His self-titled first album came out in 1967, and in the half-century that followed, David Bowie remained fresh and surprising in both his music and his thinking. Here, to celebrate what would have been his 71st birthday (two days before the second anniversary of his death) are some of the beloved rocker's most memorable lines.
On Life's Journey
"The truth, of course, is that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time."
On His Marriage to Iman
"You would think that a rock star being married to a supermodel would be one of the greatest things in the world. It is."
On Rock Stardom
"I'm an instant star. Just add water and stir."
"I reinvented my image so many times that I'm in denial that I was originally an overweight Korean woman."
"I find only freedom in the realms of eccentricity."
"I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human. I felt very puny as a human. I thought ... I want to be a superhuman."
On Being Here Now
"Make the best of every moment. We're not evolving. We're not going anywhere."
On His Music
"What I like my music to do to me is awaken the ghosts inside of me. Not the demons, you understand, but the ghosts."
"Fame can take interesting men and thrust mediocrity upon them."
On the Chameleon Thing
"I think much has been made of this alter ego business. I mean, I actually stopped creating characters in 1975—for albums, anyway."
On His Friend Mick
"I think Mick Jagger would be astounded and amazed if he realized that to many people he is not a sex symbol, but a mother image."
On "Let's Dance"
"I don't know how many times someone has come up to me and said, 'Hey, Let's dance!' I hate dancing. God, it's stupid."
On Being Quoted
"I'm always amazed that people take what I say seriously. I don't even take what I am seriously."
On the Subject of Art
"Talking about art is like dancing about architecture."
"I don't think I have anything to do with funk. I've never considered myself funky."
On Making Plans
"I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring."
On His Self-Image
"I never really felt like a rock singer or a rock star or whatever."
"As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three. How long? And what do I do with the time I've got left?"
"That's the shock: All clichés are true. The years really do speed by. Life really is as short as they tell you it is. And there really is a God. So do I buy that one? If all the other clichés are true ... Hell, don't pose me that one."
On the Future
"Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming."
Comedy classics from the '70s
Sometimes flattery will get you everywhere
Thunder only happens when it's raining—and this band went through a downpour
Fresh perspectives on aging in films that are genuinely moving or funny—and often both
Hit singles of the '70s and early '80s that had only one mission—to make you get up and dance
The Backwoods Barbie who became a country-pop icon