- Why did David Bowie choose to live in Berlin?
- When did David Bowie move to Berlin?
- Where did David Bowie live in Berlin?
- What albums did Bowie produce during his time in Berlin?
- Who did David Bowie collaborate with in Berlin?
- How did Bowie’s fashion evolve during his Berlin years?
- Did David Bowie learn to speak German?
- What are the must-visit Bowie locations in Berlin?
- Did Bowie write an autobiography about his time in Berlin?
Why did David Bowie choose to live in Berlin?
David Bowie chose to live in Berlin primarily to escape the excesses of fame and his personal struggles with substance abuse in the United States. Berlin offered him a more affordable and low-key lifestyle, which allowed him to focus on his music and personal recovery. Additionally, the city’s avant-garde art scene and the influence of electronic and experimental music were appealing to Bowie, influencing his creative direction and providing him with the artistic inspiration he needed at that time in his life.
For many years Berlin had appealed to me as a sort of sanctuary-like situation. It was one of the few cities where I could move around in virtual anonymity. I was going broke; it was cheap to live. For some reason, Berliners just didn’t care. Well, not about an English rock singer, anyway.”– David Bowie, Uncut, 1999
When did David Bowie move to Berlin?
David Bowie moved to Berlin in September 1976. He remained in Berlin until July 1979 and spent approximately three years in the city.
Where did David Bowie live in Berlin?
Initially, Bowie stayed at the Hotel Gerhus, which is now known as the Schlosshotel im Grunewald. However, he soon moved to the livelier neighborhood of Schöneberg. In Schöneberg, he rented an apartment in an older art nouveau-style apartment block at Hauptstraße 155, 10827 Berlin.
What albums did David Bowie produce during his time in Berlin?
David Bowie produced two of his albums during his time in Berlin:
- Low (1977): Released in January 1977, “Low” marked the beginning of Bowie’s Berlin period. It features a combination of electronic and ambient sounds, influenced by the Berlin music scene and his collaboration with Brian Eno.
- “Heroes” (1977): Released in October 1977, “Heroes” continued Bowie’s exploration of electronic and experimental music.
While Lodger is commonly regarded as the concluding installment of the “Berlin Trilogy”, it was largely recorded at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland. The album was then completed with additional recording sessions at the Record Plant in New York City.
During his time in Berlin, David Bowie also collaborated with Iggy Pop, producing two of Iggy’s albums that are often associated with the Berlin era: “The Idiot” (1977), which marked Iggy Pop’s departure from punk rock with Bowie’s significant production influence, and “Lust for Life” (1977), known for its raw energy and the iconic title track.
Who did David Bowie collaborate with in Berlin?
David Bowie’s collaborations in Berlin during the late 1970s included Tony Visconti, who served as a producer, helping Bowie experiment with sound and production techniques. Brian Eno, a pioneer of ambient music, played a key role in pushing Bowie to explore electronic and avant-garde elements in his music. Additionally, Bowie’s partnership with Iggy Pop resulted in the co-writing and production of two of Iggy’s albums, showcasing their combined creative synergy and influence on the era’s music scene.
Did David Bowie learn to speak German?
Yes, David Bowie made an effort to grasp enough German to engage in basic communication during his time in Berlin. His motivation was to better integrate into the Berlin music scene and connect with the city’s people and culture. Over the years, there have been several occasions where he demonstrated his ability to engage in brief conversations in the German language.
What are the must-visit Bowie locations in Berlin?
Hansa Studios played a significant role in David Bowie’s career during the late 1970s. Bowie recorded some of his most iconic albums there, including “Heroes” and “Low”. Fans from around the world visit this historic recording studio to pay homage to Bowie’s creative genius. There are occasional tours of Hansa Studios. For more details, visit this website.
Just a few kilometres away lies Hauptstraße 155, the former residence of Bowie during his stay in Berlin. While the building itself is a private residence, fans often come to the neighborhood to get a glimpse of the place where Bowie once lived. Next door to Bowie’s former residence, you’ll find the Neues Ufer. Bowie was a regular patron of this cozy café, and it continues to welcome visitors today.
There are several other locations in Berlin that remain open to visitors to this day. Among them is the Brücke Museum, renowned for its extensive collection of Expressionist art. Just a stone’s throw away, nestled within the serene Grunewald forest, lies the Forsthaus Paulsborn, where Bowie and Iggy Pop occasionally enjoyed meals in a tranquil setting.
The Kaufhaus des Westens, or “KaDeWe” (German for ‘Department Store of the West’), one of Europe’s largest and most prestigious department stores, offers a glimpse into the upscale shopping experience Bowie enjoyed during his Berlin days. Just a short distance from KaDeWe, located by the Savignyplatz—a charming square surrounded by a plethora of cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries, lies the Paris Bar, a cherished hangout frequented by Bowie and his companions.
Did Bowie write an autobiography about his time in Berlin?
While Bowie did not write a dedicated autobiography, there are books about him that explore his life and career during his time in Berlin. Some of these books include “David Bowie: A Life” (2017) by Dylan Jones, “Bowie in Berlin: A New Career in a New Town” (2008) by Thomas Jerome Seabrook, and “Heroes: David Bowie and Berlin” (2008) by Tobias Rüther.