cover image Backstage Passes

Backstage Passes

Angela Bowie. Putnam Publishing Group, $22.95 (350pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13764-8

Neither coy nor restrained, and freed of a time-limited divorce-settlement clause that forbade her to discuss her marriage, the former Mrs. David Bowie describes in no uncertain terms the torrid ``open marriage'' she shared with the singer known as the Thin White Duke. The couple met in 1968, married in 1970, and were estranged long before their 1980 divorce. Here, Angela Bowie (nee Barnett, an American citizen born in Greece), with assistance from freelance journalist Carr, proudly affirms her bisexuality as well as that of her ``dear ex-husband,'' and describes with considerable relish their dalliances with sundry gender-benders of the glitterati. Sex and drugs far outweigh the rock 'n' roll: this is the book to read for details about David Bowie in bed with Mick Jagger; for the sexual scoop on Rod Stewart, Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull and numerous now-deceased performers. There are even some possibly supernatural phenomena. With its smutty anecdotes and barbed remarks about music-industry folk of the 1970s, this portrait may be ugly at times, but it's never dull. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC featured alternate. (Jan.)