English performer and actor David Bowie released Hunky Dory, his fourth album, in 1971 when he was 24. Rolling Stone calls it the 88th greatest album of all time, and it was his first album to go platinum. Just six months later, he would go on to release The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. In honor of the album's semicentennial, I compiled a few stories from the artist's colorful life— some more obscure than others.
He briefly considered being a Buddhist Monk: In a Pitchfork article, Thurston Moore writes that Bowie had a longtime fascination with Buddhism and considered becoming a monk. After a few months' study, teachers in the monastery advised him to follow other passions (like music!)
Starstruck hospital staff allowed him to sneak drugs to Iggy Pop's rehab: In 1975, David Bowie and Easy Rider legend Dennis Hopper wore spacesuits to sneak cocaine to punk legend in Iggy Pop who had checked into a psych ward to deal with his drug addiction. Though Bowie's stunt doesn't seem like the most effective way to help a friend in recovery, Iggy Pop says that Bowie's friendship helped get him out of a dark place.
His juggling body double is a genius: David Bowie's character in Labyrinth appeared to juggle, but the stunt was actually performed by juggler Michael Moschen who had to do all the tricks blind while standing behind Bowie. Moschen won a MacArthur Genius Grant for his techniques.
He was an activist for the rights of "long-hairs": David Bowie's first TV appearance was in 1964 at the age of 17— and it wasn't for music. The BBC's Tonight Show interviewed him as the founder of 'The Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men'.