FIRST PERSON

How David Bowie pronounced “Bowie”

Obsession
Language
Obsession
Language

So is it pronounced “BAO-ee,” like to take a bow? Or is it “BOH-ee,” like a bow and arrow? Or maybe even “BOO-ee,” as American pioneer and Alamo fighter Jim Bowie put it.

Here’s British comedian Ricky Gervais, who worked with David Bowie on his TV series “Extras,” taking a stab (0:47):

And here are some newspaper headlines in British tabloid The Sun in which the puns also rely on the “BAO-ee” interpretation, common in Bowie’s native England.

What does the man himself say? In response to a playlist Gervais complied for Q magazine, he wrote:

I think you’ll agree it’s a pretty cool list, particularly as it’s from someone who doesn’t even pronounce Bowie correctly. Sorry Ricky, it had to be said! ;-)

On The Sun’s headline puns, he pulled no punches:

The headlines for both pieces, DAVID MIAOWIE and DAVID BOW-WOWIE prove that even after almost 35 years of Bowie chart action and world-wide fame, the tabloid press still hasn’t grasped the pronunciation of Bowie.

Finally, here’s Bowie on “Bowie” (0:03):

That should settle it.

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