Bowies first hit song, Space Oddity in July 1969, reached the top five of the UK Singles Chart. After a three-year period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust, spearheaded by the hit single Starman and the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Bowies impact at that time, as described by biographer David Buckley, challenged the core belief of the rock music of its day and created perhaps the biggest cult in popular culture. The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona proved to be one facet of a career marked by reinvention, musical innovation and visual presentation.
In 1975, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the number-one single Fame and the hit album Young Americans, which the singer characterised as plastic soul. The sound constituted a radical shift in style that initially alienated many of his UK devotees. He then confounded the expectations of both his record label and his American audiences by recording the electronic-inflected album Low, the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno. Low , Heroes , and Lodger —the so-called Berlin Trilogy albums—all reached the UK top five and received lasting critical praise. After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single Ashes to Ashes, its parent album Scary Monsters , and Under Pressure, a 1981 collaboration with Queen. He then reached a new commercial peak in 1983 with Lets Dance, which yielded several hit singles. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including blue-eyed soul, industrial, adult contemporary, and jungle. He has not toured since the 2003–2004 Reality Tour and has not performed live since 2006. Bowies latest studio album, Blackstar , was released on 8 January 2016, his 69th birthday.
David Buckley says of Bowie: His influence has been unique in popular culture—he has permeated and altered more lives than any comparable figure. In the BBCs 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, Bowie was placed at number 29. Throughout his career, he has sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide. In the UK, he has been awarded nine Platinum album certifications, eleven Gold and eight Silver, and in the US, five Platinum and seven Gold certifications. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him 39th on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and 23rd on their list of the best singers of all time. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. (source : wikipedia)