The two musicians, as well as legendary producer Sir George Martin – often named ‘The Fifth Beatle’ for his work with the Fab Four – are among 228 contemporary figures who have been added to the book’s newest edition.
To celebrate the new year, we have added over 200 British lives to our January ODNB update, including glam rocker David Bowie, vocalist George Michael, actor Alan Rickman, and architect Zaha Hadid #ODNB2020 https://t.co/sVG5FWf11l pic.twitter.com/mgPKVej4Fs
— National Biography (@odnb) January 9, 2020
New entries are only allowed to be added following their death, with all of 2020’s additions having died in 2016. They bring the the total number of articles in the dictionary to 61,411, which covers the lives of 63,693 people.
Bowie’s entry says that “arguably, his greatest legacy was in challenging and transgressing the gendered boundaries of his youth.”
David Bowie, singer/songwriter, Starman, and popular culture icon, was born #OnThisDay in 1947. Bowie will be one of over 200 extraordinary lives added in the #ODNB2020 update, available tomorrow. Be sure to check back for our Bowie entry, among many others @DavidBowieReal pic.twitter.com/psAjW28eel
— National Biography (@odnb) January 8, 2020
Martin is noted as a “musical giant,” while Michael is recognised for his “phenomenally successful pop group Wham!,” and for “a solo career which saw him top the UK singles and album charts seven times each and sell more than 80 million records worldwide.”
Outside of music, the likes of broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan, Labour politician Jo Cox, actor Alan Rickman, as well as drug-smuggler and subsequent author Howard Marks, were also added.
Yesterday (January 8) would have been Bowie’s 73rd birthday, while tomorrow (January 10) is the fourth anniversary of his death.
His birthday was marked yesterday by a special church bell rendition of ‘Life On Mars’ by a church in Amsterdam, and by a screening of previously unseen footage at an event at Leicester’s National Space Centre.