David Bowie real name: What is David Bowie’s real name? Why did he change it?

David Bowie is a name considered alongside the greats of music. Not only did he write and sing incredible songs, he also appeared in movies. However, David Bowie is not the name on his birth certificate.

What is David Bowie’s real name?

David Bowie was in fact born David Robert Jones on January 8, 1947.

Bowie was known for his various characters and decided to adopt a stage name which is likely to have helped him get better exposure as an artist.

His first name change was fairly subtle, and he just went by Davie/Davy Jones, likely to relate to Davy Jones’ Locker, or the bottom of the sea.

However, there was another singer who was already in the public eye who had a similar name happening – Davy Jones of The Monkees.

As a result, it looked as though Bowie would need a new name.

Dan Schreiber, No Such Thing as a Fish podcaster and QI researcher, revealed on Radio One’s Screen Time podcast there was a second name in the running before Bowie settled on his final screen moniker.

He claimed: “Before he got to David Bowie, he didn’t want to lose the Jones bit of his name.


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“So he changed his name and started recording as an artist under the name Tom Jones.

“And as he did that…Tom Jones exploded and he was like, ‘Come on man, what is this?’

“And eventually his third option was David Bowie.”

In trying to get away from being similar to Davy Jones, he accidentally came up with the same name as the Welsh songster who burst onto the scene with mega-hits such as It’s Not Unusual.


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With this, Bowie turned to some American inspiration, 1960 movie The Alamo.

Author John Lyons wrote in his book, America in the British Imagination: 1945 to the Present: “In 1965, David Jones adopted the name David Bowie in homage to Jim Bowie.”

Bowie is the film’s Texan rebel played by Richard Widmark, and it seems this could have been used as a way to show Americans his love and fascination with their country before venturing there on tour.

Sadly, however, Bowie seemed like he did not want to open up too much about why he changed his name, as he wrote to an American fan in 1967.

As written in TIME magazine, Bowie reportedly wrote: “In answer to your questions, my real name is David Jones and I don’t have to tell you why I changed it.

“‘Nobody’s going to make a monkey out of you’ said my manager.”

Clearly that last line shows how Bowie was attempting to be unique and unlike anyone else, especially any other band members.

But Bowie’s name will still go down in history, so it seems like he made the right choice.

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