Ziggy played guitar! Ten facts about David Bowie’s masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

Slide 1 of 11: In June 1972 one of the most important albums in rock history was released - 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars'. David Bowie transformed himself into the titular Ziggy, changing his entire image and shocking and thrilling his audience in equal measure. To mark the 50th anniversary of the LP, here are some fascinating facts about the legendary record...
1/11 SLIDES © Bang Showbiz

‘Became the special man…’

In June 1972 one of the most important albums in rock history was released – ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’. David Bowie transformed himself into the titular Ziggy, changing his entire image and shocking and thrilling his audience in equal measure. To mark the 50th anniversary of the LP, here are some fascinating facts about the legendary record…

Ziggy played guitar! Ten facts about David Bowie’s masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
2/11 SLIDES © Bang Showbiz

Who is Ziggy?

The name of the track ‘Ziggy Stardust’, featured in Bowie’s 1972 album ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’, was not chosen at random. In fact, Ziggy was the glam rock star’s alter ego.

Ziggy played guitar! Ten facts about David Bowie’s masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
3/11 SLIDES © Bang Showbiz

More than a rock star

Ziggy is a rock star who serves as a messenger for extra-terrestrial beings. The lyrics to the song tell the listener just who Ziggy is. Bowie, in an interview with Rolling Stone, claimed what he did with Ziggy was create a manufactured rock star that fans could connect to. He said: “What I did with my Ziggy Stardust was package a totally credible, plastic rock and roll singer – much better than the Monkees could ever fabricate.”

Ziggy played guitar! Ten facts about David Bowie’s masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
4/11 SLIDES © Bang Showbiz

The man who inspired Ziggy

Bowie’s inspiration to create Ziggy came from British music star Vince Taylor, known for being the lead member of Vince Taylor and His Playboys. During a chat, Taylor told Bowie that he believed to be some kind of cross between an alien and a god. Bowie once told Rolling Stone that Ziggy’s name is Ziggy because it was “one of the few Christian names I could find beginning with the letter Z”.

Ziggy played guitar! Ten facts about David Bowie’s masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
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Ziggy played guitar! Ten facts about David Bowie’s masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
5/11 SLIDES © Bang Showbiz

Ziggy Pop

Later on, however, Bowie told Q magazine that Ziggy’s name is also linked to another very important rock icon, who happened to be one of his closest friends. He said that one day, after passing by a tailor shop called Ziggy, he liked the name for the “Iggy [Pop] connotation”.

Ziggy played guitar! Ten facts about David Bowie’s masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
6/11 SLIDES © Bang Showbiz

He’s a Starman

The album contained several songs which are considered amongst Bowie’s greatest ever work. Tracks such as ‘Starman’, ‘Suffragette City’ and ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’ remained part of Bowie’s live sets for decades.

Ziggy played guitar! Ten facts about David Bowie’s masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
7/11 SLIDES © Bang Showbiz

Ziggy on screen

Many tracks from the album have featured on the big and small screens. ‘Moonage Daydream’ was part of the soundtrack for MCU blockbuster ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, while Princess Anne is seen singing ‘Starman’ whilst driving to meet her parents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, in Season Three of ‘The Crown’.

Ziggy played guitar! Ten facts about David Bowie’s masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
8/11 SLIDES © Bang Showbiz

Ziggy cover songs

The title track ‘Ziggy Stardust’ has been covered by some of many other artists. One of the most memorable versions was by English goth band Bauhaus, who released a ‘Ziggy Stardust’ cover in 1982, 10 years after Bowie’s original version was released. Other bands that have covered the track include Def Leppard (1996), The Gourds (1998) and Balzac (2006), among others.

Ziggy played guitar! Ten facts about David Bowie’s masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
9/11 SLIDES © Bang Showbiz

The talent behind Bowie

Bowie is rightly credited as the musical genius behind the album and the Ziggy Stardust persona. But he was backed by a plethora of musicians who helped him realise his artistic vision. Mick Ronson provided electric and rhythm guitar, Trevor Bolder played bass; Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey hit the drums, while Ken Scott served as sound engineer, producer and mixer. Bowie, of course, was the singer and acoustic guitarist on the album.

Ziggy played guitar! Ten facts about David Bowie’s masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
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