AUSTIN (KXAN) — The story you may not know is how David Bowie got his iconic stage name and how it was inspired by Texas history.
David Robert Jones was born on Jan. 8, 1947, in Brixton, London. At a young age, he picked up the saxophone and started playing in bands. This gave him an introduction to the music world. In 1966, he would change his name to David Bowie.
“He changed his name when he was 18 to avoid confusion with another British musician of the same name, Davy Jones, who later became the frontman for The Monkees,” TIME reports.
In a search for a new name, David drew inspiration from Texas and the Alamo.
“David Jones adopted the name David Bowie in homage to Jim Bowie,” author John Lyons wrote in his book, America in the British Imagination: 1945 to the Present. Lyons also wrote that David was a fan of the 1960 film, The Alamo, directed by John Wayne.
James Bowie, also known as Jim Bowie, was a land speculator and slave trader known for his role in the Battle of the Alamo. Texas named a city and county after him. There’s also a school in Austin and El Paso named James Bowie High School.
He’s also credited alongside his brothers for the knife we call the Bowie knife. David Bowie’s artistry was compared to the knife in a 1974 issue of Rolling Stone.
“The name Bowie just appealed to me when I was younger. I was into a kind of heavy philosophy thing when I was 16 years old, and I wanted a truism about cutting through the lies and all that,” Bowie told William Burroughs for Rolling Stone.
The battle that remains is why the two are pronounced differently.