Share & Connect
On June 6 1972, one of the best rock albums of all times, ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,’ was released by British iconic musician David Bowie. Forty years after its release, this astonishing concept album still sounds of an incredible relevance, which makes it hard to believe the songs were written more than 40 years ago. In the album, Bowie exceptionally succeeds in merging the disappointment and discouragement towards the world, with the hope for its future, through a magic execution of a delirious, and yet lucid, vision.
Bowie set the scenario of Ziggy Stardust’s story to the Rolling Stone magazine. “The time is five years to go before the end of the earth. It has been announced that the world will end because of lack of natural resources. Ziggy is in a position where all the kids have access to things that they thought they wanted. The older people have lost all touch with reality and the kids are left on their own to plunder anything. Ziggy was in a rock-and-roll band and the kids no longer want rock-and-roll.” It could have been written today.
Ziggy Stardust has become a legendary persona, created and then impersonated by Bowie himself for about a year. Ziggy is an alien manifesting under human species; his aim is to carry to humans a message of hope during the last five years of existence. He is an androgynous figure, who became the poster boy of glam rock.
Ziggy Stardust is a rock star walking his talent through the path of success. Success and excesses end up killing Ziggy, destroyed by his fans and the fanaticism he created himself, as defined in the ending of the track ‘Ziggy Stardust’ “Making love with his ego, Ziggy sucked up into his mind, like a leper messiah. When the kids had killed the man, I had to break up the band.” A very pertinent story to many rock stars that have made the history of music as we know it.
Bowie composed the songs contained in the concept album as a soundtrack for a show telling the story of Ziggy Stardust. A documentary and concert movie about the figure and its story was released in 1973. The film features Bowie and the Spiders from a Mars’ concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on July 3, 1973. That was the end of the Ziggy Stardust persona: Bowie never played as that character ever again.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary, The Crown Estate recently installed a commemorative plaque at 23 Heddon Street, London. That is the place where Bowie posed as Ziggy Stardust for the album cover, marking the actual landing of the character on earth. The plaque is one of the few ones dedicated to imaginary figures. Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet was invited to unveil the plaque, he said, “Ziggy was the ultimate messianic rock star, and with him David Bowie successfully blurred the lines not just between boys and girls, but himself and his creation. Bowie was Ziggy come to save us.’
The restaurants and bars of Heddon Street, London, are going to host the ultimate celebration in honor of Ziggy Stradust on June 6. An atmosphere dedicated to the Stardust theme will surround the places, which will serve special meals and cocktails named after Ziggy’s story. Furthermore a Ziggy tribute artist will perform the tracks of Bowie’s concept album.
With the occasion of the anniversary, on June 4th June 2012, EMI released a special 40th anniversary remastered edition of the album, on CD, vinyl and DVD. The anniversary edition can be purchased here.
Image Courtesy of David Bowie (Official)