David Bowie thanked his childhood friend for punching him in the face, after the blow gave the star his different coloured eyes.George Underwood, who was friends with Bowie from the age of nine, punched the singer when they were teenagers after they both became romantically interested in the same girl.Describing the incident as a “short-lived falling out” in 1962, Mr Underwood told the Telegraph that tensions boiled over after Bowie meddled in his attempt to take Carol Goldsmith out on a date after she came to his 15th birthday party.“Just to get the story straight, it was about a girl we both fancied,” Mr Underwood, now an artist, said. “She came to my 15th birthday party – everyone was drunk at about eight, including David.“I was sensible and managed a date with her. David phoned me on the day and said she had told him she didn’t want to meet me because she wanted to go out with him.”However, this did not stop Mr Underwood from going down to their local youth club later that evening, only to find out that Miss Goldsmith had been waiting for him all along. The scrap left Bowie with a blue right eye, whilst his left appeared dark or brown, after he reportedly suffered a deep corneal abrasion and paralysis of his iris sphincter muscle.His different coloured eyes have been described as “one of the enduring legends” behind his “genuinely unearthly aura” that made him – and his alter ego, Ziggy Stardust – so distinctive.“The uncanny appearance of Bowie’s eyes was ideal for a performer who embraced ideas of the alien, the outsider, the otherworldly and the occult,” Kevin Hunt, senior lecturer in design and visual culture at Nottingham Trent University, wrote in the Independent.“In an increasingly visual world seemingly preoccupied by perfection, Bowie’s damaged left pupil became an intrinsic and arresting part of his enigmatic identity,” he said.He embraced his iconic feature right up to his death in 2016, with his different coloured eyes featuring in the advertising campaign for his last album Blackstar. Throughout his career, he produced 27 studio albums, 128 singles, four soundtracks and 72 music videos.Bowie – whose real name is David Robert Jones – was born in 1947 and raised in Bromley, east London.He met Mr Underwood when they were nine-years-old after enrolling for the Cubs in 1956 and they both later went on to study at Bromley Tech school. “So I was very p*ssed off with him, and in the morning I got on the bus to school and overheard him talking about this girl he was going out with,” he said. “At break time I hit him [inadvertently causing one pupil to become permanently dilated, so Bowie’s eyes appeared to be different colours]. Later David said I did him a favour – everyone talks about his eyes, don’t they?” “We started talking, mostly about music,” Mr Underwood said. “When we got a bit older, we used to go around Bromley High Street chatting up girls and trying to impress people. David was just learning how to do that.”Despite their falling out, the pair remained friends for the rest of their lives and played in several bands together. “I got out of the music business; painting was all I wanted to do. And David progressed into the stratosphere. People ask: ‘Did you always know he was going to be such a massive star?’ Of course not, no one knew,” Mr Underwood said. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.