Of all the characters that David Bowie has created and embodied over time, Ziggy Stardust, created fifty years ago, is without a doubt the one who made a lasting impression.
Ziggy Stardust was officially born on April 28, 1972, when the song was released. Starman / Suffragette CityAs a preface to the album, which was released on June 16 of the same year under the extended title The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. An accessible album, a archetype of glam rock, which highlights the tracks of guitarist Mark Ronson, and remains to this day a great center of hit songs, Starman in Suffragette City, Ziggy Stardust where Rock’n’Roll’s suicide.
This alter ego, which finally made him gain fame after years of trying to breakout without lasting success, is amazing. Bowie dyes his hair orange, wears make-up, and sports in futuristic tight and androgynous costumes, unheard of at the time. Long fascinated by science fiction and space travel (already discussed in his song space oddities), Bowie presents this double as an alien rock star who came to Earth with a message of hope, because humanity only has five years to live.
As if this play wasn’t enough, he threw the genre in a very avant-garde fashion by claiming in the music press at the same time that he was “gay,” while living with his wife Angie and their child. the singer “He frequents nightclubs associated with gay culture, without being primarily gay, he loves pictures‘, confirms Jerome Solini, author of david bowie rainbow mana reference work published by Gallimard in two volumes.
To improve his plan, David Bowie developed with his music, they called Spiders from Mars (The Martian Spiders), a real show inspired by mime and kabuki, rather than a simple concert. He spends months designing the costumes and image of this collection in which he wants to outdo Marc Pollan and Alice Cooper. Jackpot win. The media pays attention to him, without being able to recognize him, maintaining his mysterious aura.
The artist imposes himself in the media as a star when he is not. Ziggy’s first concerts on the outskirts of London did not attract a crowd. His performance in Top of The Pops on BBC in July 1972 (above) changed everything: he played starman And it excites millions of British viewers, especially the young ones. From then on, it will symbolize modernity. His album is exploding.
Bowie is the subject of such adulation that blurs the lines between Bowie and Ziggy. Everyone treats him as if he was the strange, powerful character that he created. It will put a drastic end to it.
In the summer of 1973, at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, while director D.A. Pennebaker’s cameras were filming the concert, the last on a triumphant international tour, Bowie symbolically killed his character: he announced that it was from Ziggy Stardust’s last show, he announced Rock’n’Roll’s suicideThe album’s final title.
Fans are devastated: they fear that they will never see their idol again. It will take a while for Ziggy to “die,” because Bowie keeps the hairstyle and fittings for the next two albums, Aladdin Sani (1973) with his famous flash on his face then Pin-up (1973), a cover album recorded at the Château d’Hérouville near Paris. it’s with diamond dogs (1974), in which only the mane of fire remained on the cover, which Bowie finally broke up with Ziggy Stardust. Now he is a boy, he will be considered soon”rock chameleon“.
To mark the 50th anniversary of this cult album, Parlophone is publishing a limited edition restyled half-speed vinyl and picture discs from the original masters of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The photo disc is accompanied by a copy of the promotional poster advertising the album.