David Bowie‘s fifth studio album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, was released in the U.K. on June 16th, 1972, fifty-one years ago today. While David Bowie was already something of a household name at that point, the album introduced the world to one of the iconic artist’s other numerous alter-egos and went on to become a bona fide classic, a landmark release on the timeline of rock and roll.
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars tells the story of Bowie’s titular alternate identity, Ziggy Stardust, a fictional androgynous rock star who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings. Bowie would go on to adopt that identity whole-heartedly for a time, performing as Ziggy Stardust on his subsequent world tour before abandoning the character for yet another new vision.
While Ziggy was only a brief blip in David Bowie’s ever-evolving career and image, the album remains a favorite for its daring nature. The character of Ziggy and his story explored themes of sexual exploration, gender identity, and other forward-thinking concepts at a time when they remained quite taboo. The album’s grandiose sci-fi scenery helped open music listeners’ minds to the bizarre and unknown in popular music…and, of course, the songs are fantastic to sing and dance to. Below, listen to the album in full and watch Bowie perform the album’s title track as Ziggy Stardust for the 1973 film of the same name.
David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – Full Album
David Bowie – “Ziggy Stardust” (From The Motion Picture)
In 2016, the year Bowie died, Phish used their traditional Halloween “costume set”—during which they cover an entire album from a band they admire—to pay tribute to Ziggy Stardust. The band has shown their appreciation for Bowie in numerous ways over the years, from naming one of their own classic compositions after him to arranging an a cappella version of one of his biggest hits. The Ziggy Stardust costume, however, was their biggest show of affection yet for Bowie, as they recruited a string section and a crew of talented backup vocalists and donned their finest evening wear for a heartfelt homage to the monumental album and the man/alien behind it. Watch videos from Phish’s Ziggy costume set below via YouTube us
Phish – “Five Years” (David Bowie) – Las Vegas, NV – 10/31/16
[Video: kembra allen]
Phish – “Starman” (David Bowie) – Las Vegas, NV – 10/31/16
[Video: kembra allen]
Phish – “Ziggy Stardust” (David Bowie) – Las Vegas, NV – 10/31/16
Phish – “Rock N’ Roll Suicide” (David Bowie) – Las Vegas, NV – 10/31/16
[Originally published 6/16/18]