"It is significant in this context that the performers (Elton John, Alice Cooper, David Bowie) were more concerned to create spectacular stage personae than images of authenticity. This is particularly true for Bowie, whose systematic and self-conscious metamorphoses of persona (including his sexuality) and musical style represent a significant departure from the ideology of authenticity (see Curtis 1987:259). I have already suggested that rock musicians need to transform themselves periodically in order to keep up with the multiple and ever-changing definitions of rock authenticity: the photographs of the long-haired and bearded Beatles that accompanied the White Album were crucial in this regard. Bowie's distinctiveness lies not only in the frequency and extremity of his transformations but more importantly in his assertion of the conventionality and artificiality of all of his performance personae.
Contra rock's romantic ideology of self-expression, the singer's "self" is determined by the song, not vice versa. Bowie's strategy of mutating identities anticipated the devaluation of rock authenticity seen by some commentators as a hallmark of popular music culture in the 1980s, the age of the music video. The valorization of authenticity appeared to have given way to a "logic of authentic inauthenticity" in which "the only possible claim to authenticity is derived from the knowledge and admission of your inauthenticity (Grossberg 1993: 205-6), knowledge that Bowie had foregrounded ten years before MTV. Bowie's deconstruction of rock authenticity also anticipates Frith's (1988b:91) video-era identification of "the rock version of the postmodern condition: a media complex in which music has meaning only as long as it keeps circulating, 'authentic' sounds are recognized by their place in a system of signs, and rock history only matters as a resource for recurrent pastiche."
Auslander, Philip. "Seeing is Believing," Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture. 1999. Second ed. (New York: Routledge, 2008) 101-102