Ziggy Stardust: a retrospective
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 21:04
Before I begin I have a confession to make: I have a man crush on David Bowie. I can’t deny it. He is a sexy human being, despite all of his efforts to be alien.
This year his seminal album, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” is having its 40th anniversary and being reissued. As such, I thought we’d take a break from the present and reach back to the past to examine this unique and influential album.
For many, David Bowie brings to mind an image of a quirky androgynous British guy with a few good songs. The guy who did “Under Pressure,” “Changes” and “Space Oddity” — you know, that guy.
In reality, Bowie is one of the best, varied and influential artists of the past 40 years. Constantly changing, innovating, and producing albums of mind-boggling quality and variety, it really is impossible to compare him to anyone else in modern music. And it all started with “Ziggy Stardust.”
Released in 1972, it was the fifth album in Bowie’s career. Prior to “Ziggy Stardust’s” release, he had only gained minor success from the single “Space Oddity.” This album was to be his major breakthrough.
For his tour, Bowie played the character of Ziggy Stardust, who promised a message of hope for a doomed humanity from a “starman in the sky.” The provocative mythology and strikingly wild costumes set him apart from any artist at the time.
It was not just the costumes that set him apart — it was the intellectual and musical depth of the songs on “Ziggy Stardust.” Featuring highlights such as “Five Years,” “Starman” and “Suffragette City,” the album truly has not aged in the slightest. Every song is an example of perfectly structured pop with the unique Bowie twist.
The world has changed immensely in the past 40 years – as has Bowie himself – but “Ziggy Stardust” still remains as a beacon of hope for all pop music.