David Bowie and George Michael named among the most influential people in British history

Sir George Martin was also named among those recognised

David Bowie and George Michael are among the new additions to The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, a book that compiles the life stories of the most influential people in British history.

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.


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.”

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.

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