Bowie exhibition charts life of pop's ultimate Starman
March 22, 2013 -- Updated 1107 GMT (1907 HKT)
David Bowie's electric performance of "Starman" on the BBC program "Top of the Pops" in July 1972 wearing this vivid outfit cemented his status in Britain. DJ Marc Riley said it "lit the touchpaper for thousands of kids," thanked in no small measure by Bowie's homoerotic stage play with guitarist Mick Ronson.
A history of David Bowie in 15 objects
Musical instrument, 1961
Musical instrument, 1969
Song lyrics, 1972
Sketches and notes, 1973/4
Drugs paraphernalia, 1974
Musical instrument, 1974
- Doors to open on exhibition of life of David Bowie at V&A museum in London
- His 27th studio album, "The Next Day," is riding high at the top of UK charts
- "David Bowie Is" chronicles Bowie's long career as singer, musician and actor
- Exhibition features for the first time more than 300 objects from Bowie's life
London (CNN) -- David Bowie always did have impeccable timing. He released his song about a doomed astronaut, "Space Oddity," just days before the 1969 Moon landing. Four years later he killed off his most famous creation, the other-worldly "Ziggy Stardust," just at the point it threatened to overwhelm him.
More than 130 million record sales later, Bowie is back after a relatively quiet decade (he underwent emergency heart surgery in 2004). He celebrated his 66th birthday in January by releasing "Where Are We Now," his first song for more than 10 years, without any warning. His 27th studio album, "The Next Day," is riding high at the top of UK charts, earning critical acclaim.
This weekend the doors will open on an extraordinary exhibition of Bowie's life and career at the V&A Museum in London.
Exhibition charts Bowie's amazing career
"David Bowie Is" chronicles the rise of an unknown singer called David Jones from the south London suburbs through his "Ziggy Stardust" heyday and his later ground-breaking years spent holed up in Berlin. It also takes in his many acting roles and acclaimed fashion designs over the years.
Read why Bowie is back to his mysterious best
Old friends talk about David Bowie
Designing David Bowie's big comeback
David Bowie retrospective
The exhibition's curators, Geoffrey Marsh and Victoria Broackes, have had full access to the star's archives, which means they have almost everything worth having. "Most bands go bust or split up," says Marsh, "so to find a collection in one place which represents 40 or 50 years is pretty rare.
"There's a whole generation which has grown up with him and although they find the idea of him in a museum a bit strange I think the fact that he can do that and produce a successful new album at the same time actually shows what a remarkable person he is."
The exhibition features for the first time more than 300 objects from Bowie's life, from amazing stage outfits to rare photographs from the early years, videos of outstanding live performances screened in a thunderously loud surround-sound cinema, Bowie's own musical instruments, record cover designs and paintings.
"When you see the costumes close up it is really thrilling," says Broackes. "Nothing beats it really in this age -- when you can do so many things in other ways -- actually seeing the real thing. You might have seen it on TV, you might have seen it on stage or on film, but to see for example the 'Ashes to Ashes' costume close up it's pretty fantastic. We've also got the Ziggy costumes and they're amazing."
The exhibition is creating almost as much of a buzz as Bowie's new music, reflecting the unique position he holds in the British arts and music landscape. As Broackes says: "Bowie's permeated every area of our culture. He is no ordinary pop star."
"David Bowie Is" at the V&A in central London, and runs from March 23 until August 11.
Part of complete coverage on
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 1527 GMT (2327 HKT)
The U.S. huffing over Ukraine jars with many after recent U.S.-led interventions, writes Simon Tisdall.
March 8, 2014 -- Updated 0354 GMT (1154 HKT)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is unapologetic about his government's response to opposition protesters.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1653 GMT (0053 HKT)
He's 12 years old and going blind -- so his parents are taking him on a trip to fill his world with beautiful images.
Track star Oscar Pistorius is accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Follow live updates of South Africa's trial of the century.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1357 GMT (2157 HKT)
To celebrate International Women's Day, CNN's Leading Women is inviting you to a Tweetchat.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Women journalists in the testosterone-fueled world of sports are still the target of abuse.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1027 GMT (1827 HKT)
Photographer Zack Seckler's series presents Botswana from between 50 and 500 feet, providing a unique view of the savannah.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 0218 GMT (1018 HKT)
Concorde is a thing of the past, but a number of companies are racing to release the first supersonic business jet.
March 9, 2014 -- Updated 0228 GMT (1028 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 1852 GMT (0252 HKT)
From U.S. President Obama's phone call to Russian President Putin, to a python swallowing a crocodile, browse photos from last week.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 0543 GMT (1343 HKT)
Did you know that the idea to mark road surfaces reportedly came from watching a milk truck drip milk on the road?
The undersea cables wiring the Earth: this is what the Internet actually looks like.
Today's five most popular stories