When this album was released in 1972, it was nearly the cause for this Dog to dye his hair fluorescent orange and effect blue eye shadow. Fortunately a stout collar and lead were put in place before this manifestation took place. But nonetheless, this album had a profound effect on the history of rock ‘n’ roll.
In soccer parlance, this album took David Bowie from a relegation candidate in Division Three to a Premier League champion in the blink of a mascara adorned eye. When Bowie created Ziggy Stardust, he created a monster that would take him on one of the most exciting roller-coaster rides in the history of the entertainment industry.
The songs that Bowie wrote for this album were his strongest so far. Also, by taking the heavy rock from the previous year’s “Man Who Sold The World” and the power pop of “Hunky Dory”, which was only six months old, he created the perfect concept album. Bowie then had the musical nuance to pick the perfect musicians to make his dreams of stardom come true.
With the band standing satin-trousered beside Bowie, Mick Ronson tore every ounce of emotion from his guitars and pushed Bowie’s songs into another dimension. Listen to the gut wrenching savagery of “Moonage Daydream” (the guitar solo at the end of which has often been imitated but never bettered), the glittering riffs in the title track, and the sheer unadulterated, irresistible boogie of “Suffragette City”. This makes you realize that Bowie could never have done this without the platinum haired Spider from Hull, Mick Ronson.
The lyrics are thrust in your face and rammed down your throat. Then there are Bowie’s excursions into the future, such as the image heavy “Star Man” – He’d like to come and meet us but he thinks he’d blow our minds. This is followed by the album’s final number, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide”, which also closed the live set, with the vocalist entreating the audience to ‘hold’ him before he’s taken away.
Nevertheless, Bowie would soon tire of the Ziggy persona (splitting up the Spiders at the peak of their powers). This dramatic music with its swaggering saxophones, rough edged guitars, tinkling piano, bombastic drumming and its crisp production cut a swathe through the music industry. It created its own category of glam rock and also changed fashion forever.
The concerts were amazing but you had to have the music and this album was full of cutting-edge songs that hold up decades later.
Climb into your platform boots, shake out your spandex and, as the Leper Messiah preached, “Let your imagination soar”.
5 stars for the Starman.
David Bowie – vocals, and acoustic guitars
Mick Ronson – guitar and production
Trevor Bolder – bass guitar (and the most spectacular sideburns ever seen)
Woody Woodmansy – drums
It Ain’t Easy
Hang Onto Yourself
Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide
Note: Written By Mott The Dog and Hells Bells who can be found in another time warp at Jameson’s The Irish Pub, Soi AR, North Pattaya.