August 1, 2014 at 20:37

Heroes: David Bowie and Berlin by Tobias Rüther
Sept 2014 (UK) / Oct 2014 (North America)

In 1976 David Bowie left Los Angeles and the success of his celebrated albums Young Americans and Station to Station and settled in Berlin, where he would work on his ‘Berlin Triptych’, the albums Low, ‘Heroes’, and Lodger, which are now considered some of the most critically acclaimed and innovative of the late twentieth century. But Bowie’s time in Berlin was about more than producing new music. As explained in this fascinating account of the Berlin years, Bowie moved to that city – the capital of his childhood dreams and the home of Expressionist art – to repair his body and mind from the devastation of drug addiction, delusions and mania. In the course of this rehabilitation he became an artist of extraordinary brilliance and originality.

In Heroes: David Bowie and Berlin, Tobias Rüther describes Bowie’s friendships and collaborations with Iggy Pop, Brian Eno and Tony Visconti, and paints a vivid picture of his life in the city’s Schöneberg area. Here Bowie started to paint again, and would cycle to the Die Brücke museum as well as explore the nightlife of the city – its wild side and gay scene. He also became close friends with Romy Haag. At Hansa Studios, a stone’s throw from the Berlin Wall, Bowie recorded his groundbreaking song ‘Heroes’. He even landed the part of a Prussian aristocrat in Just a Gigolo, starring alongside Marlene Dietrich.

Berlin was then a divided city at a turning-point: at that time West Berlin began to redefine itself as a cultural metropolis, establishing its new role in Germany and the world. Neutralized politically due to the Cold War, Berlin turned to the arts to start its history anew. This book is the story of an artist and a city – the story of the music of the future arising from the spirit of the past.



Tobias Rüther is a journalist at Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung.



‘an engaging, scholarly study, which puts Bowie in the context of heavyweights like Michel Foucault, Max Frisch and Erich Heckel, who inspired the cover art for “Heroes”.’ – Paul Burston, The Independent