Published Oct 23, 2009If you've ever wondered why David Bowie's eyes have looked so mismatched on many an album cover, the singer has revealed the reason - love rivalry. As Bowie told Mark Spitz for his new biography on the 62-year-old star, he was involved in a dust-up in his teens that left his eyes looking very different from one another and Bowie feeling "embarrassed" and "self-conscious."
"When I was 14 I fell in love with a girl. I was crazy about her. Only trouble was, my best mate had a bit of a soft spot for her too, but I was the winner," the Daily Express quotes Bowie as saying. "I moved in before he'd even made up his mind about how to approach her. Next day I was at school boasting to my mate about what a Casanova I was and he became terribly annoyed. In fact he threw a punch at me.
"It caught me in the eye and I stumbled against a wall and onto my knees. At first he thought I was kidding. It wasn't a very hard punch but obviously caught me at a rather odd angle."
For the biography, Sptiz even went through the trouble of tracking down Bowie's rival at the time, George Underwood, who gave his side of the story. "He knew damn well why I did it. We both wanted to go out with her and I was lucky enough to get a date," said Underwood.
"On the day of the date David rang me up and said that she had to cancel. So I didn't go but he had made up the whole story. The girl stood around for over an hour waiting for me as I discovered later. It was a bastard thing to do and I was furious with him, so it developed into a fight between us. And during the punch-up I caught his eye with a fingernail."
Following the incident, Bowie was hospitalised and doctors discovered the sphincter muscles of his left eye were badly torn. This prevented the pupil from dilating or contracting, and while the doctors saved the eye, it left Bowie with permanently mismatched eyes.
Bowie adds, "For quite a while I was very embarrassed about it. Although I could see very well out of the eye, it made me self-conscious."