The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars by David Bowie
Stunned By Life On Mars
In my David Bowie post that followed the news of his passing I shared three of his great albums yet failed to feature the legendary The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. This exclusion was partially because it seemed to be the only thing the media and lamenters were mentioning in remembering Bowie, and partly because I myself hadn't yet realized its impact nor its simply stunning awesomeness. So, allow me to briefly remark upon it now.
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust released in 1972. With bountiful ballads and bangers the album tells the tale of an androgynous, promiscous Martian superstar who descends upon the Earth as a harbinger of hope in Earth's final years. As rockstar incarnate, Ziggy is inevitably consumed by his destructive lifestlye, his expanding ego, and his crazed disciples. Throughout the Ziggy Stardust Tour and for a time after, David Bowie assumed the Ziggy Stardust persona. The arrival of this controversial character shocked audiences in the UK and abroad, but Bowie's stardom quickly followed a similar trajectory to that of the Starman from his songs. (The 1972 “Top of the Pops” BBC broadcast featured above certainly played its part. I mean he DID pick on you-hoo-oo.)
Sonically, the album finds a firm footing between the glamorous pop of Hunky Dory and the hard rock of The Man Who Sold the World, his two previous albums. The narrative of Ziggy Stardust is seductively woven together in blues and ballads and glamourous soul rock, meanwhile Mick Ronson's guitar absolutely shreds.
Altogether unforgettable. Altogether wonderful. Oh, gimme your hands!
Thanks, David Jones.
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