The great cycle of transformations that characterizes David Bowie’s chameleon personality began in 1972: in The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, he played a bisexual rock star from another planet. This tendency to ambiguity would continue in Aladdin Sane (1973), his next work. That same year Bowie posed with model Twiggy on the cover of Pinups, a compilation of some of the best rock songs of the 60s.
David Bowie, who transmutes into a new character (showing that chameleonic side he has) called Ziggy Stardust, who will become one of the symbols of glam-rock both for his image and for his music. The extrasensory and extraterrestrial connotations of the character really interest me little, in addition to the fact that Bowie has never been an artist who conveys much more than the strength of his musical proposal, so all those characterizations of his have always left me indifferent.
In June 1972 the album that will definitively consecrate David Bowie international rockstar was released: The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. The album climbs the charts. Critics shout at the masterpiece. The strategy of provocation continues. Bowie himself becomes that Ziggy Stardust whose exploits the record narrates: poised between eroticism and science fiction Ziggy, androgynous alien, and rock prophet, makes his big appearance on the stage of the Royal Festival Hall in London on July 8: with orange hair, a pre-punk cut, brazenly made up and wearing improbable clothes made by himself Bowie / Ziggy inflames the hearts of fans with evocative songs such as the unforgettable Starman, the poignant Rock’n’Roll Suicide or the beautiful Moonage Daydream. The show is a formidable combination of music and theater, which plays of light and mimic performances alternate. The Melody Maker headline: ‘A star is born’. Within a few months, the outrageous Ziggy ziggyStardust is a pop legend. Tickets for his concerts sell out in a few hours. Bowie is besieged by fans.
The most evident thing that transmits the well-known cover with the iconic image of Bowie and his makeup, is that this album maintains the Glam aesthetic both in the image and in the sound, although however, the best that we can find here is precisely what is far away of that style to delve into those other undefined styles that very few could offer and for which he has gone down in the history of music.
In January 1973 he went on tour to conquer puritanical America. Then Japan and Europe. It is the triumph. The same year Bowie produced and edited Lou Reed’s Transformer, Iggy Pop’s Raw Power, and wrote All The Young Dudes for Mott the Hoople (their only hit). His new album, Aladdin Sane (to read ‘A Lad Insane’, ‘a crazy boy’), is also released and remains on the English charts for 72 weeks. This record marks the new but unmanageable success of the histrionic Bowie. In fact, suffocated by the now ‘overwhelming personality’ of his creatures, Bowie decides to retire from the stage and end: Ziggy Stardust’s farewell concert takes place at the Hammersmith Odeon on 3 July 1973.
David Bowie is, without a doubt, one of the legends, the man who changed the world, no matter what persona he had played during his career.
What do you think guys? Ziggy Stardust vs. Aladdin Sane: Which Persona Captured People Better?