This is the first time he's written original music for TV or film in 20 years
Alexandra Pollard

17:25 22nd September 2015

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David Bowie has written an original song for the forthcoming thriller The Last Panthers - the first time he's contributed original music for film or TV in 20 years.

The brand new song will feature in the opening credits for the European crime thriller, which will be broadcast in six instalments on Sky Atlantic in the UK this autumn.

Bowie's contribution came after he met the series director Johan Renck during the filming of the show. In a statement, Renck explained, "I was looking for one of the icons of my youth to write the music for the title sequence, but was presented with a God. His first response was precise, engaged and curious."

He continued, "The piece of music he laid before us embodied every aspect of our characters and the series itself - dark, brooding, beautiful and sentimental (in the best possible incarnation of this word). All along, the man inspired and intrigued me and as the process passed, I was overwhelmed with his generosity. I still can't fathom what actually happened..."

The Last Panthers, which stars Samantha Morton alongside Tahar Rahim, John Hurt and Goran Bogdan, "delves into the dark heart of Europe where a shadowy alliance of gangsters and 'banksters' now rule."

Bowie's song, which is currently untitled, will be revealed later this year.

Meanwhile, Bowie's been a busy man penning music for a Spongebob Squarepants musical and Lazarus - a stage show of his own, based on the iconic film The Man Who Fell To Earth

He releases the compilation box set Five Years on Friday (25 September)

  • Noel Gallagher: At the age of 13, Gallagher received six months probation for stealing from a corner shop. During these six months, with precious little else to do, he decided to teach himself to play a guitar his father had left him. Crime pays, kids.

  • Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl: "I never took lessons to play the drums, I learned how to do it on my bed, by listening to fucking Rush records and punk rock," Grohl explained. "I took one drum lesson, and he was like, 'How do you hold your sticks?! Yeah that's not how you're supposed to hold them', and I was like, 'OK I don't have 30 dollars an hour to sit here and re-learn everything'."

  • Prince: Not content to merely teach himself to be a pro at one instrument, Prince taught himself piano at 7 (the age at which he wrote his first song, with the ever-apt title 'Funk Machine'), guitar at 13 and drums at 14. It paid off - by the age of 20, he'd signed a contract with Warner Bros.

  • Eminem: Marshall Mathers dropped out of high school at 17 and had to repeat ninth grate several times. Instead of via traditional education, he honed his talent for lyricism by spending hours reading the dictionary.

  • Babes In Toyland's Lori Barbero: As a member of '90s grunge band Babes In Toyland, Lori Barbero inspired a generation of musicians to take their chance in the spotlight. She wasn't always going to be a drummer though - she only took up the instrument when at lead singer Kat Bjelland's request.

  • The Who's Keith Moon: After receiving a handful of rudimentary 30-minute lessons from Carlo Little, one of the first drummers for the Rolling Stones (who was also self-taught) at the age of 16, Moon never took another lesson again. Despite this, he is still widely considered as one of the best drummers of all time.

  • Anna Calvi: "I taught myself guitar," Calvi told Interpol's Paul Banks a few years back. "I listened to a lot of guitarists—Jimi Hendrix, Django Reinhardt—when I was a kid, and I really got into making the guitar sound like other instruments and using it as an extension of my voice. I think not having taken lessons really helped me develop my own style and my own language with the instrument."

  • Arctic Monkeys' Matt Helders: Helders didn't even begin drumming until Arctic Monkeys began. While learning, he would play along to rap and hip hop albums, because they tended to have a slower pace than the rock music his band intended on making. Over a decade later, with the release of AM, Helders' hip hop beginnings shone through.

  • David Bowie: Bowie has taught himself such an overwhelming number of disciplines that we won't have room to list them all here. He took some lessons on saxophone as a teenager, but taught himself piano, guitar, harmonica, koto, bass and percussion. Then, just to branch out, he taught himself painting, sculpture and mime. As you do.

  • Slipknot's Paul Gray: The bassist and co-founder of the metal band, who tragically died of a morphine overdose in 2010, always insisted, "I am self-taught - never took any lessons." Clearly, he didn't need to.

  • Eric Clapton: Clapton was given an acoustic guitar by his grandparents as a thirteenth birthday present. It wasn't until a few years later that he became serious about the instrument though, and he taught himself to play by studying blues chords for hours and hours at a time.

  • Jimi Hendrix: The left-handed guitarist is considered one of the greatest in history - and yet, his musical education as a child involved him carrying round a broomstick and pretending to play it. His school's social worker unsuccessfully attempted to find funding for a guitar, but he resorted to playing along to Elvis songs with a ukulele that only had one string. He finally bought his first guitar for 5 dollars at the age of 15, restrung it upside down so he could play left-handed, and taught himself for several hours a day.

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