The Short Lived, Long Regretted Darkness of David Bowie’s Fascist Persona of the ‘Thin White Duke’

In a somewhat disturbing episode of his incredibly informative video essays about music, YouTuber Polyphonic dove into the illustrious career of David Bowie to talk about one of the artist’s many personas – The Thin White Duke. This particular character was very short lived (and long regretted) who arose in 1975 with Station to Station and was based off his character from The Man Who Fell to Earth. The album featured a cold narrator who was looking for meaning in his life. At this time Bowie was completely consumed by his addiction to cocaine and had made a number of questionable statements with a fascist bent to the media. It wasn’t until Bowie left Los Angeles in 1976 for West Berlin on friend Iggy Pop‘s advice, that he would emerge completely rid of the Thin White Duke.

Thin White Duke got no dramatic death like Ziggy Stardust however. He had no public retirement, instead the character just faded away and became a demon of sorts forever lingering in Bowie’s past. Later in life Bowie would refer to that period as the darkest of his life, calling the Duke a nasty character indeed. And while he brought upon a twisted darkness, the Thin White Duke is also responsible for some of the best music that David Bowie ever made.