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.