Rocks In The Attic #231: David Bowie – ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’ (1972)

RITA#231I used to rehearse with my band in Sankey’s Soap in Manchester on the same weeknight that a David Bowie covers band would rehearse in the room underneath ours. I never saw them in person, but it was always nice to listen to them through the floor when we were packing up. I remember one time listening to them do a rendition of Five Years, the slow-burning opener from this album, and it sounded very, very good. As though a 1970’s David Bowie was in the same building.

This album remains a firm favourite of mine, and depending on my mood, I’ll choose either this or Hunky Dory as my favourite Bowie album. I think the songwriting is better on that earlier album, but the different dynamics that this album delivers is mind-blowing – one of the defining albums where ‘60s rock n’ roll turned into ‘70s rock.

In 2000, I was at Glastonbury on Sunday night awaiting David Bowie to walk on the Pyramid stage. It was one of the best gigs I’ve seen, mainly because Bowie isn’t a proficient tourer, so it was always unlikely that I’d have the chance to catch him again (and to this day, I still haven’t).

All through that show, Vini and I were wondering whether he would play the song Ziggy Stardust. Covering this had sort of become my signature song in my band at the time, and to see him play this would have been a moment to remember. He played most of his hits (he has too many to fit into a 2-hour show), and by his last song – a version of Under Pressure – I had given up hope.

After a short break, Bowie walked back on stage for his encore, and the guitarist crashed into the opening chords of Ziggy Stardust. Vini and I erupted in cheers – a great festival moment.

Hit: Starman

Hidden Gem: Five Years

6 thoughts on “Rocks In The Attic #231: David Bowie – ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’ (1972)

  1. Matthew Gibson

    Wonderful album. Have you read “the Man Who Sold the World”? It’s a Revolution in the Head style song by song book about Bowie in the 70s. It’s a really interesting book (although it does drag a bit in places…)

  2. Matthew Gibson

    But as to this, it’s Bowie’s best isn’t it? I agree that Hunky Dory runs it close. I think in the end though, I do prefer Hunky Dory though, even if this is better. Hunky Dory is a bit more haphazard I guess, more charming. Or something.

  3. mrjohnnyandrews Post author

    Haven’t read that book, Moo. I do have a Bowie biog on my to-read pile though.

    Not sure which of the two albums I like best. I think I found Ziggy Stardust first, and it speaks to the rocker in me, but you’re right, Hunky Dory has more of a charm to it.

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