Interview With A 17-Year-Old David Bowie Contains Some Startling Remarks

Who doesn’t love David Bowie? Besides being a musical trailblazer, a pioneer in the fashion world, and a remarkable predictor of the future, he also had a mischievous sense of humor. This side of him was never far away — even when he was dealing with sensitive topics. One startling TV interview from when he was 17 is the perfect example of this. Fans can’t stop watching.

David Robert Jones

By the time Bowie gave this interview at 17, he had already shown a keen interest in music. He created his first group, the Konrads, in his early teens, but then jumped ship for a new band — the King Bees — soon after. He wasn’t happy with his colleagues’ lack of ambition, you see. These traits — an all-consuming drive to be big, and a willingness to try new things — would of course come to define Bowie. As well as his humor, of course.

A decade of frustration

Before he became a superstar in the 1970s, Bowie spent much of the 1960s attempting — and failing — to make it big. He experimented with different looks and musical styles, but nothing took off. As BBC writer Dylan Jones wrote in 2017, “When Bowie dressed up as a soul star, a dandy, a moody long-haired singer-songwriter, nobody took much notice.”

Space Oddity

Then, in 1969 he finally had a hit. “Space Oddity,” the story of a stranded astronaut named Major Tom, was the world’s earliest taste of Bowie’s aptitude for portraying personas in his music. It reached the top five on the U.K. singles chart and is now considered one of his classic songs. And yet, despite its success, Bowie didn’t chart again for three long years.

Ziggy Stardust

When he returned in 1972, Bowie was a changed man. He’d adopted the persona of Ziggy Stardust, an orange-haired, gender-bending alien idol who’d come to Earth to inspire the masses. Both the single “Starman” and album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars were sizeable hits in the U.K. This was eight years after that infamous interview.