed David had heterochromia, a genetic condition where one eye is a different color form the other.

However, his larger, permanently dialted left pupil is actually the result of a teenage fight with one of his school friends. Known as anisocoria, the condition occurred after the two quarreled over a mutual affection for a girl in their class.

2. He Only Sang "Under Pressure" Live Once

David Bowie performing

It was a massive hit for both David and Queen, but it was never part of his set lists.

The only time he performed it live was in a tribute to Freddie Mercury following his passing, singing the tune with Annie Lennox and backed by the surviving members of Queen.

3. He Turned Down Knighthood

David Bowie in 1975

Queen Elizabeth offered the musician the high honor in 2003, but he declined.

She probably should have known, though, considering he did the same when she offered him the title of Commander in the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

4. He Was The First Artist To Offer An Album Online

1990s computer

It’s commonplace now, but back in 1996 when the popularity of the web was still in its early days, David dropped his album Telling Lies on his official website.

He also attempted to create his own internet service provider, calling it “Bowienet.”

5. He Shared A Name With One Of The Monkees

The Monkees

Born David Robert Jones, he was forced to change his name to avoid confusion with the Monkees’ Davy Jones.

He was inspired to choose Bowie as his stage name after the knife created by American pioneer Jim Bowie as a metaphor for “cutting through lies.”

6. He Founded A Society To Defend Longhaired Boys

David Bowie in 1967

At just 17, David was interviewed by the BBC after founding “The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Longhaired Men,” which seems silly now but was a surprisingly serious issue back in 1964.

In his words: “Anyone who has the courage to wear their hair down to his shoulders has to go through hell. It’s time we were united and stood up for our curls.”

7. He Mentioned "Major Tom" In Three Songs

David Bowie in 1974

The fictional astronaut was first introduced in 1969’s “Space Oddity,” then again in 1980’s “Ashes to Ashes” and 1996’s “Hallo Spaceboy.”

8. He Was Classmates With Another Rock Star

Peter Frampton album

Peter Frampton attended Bromley Technical High School (now known as Ravens Wood School) in England with David, though he was a few years younger.

Peter would later perform guitar on several of David’s albums.

9. He Plays Almost Every Instrument On "Diamond Dogs"

David Bowie concert

The 1974 album was his first since 1969 to not include his usual backing band, the Spiders from Mars, and was inspired by George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984.

10. He Recorded An Italian Version Of "Space Oddity"

David Bowie album "Ragazza Solo, Ragazza Sola"

After two other bands from Italy did their own versions of the tune, David wrote new lyrics to the same melody titled, “Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola,” which translates to “Lonely Boy, Lonely Girl.”

It tells the story of a boy and girl falling in love on a mountain rather than anything about space.

11. John Lennon Cowrote His First #1 Single

John Lennon

“Fame” shot to the top of the charts back in 1975 and also featured John’s voice singing in the background.

12. He Had A Fear Of Flying

David Bowie and Duncan Jones

He preferred to make transatlantic trips via the Queen Elizabeth II ocean liner rather than an airplane due to a phobia he developed after the birth of his first child, Duncan Jones, shown with his dad above.

Did we miss any of your favorite facts about the legendary entertainer? Let us know below, and be sure to SHARE with your friends!