At the dawn of the decade he’d grow to dominate, David Bowie found himself in low spirits. His first taste of fame with “Space Oddity” was not so sweet, and he seemed in danger of becoming that most sorry of acts: a one hit wonder. As his music career floundered, he grew closer to Angie Barnett, his girlfriend and creative co-conspirator. Their marriage in 1970 was one of the wilder rock unions, characterized by mutual ambition and sexual exploration. At Angie’s encouragement, David began to experiment with gender roles, shocking the public with his feminine appearance, makeup and “man dresses.” It was a time of constant transition for Bowie as the ‘60s became the ‘70s. In just two years he’d bury his father and become one himself. Musically, he’d morph from a sci-fi loving space hippie and into the androgynous Godfather of Glam. He established his singular songwriting style with 1971’s irrepressibly tuneful Hunky Dory, which contained his personal anthem of the era: “Changes” — changes in looks, sounds, homes, management, and partnerships. But the most transformative experience would be his first visit to the United States. The trip opened up a whole new realm of ideas, leading to David’s greatest artistic breakthrough.
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