Friday, November 24, 1972

David Bowie “Ziggy Stardust” released as a B-side

Ziggy Stardust

David Bowie

Writer(s): David Bowie (see lyrics here)


Released: November 24, 1972


Peak: 2 CL, 4 CO, 2 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.2 UK


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 53.1 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

David Bowie’s fifth album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, was the one that made him a superstar. He conceived Ziggy Stardust as a bisexual rock star sent to Earth to stave off an impending apocalyptic disaster. Bowie drew inspiration for the character from Vince Taylor. Bowie met the English singer after he’d had a breakdown and thought he was a cross between a god and an alien. WK

The name of the character was inspired by Norman Carl Odam, a performer known as the Legendary Stardust Cowboy. Bowie also drew inspiration for the character from American singer Iggy Pop and fashion designer Yamamoto Kansai. WK Bowie based the character’s clothing on the Malcom McDowell character in the film version of A Clockwork Orange as well as William Burroughs book Wild Boys. SF The persona became a huge influence on the development of glam rock with its flamboyant costumes and singers who presented themselves as sexually ambiguous. SF

The song “Ziggy Stardust” was written in early 1971 before Bowie even began recording sessions for the Hunky Dory album which preceded Ziggy. It served as the centerpiece of the album. While the character had been introduced earlier in the album, this song focused on his rise and fall. Ziggy wins over fans, but falls from grace as a result of becoming too conceited and egotistical. Bowie said it was “about the ultimate rock superstar destroy by the fanaticism he creates.” SF

The song wasn’t released as a single, but did appear as the B-side of “The Jean Genie,” the lead single from the follow-up album, Aladdin Sane, which also drew from the Ziggy Stardust persona. A 1972 live version of the song was released as a single in France in 1994 to promote the bootleg album, Santa Monica ‘72.

The goth-rock group Bauhaus recorded the song in 1982 and took it to #15 on the UK charts.


Resources:


Related Links:


First posted 7/23/2022.