In 1966 David Jones became David Bowie. The musician would become a solo star. Before global fame Bowie featured in a number of groups as Davie Jones or Davy Jones, including: The Manish Boys (vocals and saxophone), St Mary’s Church Choir, The Konrads, Davie Jones and The King Bees, Davie Jones & The Lower Third, Davie Jones & The Buzz, Riot Squad, Turquoise, The Strawbs and Feathers.
You might have seen the pre-steller David Bowie playing such salubrious venus as Bromley Technical High School, Chislehurst Caves, Medway County Youth Club, Zizzi’s restaurant, The Bromel Club, The Three Tuns pub or at the free festival on Beckenham Recreation Ground (August 16, 1969).
Bowie was the suburban boy who cracked the world. In these photos we can see a glimpse of his life in Beckenham, in suburban London.
Bowie (then David Jones) was born a South Londoner, spending the first eight years of his life in a still bomb-ravaged Brixton where he attended Stockwell Infants School. But then in 1954 the Jones’s settled in Bromley. Curiously enough, given his reputation as a free, independent spirit, Bowie actually didn’t leave his parents small two-up two-down home until he was twenty, when he moved into his manager’s flat in Fitzrovia. But it wasn’t long before his life was once again centred in deepest South London, as the afore mentioned Beckenham Arts Lab, founded by Bowie, began its weekly Sunday sessions in a back room of the Three Tuns in Beckenham High Street, a mock-Tudor building that is now a restaurant…
One of the last significant projects organised by the lab was the Beckenham Free Festival of August 1969 at which Angie sold hamburgers cooked in a wheelbarrow (no, really) and one of the other acts – in true Spinal Tap fashion – was a puppet show…
The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, and Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars were written in Haddon Hall on Southend Road, which David and his future wife, Angie, first moved into that same month..
Even the famous Ziggy proto-mullet hairstyle was created, with Bowie’s guidance, by a Beckenham hairdresser who worked at Evelyn Paget’s Ladies’ Hairdressers…
In October 1973, he had left Haddon Hall and Beckenham for good, and befitting his rock star status, he’d found a new home in Chelsea, a stone’s throw from old pal, Mick Jagger.