On this very date David Bowie unveiled his landmark album, ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars’. His breakthrough LP, it sells over 7 million copies and is hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time. As genius as it was it has to be said that without his Spiders Ziggy would have been nothing (or at least not a fraction of the success) Ronnos guitar playing was exceptional throughout as were the bass lines. Of course, the image was mind blowing even for the early ’70s.

The concept album serves as the introduction to Bowie’s most iconic of reincarnations: Ziggy Stardust, a flame-haired Martian messiah who visits Earth in an attempt to bring a message of hope to humanity in their final five years of existence. Flamboyantly dressed and dazzlingly androgynous, Stardust helps revolutionize ideas about gender and sexuality like never before.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars is recorded over a two-week period in November 1971 at London’s Trident Studios – the same place where The Beatles made “Hey Jude” in 1968. The legendary album cover depicts a resplendent Bowie posing outside of a Mayfair furriers named K. West.

The album peaks at #5 in the UK, and remains on that chart for two years, bolstered by a groundbreaking performance of “Starman” on Top of the Pops in July 1972.

Although “Ziggy played guitar” for the final time in July 1973, his blazing legacy lives on.  The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is about Bowie’s alter ego Ziggy Stardust, an androgynous bisexual rock star who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings (drugs who mentioned drugs). Bowie took Ziggy on tour through the United Kingdom, Japan, and North America. The album and the character of Ziggy Stardust explored themes of sexual exploration and social taboos and it wasn’t until that fateful night in The Hammersmith Odean that Ziggy made his last appearance as Bowie ruthlessly ended the characters existence.  this after shipping over seven million copies worldwide – still to this day an incredible decision from a man at the peak of his powers.  Amazingly the album only made it to number five in the UK charts whilst barely denting the US top 75!

 

Its no question one of the most influential albums for many reasons would there have been the huge new Romantic explosion of the post-punk 80s had it not been for Ziggy?  Also, it was a big influence on the UK punk scene with many of its detractors since citing this particular tour as being very influential fashionably and musically.

 

Track from the album has been covered many times over by many different artists including Bauhaus who did ‘Ziggy Stardust’ as did Def Leppard and RPM favourite Jeff Dahl.  ‘Moonage Daydream has also been covered by varied artists such as LA Guns, Mike Scott and Tim Wheeler of Ash. whereas ‘Suffragette City’ has been covered by such polar acts as Boy George, Steve Jones, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Turbonegro and god forbid Poison! As well as recently on volume 1 of The UK Subs covers album.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/entertainment-arts-17521244/site-of-ziggy-stardust-album-cover-shoot-marked-with-plaque

Recorded back in 1976 in Woodstock the late Great Mick Ronsons ‘Just Like This’  finally get the release this posthumous collection of recorded songs deserves.  Sure it only contains seven songs but the quality is awesome and the tracks themselves aren’t too shabby either.

The title track is a great riff that just seems to glide as the band hammer down that groove. It sort of sets the tone for what we are about to hear to be fair and on ‘Hard Life’ I love the way the band throws in a snippet of ‘Ziggy’ in the middle of the track as the band is locked in and jamming out.

Ronson is joined by Mick Barakan on Guitar & Backing Vocals, Jay Davis on Bass and Backing Vocals plus lead vocal on Takin’ a Train & Hey Grandma, whilst Bobby Chen plays Drums and Backing Vocals.  The songs are described as having a harder edge which is fair to say but the playing remains the (Not So)  secret weapon and the players involved recollect that they didn’t realise how good Mick was as a player until they got up close to the guy in the studio but you don’t get to work with the likes of Bowie, Hunter and Dylan by being average I guess.  It’s also mad to think that these tapes and songs might never have seen the light of day due to lack of funds at the time and the classic record label unhappy with what they were hearing now that would have been a tragedy had we never have been able to drop the needle on these tunes..

Original ‘1998’ tape restoration & mastering was re-done in 2018 Re-Mastering duties were handled by Anders Peterson at Ghost Mastering & Post, Sweden. It’s great that recordings like this aren’t lost forever and still people care enough to preserve them and sadly in Ronson’s absence us folks out on the high street can finally enjoy some fantastic musicians making music.

Officially endorsed by Ronsons family this edition comes on blood red vinyl and with great sleeve notes reminiscing about the recording of these tracks by the people who mattered but its the music that is captured in the grooves that shine brightest.  I love the laid-back groove of ‘I’d Give Anything To See You’ which has some amazing restrained playing and then to follow it up with ‘Takin’ A Train’ is sublime.

 

who wouldn’t love the full-tilt groove of ‘Hey Grandma’ but my favourite has to be the epic ‘Crazy Love’ where you can easily get lost inside some fantastic guitar playing. Long live the music of Mick Ronson –  Ronno On! indeed such a cool talent that’s greatly missed.

Buy Just Like This Here 

Author: Dom Daley