DAVID BOWIE, English musician, was born on this day (d: 2016); Active in five decades of rock music and frequently reinventing his music and image, Bowie was widely regarded as an influential innovator, particularly for his work through the 1970s. In recent years, the former enfant terrible of punk acquitted himself as a competent actor and taken cues from a wide range of fine art, philosophy and literature. He was a film and stage actor, music video director and visual artist.

Back in the day, however, it was a different story altogether. He was fond of staging a mock blow job of his guitarist Mick Ronson before delighted audiences of shrieking fourteen-year olds. And then, of course, there were his songs about Lesbians in the army and the one about Queen Bitch, a young dude who “dresses like a queen, but…can kick like a mule” not to mention the one about the stud who “came on so loaded, man, well-hung and snow-white tan.”

In 1976, the same year Jimmy Carter admitted to Playboy that he had lusted in his heart after women, thereby forever losing the support of the pinch-faced, thin-lipped, blue-rinse set of American patriots, Bowie confided to his Playboy confessor that he was bisexual, as was his then wife, Angela. “Angela and I knew each other,” he said, “because we were fucking the same bloke,” (record executive Calvin Mark Lee). Though his current bios seem to be scrubbed clean of any reference to his sexual adventurism, it never seemed to hurt his career one bit.

Bowie died two days after his 69th birthday and the release of the album Blackstar, from liver cancer in his New York City apartment. He had been diagnosed eighteen months earlier but had not made the news of his illness public. The Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove, who had worked with the singer on his Off-Broadway musical Lazarus, explained that Bowie was unable to attend rehearsals due to the progression of the disease. He noted that Bowie had kept working during the illness.