The Economist’s obituary to David Bowie was as sensitive as the covert tributes in their subheadings, but it contained one erroneous detail that caught his cousin’s eye. “Mr Bowie grew up as David Jones,” the obituary read, “a sharp-toothed kid from dull suburban Bromley whose parents held no aspirations for him.”
Bowie’s cousin, Kristina Amadeus, wanted to correct that misperception, so she penned a response to the current affairs magazine. “It is not true,” she wrote. “David’s parents, especially his father, ‘John’ Jones, encouraged him from the time he was a toddler. His mother, Peggy, spoke often of our deceased grandfather, who was a bandmaster in the army and played many wind instruments.”
Amadeus goes on to detail the amazing and varied musical stimulation Bowie’s parents provided him: his first instruments were a plastic saxophone, a tin guitar and a xylophone, all of which he had before turning 13 – and as a child he even had his own record player, “when few children had one”.
And when Bowie was taken to the Royal Variety Performance in the late 50s, Amadeus remembers that David’s dad told famous 50s faces Dave King, Alma Cogan and Tommy Steele, “My son is going to be an entertainer too, aren’t you David?” to which Bowie replied, “Yes, Daddy”.
See Amadeus’ full tribute, which Bowie’s friend and fellow icon Brian Eno tweeted early this morning, below: