By Benoit Clerc

Of all the icons in rock music over the past 60 years, none bent genres, understood and incorporated the arc of fashion, and challenged the norms and boundaries of his own persona and the societies he inhabited quite like David Bowie did.  The Thin White Duke wasn’t afraid to morph and move ahead of the times, or define them as he danced in perfect lock-step with them.  In embodying such theatrics and character studies, sometimes the wealth of songs- the reason we’re all watching and listening to begin with- that Bowie gave the world can be underestimated.  Not so much the hits, which likely will be immortal, but those deeper album cuts, singles, collaborations, and outtakes that shaped the evolving identity as much as the chart-toppers marked it; maybe more so.  The 600 pages here cover it all; and with this edition Bowie joins other legends such as Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones honored in this series.  The intense detail that captures each song and the era it was created still is rather matter-of-fact and to the point, but no less comprehensive.  It’s always impressive to see a book giving nearly as much space to the mid-career experiments of Lodger as to the early smash, Space Oddity; including the story behind the latter’s renaming of Bowie’s eponymous ’69 LP.  David Bowie’s inclusion in this continuing and terrific series of song encyclopedias, and his implied induction into the pantheon of majestic artists it celebrates, is warranted with the turn of every page.