8 moments that made David Bowie an Icon

The 10th of January marks six years since David Bowie's death, shortly after what would have been his 75th birthday. In honour of this anniversary, Kindred. is looking back at some of the moments that made him a music and style icon.

Space Oddity

In 1969 Bowie released his first big hit – Space Oddity. Its release coincided with the moon landing, but the song was in fact inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The now-iconic song introduced us to Major Tom who would later appear in Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes and Hallo Spaceboy and set Bowie on the path to stardom.

David Bowie in concert at Earl’s Court in London
David Bowie in concert at Earl’s Court in London - May 1973 - Source: Ilpo Musto/Shuttertock

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars

His fifth album, released in 1972 - Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars - is arguably what cemented Bowie as an icon. Through his stage persona - Ziggy Stardust - Bowie was able to celebrate and explore his sexuality and androgyny on stage. Preforming, as ‘Ziggy’, Bowie wore an array of colourful leotards which challenged traditions and would go on to inspire fellow artists for generations.

The Red Mullet

The red mullet that Bowie donned during the Ziggy Stardust era deserves a separate honourable mention. The hair colour and style are now synonymous with David Bowie and proves how Bowie was able to use his aesthetic to become more than a rock star – placing him firmly among the icons of the 20th century.

David Bowie preforming as Ziggy Stardust
David Bowie preforming as Ziggy Stardust on LWT TV series ‘Russell Harty Plus’ - 1973 - Source: Shutterstock

Aladdin Sane

Bowie’s 1973 Aladdin Sane album cover could not go unmentioned. The cover is arguably one of the most recognisable album covers of all time, with the red and blue lightning bolt becoming a symbol of the famed artist.

Bowie Brixton Memorial
David Bowie fans meet up at the Bowie Brixton Memorial to remember the famous pop star that passed away on the 10th January 2016 - Source: Penelope Barritt/Shutterstock

1983 interview with MTV

As an artist who deeply relied on MTV for his career, it would be easy for David Bowie to stay quiet regarding its lack of diversity in the 1980s. However, during his 1983 interview with MTV, he challenged the channel when he asked why so few black artists were being featured.


In his 1986 performance as the Goblin King in the Labyrinth, Bowie once again proved himself an icon. The cult classic sees Bowie in tights and a codpiece performing ‘Magic Dance’ and other songs, next to his co-stars – puppets. The charisma and magnitude of his performance as the Goblin King grants him icon status.

Alexander McQueen Union Jack coat

Pairing the work of Alexander McQueen with the likes of David Bowie was only ever going to have one outcome – something iconic. The result of Bowie’s commission of McQueen was the now-iconic Union Jack Coat that Bowie wore in 1996 for his Outside tour.


Perfectly timed to be released before his death in 2016 the release of Blackstar in 2016 proves David Bowie's icon status is eternal. Recorded in secret and released on the 8th of January 2016 as a parting gift, the album demonstrates how Bowie continually surprised us throughout his career.

Tributes to David Bowie in New York
Flowers and personal notes are seen at a makeshift memorial outside the apartment building where David Bowie lived in New York - 12th January, 2016 - Source: Xinhua/Shutterstock

What were your favourite Bowie moments? Let us know in the comments!