Bowie marks his big five with bash for balding fans

by Charles Laurence / Daily Telegraph

11th January 1997

David Bowie, the Man Who Fell to Earth in the south London suburb of Beckenham, celebrated his 50th birthday last night with a high-wattage birthday concert in New York.

The audience was heavy with thickening waistlines and shimmering with balding heads. Some had retrieved well-worn leather jeans and sparkly disco tops from the far corners of their wardrobes, others had hurried from work pulling ties from the collars of pressed white shirts. Another vintage British rocker had reached that certain age.

He stepped from the microphone on a stage littered with the paraphernalia of the Glitter Rock he launched back in 1970, and accepted a cake with five candles. The audience reciprocated with an impromptu Happy Birthday To You. “It’s been a fantastic birthday. For 35 of the last 50 years, it’s been a fantastic ride,” he said.

Bowie’s extravaganza in Madison Square Garden set a new landmark in the commercial endurance of British pop, for he represents a second generation of stars to have reached their 50th birthday while still filling the world’s concert halls.

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