Ziggy Stardust


It’s been awhile!  Sorry folks.  Been busy…grad school stuff, attempted career moves, etc.  You know the drill.  But hopefully as summer approaches I will have more time to devote to this blog.  At least I hope I will.

So Ziggy Stardust…David Bowie’s alter ego.  The invention of glam rock, an art form so utterly destroyed by bad 80s hair bands (I’m looking at you Poison.  And Whitesnake.  And White Lion. And any other WhiteAnimalBand) and then briefly resurrected (sort of) by the Guns until it was utterly vanquished by the rise of Seattle rock in the 90s (1991-the year punk broke).  Anyhow, ma soeur gave me this album for my birthday or for Christmas about 10 years ago, and at the time I remember being disappointed because “Space Oddity” wasn’t on it.  So I listened to it once or twice and put it on a shelf where it languished until now.

And hearing this now, I have to admit I missed out on something 10 years ago.  Ziggy is a fun ride, even if there are several different versions of the story floating around (I’m sure Bowie doesn’t mind the ambiguity).  I am struck by the similarity to the Who’s “Tommy” (I have always been a huge fan)…even if Ziggy is an alien instead of a deaf, dumb, and blind kid it is still basically the story of the rise and subsequent destruction of a modern messiah figure.  Well, I guess Tommy doesn’t get ripped to pieces by his adoring fans, but the similarities are still there.  Yet despite the similarities to Tommy, Ziggy stands apart on his own merits.  Bowie’s flamboyance combines perfectly with Mick Ronson’s fat guitar licks to lay the blueprint for an apocalyptic rock opera.  I’m really glad the world didn’t end five years after this was released though…

On a side note, I’ve been a fan of the song “Suffragette City” ever since it was released on the original Rock Band game (I never could 5 star it on excellent though).  And one of my former students who is truly a gifted musician and a self-taught keyboard player was in a cover band with another teacher and they played this song…which was really cool until he shouted the line “Wham bam, thank you ma’am”…that made it a little awkward.

Other lists: “Ziggy Stardust” is #282 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  David Bowie is the #39 Greatest Artist and the #23 Greatest Singer of All Time.  Mick Ronson is listed as the #41 Greatest Guitarist.

My favourite track: “Suffragette City”

Honourable mention: “Lady Stardust”

Quote: “Let the children lose it.  Let the children use it.  Let all the children boogie.”