ARTIST: David Bowie
TITLE: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
YEAR RELEASED: 1972
CHART ACTION: #21 US, #5 UK
SINGLES: Starman (#65 US, #10 UK), Rock and Roll Suicide (#22 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Lady Stardust, Ziggy Stardust, Suffragette City
LINEUP: David Bowie, Mick Robnson, Trevor Bolder, Mick Woodmansey. Rick Wakeman played on a track.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A cultural touchstone of the glam movement and an influence to punk and art-rock for 70’s kids in the UK.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Sure, a dystopian concept album had been done before, and an album where music was going to save the kids had been done before. Also, albums done as a ‘character’ had been done before. Why was this such a success?
In short, the music, lyrics, and total commitment by Bowie to the Ziggy Stardust persona and the theme, which was intentional, or perhaps serendipity. Ziggy also spoke to disaffected, questioning youth everywhere. His clothes, his sexuality, everything. It spoke to those kids.
This is Bowie maturing as a songwriter and hitting the right note with everything on the record. The riffs, tones, and arrangements are on point. Even the cover song, “It Ain’t Easy”, fit right in. Today, the record can still speak to everyone, and that in itself is remarkable.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: It was said that Ziggy was influenced by Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, and some others, like Vince Taylor
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, some outtakes and B-sides (like “Velvet Goldmine”) and a stand alone single “John, I’m Only Dancing (#12 UK)
GRADE A+: It’s Bowie’s best and it still resonates.