David Bowie: Early Years

Pin It

David Bowie: Early years

BowieDavid Bowie came from a post-war London background. Born in 1947, his father was from Yorkshire and his mother from Kent. Both parents had children from previous relationships.

From his earliest days, David – his surname was originally Jones – was interested in music. This was probably because of his father.

Haywood Jones had been born in Doncaster in 1912. An orphan, he was brought up by the local authorities and his aunt but received an inheritance from a family footwear company when he was eighteen.

With his new-found wealth he boughta theatre troupe.It failed. He put his remaining money into a nightclub. That failed too.

But because of his own entertainment ambitions, he understood his son.

David Bowie’s eyes

It’s often said that David has different coloured eyes. This isn’t the case although they give that appearance. That’s because of a teenage fight.

David’s best friend was a boy of his own age called George Underwood. When they were fifteen, in the spring of 1962, they fought … over a girl. George had arranged a date with Carol Goldsmith but David also had a liking for the girl. He told George that Carol had changed her mind and wouldn’t go out with him. When George found out, he thumped David in the eye.

It’s sometimes said that he was holding something sharp or wearing a ring but George always maintained this wasn’t the case. Maybe it was a torn fingernail but the result was David’s eye was severely injured.

He was in hospital for several weeks and it was thought that he’d lose the eye. George was distraught.

But the eye was saved. However, the result of the injury was a paralysis of the muscles that contract the pupil. This means that the pupil of David’s left eye is permanently dilated. This gives the illusion of the eyes being different colours.

David and George we in a group together when they were at school. But George gave up music to concentrate on art. The eye accident didn’t harm their friendship – in later life George provided the artwork for several David Bowie albums. Eventually, David would actually thank George for the eye injury, explaining that it gave him ‘a kind of mystique’.

David Bowie’s siblings

David’s mother, Peggy, worked as a nanny before her marriage. She fell madly for the son of a wealthy furrier, Jack Rosenberg. When she became pregnant with his child, he promised to marry her but disappeared. In 1937, Peggy gave birth to David’s half-brother, Terrence.

When David’s father Haywood was pursuing his theatrical ambitions, he married a pianist named Hilda. This marriage didn’t last, quite possibly one of the reasons was that Haywood had an affair with a nurse which resulted in the birth of a daughter, Annette, in 1941. Annette though remained with Hilda, her stepmother, who brought her up

At much the same time, Peggy was having a wartime affair, resulting in a daughter Myra Ann. The child was given up for adoption.  When Peggy met Haywood, she agreed to marry him as long as he would accept her son, Terrence. Hence David grew up with a half-brother.

Although this many seem like quite a litany of affairs and illegitimate births, it wasn’t unusual for that time. The number of illegitimate births soared during wartime.

Some historians blamed this on the shortage of rubber and hence the decline of condom production.






Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

Share This Post On

1 Comment

Submit a Comment