Tuesday, April 10, 2007

DAVID BOWIE - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars @320

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, or simply Ziggy Stardust for short, is a 1972 concept album by David Bowie, praised as the definitive album of the 1970s by Melody Maker magazine. It peaked at #5 in the United Kingdom and #75 in the United States on the Billboard Music Charts, and inspired a similarly-titled 1973 documentary by D.A. Pennebaker.
In 1997 Ziggy Stardust was named the 20th greatest album of all time in a 'Music of the Millennium' poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 1998 Q magazine readers placed it at number 24, while in 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 48. It was named the 35th best album ever made by Rolling Stone on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2000 Q placed it at number 25 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever
The album presents the story, albeit vaguely, of "Ziggy Stardust", a Martian who comes to earth to liberate humanity from banality. Ziggy Stardust is the definitive rock star, sexually promiscuous, wild in drug intake and with a message, ultimately, of peace and love; but he is destroyed by his own excesses of drugs and sex, and torn apart by the fans he inspired. The mythological story cycle of the doomed Messiah endeared itself to fans then and now.
The album was released in the UK on June 6, 1972, and later in the U.S. on September 1, 1972. The single "Starman" was released on April 28, 1972 to promote the album.
The name may come from the singer Iggy Pop or the model Twiggy, both friends of Bowie. Bowie has claimed that it came from a tailor's shop in London called Ziggy's, supposedly because the album was going to be all about clothes. Bowie later told Rolling Stone it was "one of the few Christian names I could find beginning with the letter 'Z'." "Stardust" comes from one of Bowie's labelmates, a country singer named Norman Carl Odom, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy. (Bowie covered a Legendary Stardust Cowboy song, "I Took A Trip On A Gemini Spaceship", 30 years later on his critically acclaimed Heathen album.)
The album cover has become an object of veneration for fans (similar to the Beatles' Abbey Road), who make pilgrimages to see the exact spot on Heddon Street. The phone box depicted on the back cover was removed in 1998.
The album is considered archetypal glam rock, full of hard rock guitar riffs, catchy choruses and confusing, opiate lyrics. It is both gloomy, as in the first song, "Five Years", where it is revealed that the Earth will be destroyed in five years, and joyous, as in the optimism of Ziggy in "Starman". Though Bowie's previous albums had built him a serious fanbase (particularly the hit song "Space Oddity"), his music was largely inaccessible and avant-garde. Ziggy Stardust was still innovative and pioneering, but was also accessible to people who couldn't hear or understand the significance of Bowie's revolutionary techniques and style. Songs like "Starman", "Suffragette City", "Five Years", "Lady Stardust" and "Ziggy Stardust" are strange mixtures of pop rock and art rock. Mick Ronson's guitar work is especially beloved on this album; on previous Bowie compositions, he had displayed talent and occasional spots of brilliance (e.g., Hunky Dory's "Queen Bitch") but he shone on this album, playing the chords that (in the story) awakened the consciousness of humanity.
In July 2003, for the album's 30th anniversary, select songs were broadcast into deep space using a high-tech laser beam. The event was part of a Cosmic Call laser extravaganza that took place in Roswell, New Mexico. Fans took part in an online survey to choose 4 songs to be broadcast, choosing "Five Years", "Starman", "Ziggy Stardust", and "Rock N Roll Suicide".

"Five Years" – 4:42
"Soul Love" – 3:34
"Moonage Daydream" – 4:40
"Starman" – 4:10
"It Ain't Easy" – 2:58
"Lady Stardust" – 3:22
"Star" – 2:47
"Hang on to Yourself" – 2:40
"Ziggy Stardust" – 3:13
"Suffragette City" – 3:25
"Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" – 2:58

Reissues and bonus tracksThe Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust has been reissued on CD twice with bonus tracks, in 1990 by Rykodisc/EMI and, in common with the rest of Bowie's back catalogue it was remastered in 96 kHz/24bit in the late nineties and a new version, without bonus material, was released in 1999. A two disc 30th anniversary version was released in 2002 by EMI/Virgin comprising the remastered disc plus a disc of bonus material. The remaster also provides the basis for an SACD version which includes both stereo and 5.1 mixes (both 96KHz/24 bit resolution). The 30th anniversary edition has become quite collectible as only a limited number were produced. Strangely, the remaster on the 30th anniversary edition has been edited; among other things, the count-in to Hang On To Yourself is missing.

Bonus tracks (1990 Rykodisc)
"John, I'm Only Dancing" (single A-side from 1972)
"Velvet Goldmine" (single B-side from 1975, actually dates from the Hunky Dory sessions)
"Sweet Head" (previously unreleased outtake)
"Ziggy Stardust" (demo)
"Lady Stardust" (demo)

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1 comment:

Ashley Plath said...

Love on ya!
xoxo, ashleyplath