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Angie invited local hairdresser Sue Fussey (later known as Suzi Ronson) to Haddon Hall to work on Bowie's hair, which Fussey said was too “Rod Stewart-ish”. They found inspiration in Alex Chatelain's photos of Christine Walton in the August 1971 Vogue:

Fussey then reshaped Bowie's hair into the familiar Ziggy style. The colour came later.

Tuesday January 4 – Thursday January 6

Rehearsals at Underhill Studios, Greenwich

Friday January 7

Changes 2:32 Andy Warhol 3:03
single released in UK
RCA 2160

Saturday January 8

Bowie's 25th birthday party at Haddon Hall. Guests included Lou Reed, who was in England recording his debut album, Reed's producer Richard Robinson was also there with his journalist wife Lisa.

Lisa Robinson (1990): Bowie greeted us at the door of his London house wearing the patterned Ziggy jumpsuit, red vinyl boots and his hair was chopped off in that short spiky orange style – all of it a far cry from the Greta Garbo of the year before – and I remember saying to him, 'Ahh, so you’ve seen Clockwork Orange'.

Tuesday January 11

Sounds Of The 70s: John Peel
BBC Kensington House, Shepherd’s Bush, London
Producer: John F Muir

Ziggy Stardust
Queen Bitch
Waiting For The Man
Lady Stardust

Thursday January 13

Clockwork Orange opened at The Warner West End in London. Shortly afterwards Bowie took the band see it and came away with another key element for the Ziggy image.

Bowie (1993): I was determined that the music we were doing was the music for the Clockwork Orange generation and I wanted to take the hardness and violence of those Clockwork Orange outfits – the trousers tucked into big boots and the codpiece things – and soften them up by using the most ridiculous fabrics. It was a Dada thing. This extreme ultraviolence in Liberty fabrics. [Q 1993]

Woody Woodmansey (2009): Mick Ronson hated the outfits. He packed his bags and left. David asked me to go after him and handle it. I spent a good hour or so on Beckenham train station with him!

Bowie (1995): Mick came from Hull. Very down-to-earth, as were the rest of the Spiders: “What do you mean, makeup?” Actually, when they realised how many girls they could pull when they looked so sort of outlandish, they took to it like a fish to water.

Mid January

Ziggy Stardust album cover
Heddon Street, London
Photographer: Brian Ward

Bowie (1993): Upstairs in the studio we did the Clockwork Orange look-a-likes that became the inner sleeve. The idea was to hit a look somewhere between the Malcolm McDowell thing with the one mascara’d eyelash and insects. It was the era of Wild Boys by William S. Burroughs, and it was a cross between that and Clockwork Orange that really started to put together the shape and the look of what Ziggy and the Spiders were going to become.

Ward suggested they do more photographs in the street as night was falling, only Bowie was willing. Despite suffering from flu, Bowie ventured out to the street in the drizzling rain, with a guitar he borrowed from Mark Pritchett. Facing the doorway of number 23 Ward shot black and white photos from various angles.

Next door, number 21 was the home of furriers K. West. As Bowie posed beneath their sign, Ward lined up the shot and took four frames, one of which became the front cover.

The K. West sign was removed 20 years later by a fan.

Bowie (1993): It’s such a shame that sign went. People read so much into it. They thought K. West must be some sort of code for ‘quest’. It took on all these sort of mystical overtones.

Tuesday January 18

Sounds Of The 70s: Bob Harris
Maida Vale Studio 5, Delaware Road, London
Producer: Jeff Griffin

Hang On To Yourself
Ziggy Stardust
Waiting For The Man
Queen Bitch
Five Years

Broadcast: February 7 (Radio One)
Released: Bowie At The Beeb (Virgin 2000)

Wednesday January 19 – Sunday January 23

Rehearsals at Royal Ballroom, Tottenham High Road

Saturday January 22

Melody Maker publishes “Oh! You Pretty Thing” – the Michael Watts interview where Bowie told him, "I’m gay, and always have been, even when I was David Jones."

Michael Watts (2003): I think he said it very deliberately. He definitely felt it would be good copy. He was certainly aware of the impact it would make.

Photos by Barry Wentzell

Barrie Wentzell: It was a rather overcast day in London and Mick Watts and I went over to interview David at his manager Tony DeFries's rather small and grubby office. As we entered, David was sitting very pretty in this amazingly bright outfit, lazily smoking a cigarette and reading a book. "Hello, come in," he said smiling and after we got over the shock of the new Bowie look, Mick did a funny interview and I took pictures. This photo was used on the front page of Melody Maker for the next week's issue.

Barrie Wentzell contact sheet

Sunday January 23

Robert Hilburn's review of Hunky Dory in Los Angeles Times:

Hunky Dory contains all the humour, intelligence, irony and personal vision that one expects from our best musical minds … from the splendour of the instrumentation to the range/intensity of Bowie’s voice to the quality of the lyrics. A major talent.

Wednesday January 26 – Friday January 28

Rehearsals at Royal Ballroom, Tottenham High Road

Saturday January 29

The Friars Club, Borough Assembly Hall, Aylesbury

Photograph © Michael Putland/Getty Images

Queen's Roger Taylor and Freddie Mercury were in the audience to witness the rebirth of Bowie, billed as the Most Beautiful Person in the World. The local newspaper proclaimed the next day, “A Star Is Born”.

Danny Holloway's review of Hunky Dory in NME:

Bowie At His Brilliant Best
It’s very possible that this will be the most important album from an emerging artist in 1972, because he’s not following trends – he’s setting them. Hunky Dory is a masterpiece from a mastermind.

February 1972

Wednesday February 2

A master tape of the Ziggy album prepared with It Ain’t Easy, Suffragette City and Rock 'N' Roll Suicide replacing Port Of Amsterdam, He’s A Goldmine [Velvet Goldmine] and Holy Holy.

RCA’s Dennis Katz had listened to the November 15 acetate of the album and told DeFries that all it needed was a single. Bowie came up with Starman, which replaced Round And Round in the final running order.

Friday February 4

Ziggy Stardust album recording sessions
Trident Studios, London

Suffragette City
Rock 'N' Roll Suicide

Ken Scott (2009): [On Starman] Mick Ronson did the arrangements for strings and guitar. That Morse Code sound is actually a piano and two guitars, an octave apart, then we bounced them all down to make one track. It seemed to make sense in that there was this idea of something coming from another planet. So we then put it all through a phaser. There are two versions of Starman – one a loud Morse code version and one a quiet version. And I only remember doing one mix of it, and I can’t tell you which one I did. I’ve no idea where the second came from.

With the last three master takes in the can, the Ziggy Stardust recording sessions were complete.

Monday February 7

Old Grey Whistle Test
BBC Television Centre, London

Queen Bitch
Oh! You Pretty Things
Five Years

One of the booked acts dropped out at the last minute and Bowie was offered the spot. In a small studio, they filmed three songs with Bowie singing live vocals over backing tracks, specially mixed for the performance.

Mindful of BBC censorship, Bowie recorded two takes of Oh! You Pretty Things, leaving out the line ‘the earth is a bitch’ on the first.

Wednesday February 9


Stereo master reel of Ziggy Stardust side one, showing Round and Round being dropped for the new arrival, Starman.

1972 Ziggy Stardust UK tour

David Bowie (vocals, guitar)
Mick Ronson (lead guitar)
Trevor Bolder (bass guitar)
Woody Woodmansey (drums)
Nicky Graham (piano)

Thursday February 10

Toby Jug, Tolworth, South London

Friday February 11

Town Hall, High Wycombe

Saturday February 12

Great Hall, Imperial College, London

Great Hall, Imperial College photographs © Ray Stevenson

Bowie had recently seen footage of Iggy Pop walking on the crowd's shoulders at the 1970 Cincinnati Pop Festival and tried it out on the Imperial College audience. Unaccustomed to this, they let him tumble to the floor (pictured above). Ever the showman, Bowie recovered and carried on.

Melody Maker: The music is muscular, the performances witty and assured. What other group would dare to do I Feel Free before a London audience, complete with Cream rip-off solo – so calculated as to be a thing of glorious absurdity? Because Bowie and his band are nothing if not superb parodists, right down to the way in which Ronson walked to the front of the stage and invited the front row to caress the body of his guitar.

Dedicated to bringing theatrics back to rock music, David Bowie swirled and captivated at London’s Imperial College on Saturday, queening his way through old and new songs, before a house packed to the door. And they hung on every word that dropped from his lips.

Monday February 14

Brighton Dome, Brighton

Friday February 18

University of Sheffield Rag Ball, University Park, Sheffield

Wednesday February 23

Chichester College, Chichester

Thursday February 24

Wallington Public Hall, Wallington, London

Wallington Public Hall photograph © Dick Barnatt/Redferns

Friday February 25

Avery Hill College, Eltham, London

Saturday February 26

Happenings, Belfry Hotel, near Sutton Coldfield

Monday February 28

Glasgow City Hall, Candleriggs (cancelled)

Bowie’s band’s PA was too large for the stage. They refused to play with a smaller system so the show was cancelled.

Tuesday February 29

Locarno Ballroom, Sunderland (cancelled)

March 1972

Wednesday March 1

Bristol University, Bristol

Bowie and the Spiders played to another sparsely attended hall but nevertheless delivered a strong show.

Meanwhile DeFries took the completed Ziggy Stardust master tapes and artwork to RCA in New York for approval.

Saturday March 4

Gaiety Lounge Show Bar, South Parade Pier, Southsea

Tuesday March 7

Yeovil College, Yeovil, Somerset

Saturday March 11

Southampton Guild Hall, Southampton

Tuesday March 14

Chelsea Village, Glen Fern Road, Bournemouth, Dorset

Friday March 17

Town Hall, Birmingham

In preparation for the Birmingham show Sue Fussey took the Ziggy hairstyle to its next stage, feathering it.

Photographer Mick Rock was covering the show for the Men Only magazine. Before the show, he looked in on the dressing-room and introduced himself. Bowie responded, “I like your name. It can’t be real…”

They clicked straight away and Bowie invited him to come back to Beckenham after the show to do the interview. Rock shot his first frames there in the dressing room.

In the dressing rom, Birmingham

Backstage in Birmingham photograph © Mick Rock

Mick Rock (2002): I didn’t know how to shoot a live concert then, so there is a certain looseness of framing. It was actually through David that I learnt how to shoot live.

Live in Birmingham

Birmingham photograph © Mick Rock

On the train back to London, Bowie and Rock found they shared a fascination with outsiders like Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and Syd Barrett, whom Rock befriended at Cambridge and photographed on several occasions including the cover of his album, The Madcap Laughs.

Mick Rock (1999): So we kind of swapped stories. I swapped him Syd Barrett stories and he swapped tales of Iggy and Lou. So that was probably the first bonding with David when we found a certain taste in common. It tended to me the more esoteric and extreme variety, these two of course among the manifestation of exactly that attitude and philosophy.

Mick Rock photo session
Haddon Hall, Beckenham

In the garden at Haddon Hall photographs © Mick Rock

Mick Rock (2000): “Taking the pictures happened very fast. There was very little planning; it was all action, all about interchange and interplay, a fast-paced intuitive thing. The control of the look was not contrived. It simply amounted to not letting photographers in so that they wanted to come in even more! I think he was the first to play that one, and I became part of the game. I was the exclusive photographer because no one else was really interested at the time. Then all that changed and it became, ‘Only Mick Rock can shoot him’. And that worked very well. [Bowie Style]

Friday March 24

Mayfair Ballroom, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Monday March 27

Mott The Hoople bass player Pete ‘Overend’ Watts called Bowie to tell him the band would be splitting at the end of their Rock & Roll Circus UK tour.

Dale Griffin, drummer (1976): Overend, who had always been a big fan of Bowie, phoned him up. He’d got his phone number from a tape David sent us of Suffragette City, which he thought we might like to do for a single. He said, “The band’s split, y’know, what’s happening with you?” – hoping for some job as a bass player, maybe. David was quite shocked that the band had broken and said, “Listen don’t do anything, I’ll work something out, you mustn’t break up.”

Bowie (1972): It was the first song I’ve written for somebody else. I thought they were a very good band. I told them I’d write them a hit single. And I did. It was easy.

Bowie met with the band at Gem’s offices to play them the song – All The Young Dudes.

Verden Allen (2008): Bowie was a little nervous when he played the song. We were all crowded around him in a circle.

Ian Hunter (2009): I knew straight away it was a hit. There were chills going down my spine. It's only happened to me a few times in my life. We grabbed hold of it. I'm a peculiar singer but I knew I could handle that.

Dale Griffin (1976): By that time, we were completely baffled and bewildered. We didn’t know what we were doing. We were in no state to do anything for ourselves. We couldn’t believe that anybody would give All The Young Dudes away.

Bowie also offered to produce the single and DeFries offered to add them to the roster of MainMan. Ian Hunter took all the unsigned MainMan contracts to file away at home. Even so, DeFries proceeded to pay off the band’s contract with Island and negotiate a new record deal with CBS.

Tuesday March 28

Bowie and Ken Scott remixed Starman for release as the next single.

Friday March 31

Bowie’s management contract with Gem renewed for a ten-year term with Bowie receiving £300 a week salary for providing services of “writing lyrics and/or music, composer, arranger, etc”. Bowie signed the document, oblivious to the fact that it made him an employee of DeFries who would be controlling all of Bowie’s revenue.

April 1972

Mick Rock photo session
Haddon Hall, Beckenham

Sue Fussey dyed Bowie’s hair red, and the Ziggy hairstyle was complete.

Bowie (1993): The Ziggy hairstyle was taken lock, stock and barrel from a Kansai display in Harper’s in February ’71. He was using a kabuki lion’s wig on his models, which was brilliant red. And I thought it was the most dynamic colour so we tried to get mine as near as possible.

Bowie (2002): Sue did a straightforward copy. The cut and colour were both Kansai’s – Schwarzkopf Red was the colour.

Haddon Hall, April 1972 photograph © Mick Rock


Haddon Hall, April 1972 photograph © Mick Rock


Holding the original Hunky Dory artwork in Zowie's room at Haddon Hall, April 1972 photograph © Mick Rock

Sunday April 9

Mott The Hoople at Civic Centre, Guildford

Ian Hunter (2009): [Angie] told me David had taken four hours to get ready. He was shaking, real nervous. He thought we were a lot heavier than we were … heavy duty punks. He was slightly disappointed to encounter ‘ordinary blokes’.

Thursday April 20

The Playhouse, Harlow

Friday April 21

Free Trade Hall, Manchester

Stephen Morris, Joy Division (2008): I remember going to see him at the Free Trade Hall with Ian [Curtis] in 1972. Bowie apparently asked Ian if there was a club he could go to, where he could hear some Northern soul. [Uncut, June 2008 – ‘30 Greatest David Bowie songs’]

Tuesday April 25

Interviewed at home by Rosalind Russell for Disc magazine

Haddon Hall, April 1972 photograph © Michael Putland

Photographer Michael Putland arrived at Haddon Hall to find Bowie up a stepladder, painting the ceiling silver (assisted by George Underwood) and decorating the walls with large blue circles.

Friday April 28


Starman 4:16 Suffragette City 3:25

single released in UK
RCA 2199 Chart peak 10

NME: “Bowie proves he’s not just a pretty face on this cosmic 45… Starman is obviously single of the week.”

Starman is his first top 10 hit since Space Oddity in 1969. Meanwhile Hunky Dory becomes Bowie’s first album to make the charts, reaching 176 in America.

Saturday April 29

Town Hall, High Wycombe (cancelled)

Sunday April 30

Guildhall, Plymouth

May 1972

Wednesday May 3

Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, Wales

Saturday May 6

Kingston Polytechnic Main Hall, London

Sunday May 7

Hemel Hempstead Pavillion

Thursday May 11

Assembly Hall, Worthing

Friday May 12

Central London Polytechnic

The show inspired Steve Harley to form Cockney Rebel.

Saturday May 13

Summer Ball, Slough College, Slough

Sunday May 14

Mott The Hoople recording session
Studio 2, Olympic Studios, 117 Church Road, Barnes
Producers: David Bowie and Mick Ronson
Engineer: Keith Harwood

All The Young Dudes (single)

Bowie played rhythm guitar, sang distinctive backing vocals and got everyone (including Stuart George and Nicky Graham) into the studio lavatory to record handclaps for the choruses.

Tuesday May 16

Sounds of the 70s: John Peel radio session
Producer: Pete Ritzema
Engineer: Nick Gomm

White Light/White Heat
Moonage Daydream
Hang On To Yourself
Suffragette City
Ziggy Stardust

Friday May 19

Oxford Polytechnic, Headington

Monday May 22

Johnnie Walker Lunchtime Show radio session
Producer: Roger Pusey

Space Oddity
Oh! You Pretty Things

Tuesday May 23

Sounds of the 70s: Bob Harris radio session
Producer: Jeff Griffin

Andy Warhol
Lady Stardust
White Light/White Heat
Rock 'N' Roll Suicide

Bowie and Mott The Hoople celebrated the completion of the All The Young Dudes single at a party that night in London.

Thursday May 25

Chelsea Village, Bournemouth

Saturday May 27

Ebbisham Hall, Epsom

June 1972

Friday June 2

Newcastle City Hall

In the audience – future Smash Hits journalist and Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant, who later called it as his “favourite gig ever”.

Neil Tennant (2011): At the climactic moment when Bowie sang “Wham! Bam! Thank you ma’am!”, the audience was showered with promotional posters of Bowie as Ziggy and I grabbed one. Later my friends and I waited in a crush of fans outside the stage door. Bowie emerged and signed my poster in pencil. The late Mick Ronson signed it also. I was very happy. [ – News: Neil Tennant (15 December 2011)]

Saturday June 3

Liverpool Stadium

Bowie's PA system overloaded the electrical system so Bowie played his acoustic set while the problem was rectified. The power restored, Bowie and the band ended the show with a storming Suffragette City.

Sunday June 4

Preston Public Hall

Tuesday June 6

St. George’s Hall, Bradford

Iggy Pop had kicked heroin and charmed a contract from CBS president Clive Davis for a new Stooges album. He and James Williamson were staying in St John’s Wood at MainMan’s expense they called Ron and Scott Asheton to reunite the Stooges and begin work on their third album, which Bowie was planning to produce. When the brothers arrived in London, Ron was relegated to bass as Williamson had replaced him as Iggy’s guitarist and collaborator in 1971.

Wednesday June 7

Sheffield City Hall, reviewed in NME:

Thursday June 8

Middlesbrough Town Hall

Mick Rock’s feature article “David Is Just Not Serious” published in Rolling Stone

Friday June 9

London to New York

Bowie, DeFries and Ronson flew over for a three-day promotional trip. Their first stop: Elvis Presley at Madison Square Garden.

Bowie (1997): [Elvis] was a major hero of mine. And I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something. I came over for a long weekend. I remember coming straight from the airport and walking into Madison Square Garden very late. I was wearing all my clobber from the Ziggy period and had great seats near the front. The whole place just turned to look at me and I felt like a right idiot. I had brilliant red hair, some huge padded space suit and those red boots with big black soles. I wished I’d gone for something quiet, because I must have registered with him. He was well into his set. [Cavanagh, David. ‘Changes Fifty Bowie’ (Q 125, February 1997)]

Lillian Roxon interviewed Bowie at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel. Bowie also met with Lou Reed to confirm his special guest appearance at Bowie's upcoming benefit concert for Friends of the Earth at the Royal Festival Hall.

Tuesday June 13

Bristol Colston Hall

Allan Jones (2003): "Hello Bristol", he says with a sexy little twitch of his hip that makes the young girls scream. "I'm David Bowie. These are The Spiders From Mars. Let's rock!" And we do. Bristol's Colston Hall has never seen anything like this. Bowie is outrageous. astonishing, full of erotic charm and eerily seductive. There's no great stage set, pretty standard lighting, no special effects. Just Bowie, jjust the Spiders, with the amazing Mick Ronson.

Thursday June 15

Lift Off With Ayshea television appearance
Bowie and the Spiders perform Starman

Friday June 16

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust
And The Spiders From Mars

album released in UK

RCA SF 8287 Chart peak 5
US RCA LSP-4702 Chart peak 75

Five Years 4:42
Soul Love 3:34
Moonage Daydream 4:40
Starman 4:10
It Ain’t Easy (Ron Davies) 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

James Johnson, NME: By now everybody ought to know he’s tremendous and this latest chunk of fantasy can only enhance his reputation further.

Richard Cromelin, Rolling Stone: David Bowie has pulled off his complex task with consummate style, with some great rock & roll … with all the wit and passion required to give it sufficient dimension and with a deep sense of humanity that regularly emerges from behind the Star facade. The important thing is that despite the formidable nature of the undertaking, he hasn’t sacrificed a bit of entertainment value for the sake of message. I’d give it at least a 99.

Saturday June 17

Oxford Town Hall

During soundcheck Bowie hatched a plan with Mick Ronson, who had been experimenting with stage moves like Hendrix's playing with his teeth.

Bowie (2002) One person gnawing the guitar was one thing, but two people, well, that was two things … probably. I got all excited about this brave new idea and told Mick that, whatever happened tonight, he should just keep going. [Rock, Mick and Bowie, David. Moonage Daydream (Genesis Publications, 2002)]

At the climax of Suffragette City, Mick Rock was ready to capture the moment, then processed the film overnight.

Photograph © Mick Rock

Sunday June 18

Mick Rock brought the photograph to DeFries’s office, where Bowie wrote on it in Tippex, “Thanx to all our people for making Ziggy. I love you. Bowie x.” They ran it as a full-page ad in the July 15 issue of Melody Maker.

Monday June 19

Southampton Guildhall

Wednesday June 21

Friars, Civic Hall, Dunstable

Support: The Flamin’ Groovies

Bowie (1976): Somewhere along the line the Spiders got attached to David Bowie. So then the confusion set in about who was Ziggy and who was David Bowie, and even I didn’t quite understand how that happened. Suddenly I had a band called the Spiders and I was willing to go with it because it worked on stage and I liked the ambiguity of not being able to separate the personas.

Saturday June 24

Recording session at Trident Studios, London
Producers: David Bowie and Ken Scott

John, I’m Only Dancing (two takes)
I Can’t Explain (two takes)

Sunday June 25

Greyhound, Park Lane, Croydon

Support: Roxy Music

The queue stretched around the block and 1000 people were turned away. PR Dai Davies later issued a press release: “Bowie wishes to apologise … He intends to play another gig as soon as possible."

Roxy Music had released their debut album on June 16 and were gaining popularity since their appearance on Old Grey Whistle Test (performing Ladytron) four days after that. Backstage Bowie met their keyboard player Brian Eno for the first time.

Bowie (2002): Eno, looking quite the glam rocker at the time, was so bright and mercurial and we quickly found we shared a number of similar musical passions. We had both been lucky enough to have been present at Philip Glass’ first London show in 1970 and we wittered on about maybe working together at some point in the future. [Rock, Mick and Bowie, David. Moonage Daydream (Genesis Publications, 2002)]

Monday June 26

Recording session at Olympic Studios
117 Church Road, Barnes
Producer: David Bowie
Engineer: Keith Harwood

John, I’m Only Dancing (nine takes)

The Spiders were joined by violinist Lindsay Scott who is heard at the end of the choruses, doubling Ronson’s guitar. Bowie chose the entrance hall for its natural reverb to record the handclaps.

Thursday June 29

As Starman ascended the UK singles chart, Bowie was invited to perform it on Top Of The Pops, which required a backing tape to accompany his live vocal. Four instrumental takes were recorded.

Friday June 30

Alice Cooper and Roxy Music at Wembley Empire Pool

A gig in High Wycombe had been cancelled in mid-June as they were "saturated with gigs that weekend". Bowie, Iggy Pop and Mick Rock opted instead for Alice Cooper’s last UK show, meeting Alice backstage.

Tony DeFries changed the name of his company to MainMan Ltd and designed the logo, loosely based on the Superman crest.

Mainman sticker


July 1972

Recording session at Olympic Studios, Barnes
Mott The Hoople All The Young Dudes album

Producer: David Bowie
Engineers: Keith Harwood, Dave Hentschel, Ted Sharp

Saturday July 1

Winter Gardens Pavilion, Weston-super-Mare

All was well until the venue received a bomb threat - not uncommon during that time of IRA activity. One concert-goer recalls the evacuation:

Bruce Cherry (2012): Our VIP visitors from Mars were not to be spared this worldly experience on that July night. Someway through the set, the lights went up and the Winter Gardens were cleared and concert-goers quickly found themselves standing outside in the warm night air while the building was searched for suspicious packages. The Spiders From Mars were also turfed out onto the pavement and my pal and I found ourselves standing right next to the bizarrely clad band.

Now, I have to say that while the costumes under a 'beer light' added to the stage spectacle, they looked pretty bloody ridiculous outside under the cold light of a Weston streetlamp. In fact, Bowie and the fellow Spiders came in for a bit of good-humoured banter and abuse from certain sections of the beer-fuelled, denim-wearing crowd, including me. No bombs were found and the concert restarted. Alas, the magic that might have been lost. Although the band recovered their poise and played on, it was hard to take the Ziggy persona too seroiusly (if we were ever supposed to). [‘Pantomime Dame’ (Letters, Uncut, July 2012)]

Sunday July 2

Rainbow Pavilion, Torquay

Wednesday July 5

Top Of The Pops television appearance
BBC Television Centre, London


Woody Woodmansey (2009): I recall waiting to go on, standing in a corridor, and Status Quo were opposite us … and they had on their trademark denim. Francis Rossi looked at me and said, ‘Shit, you make us feel old.’ [Hughes, Rob. ‘The making of Starman’ (Uncut, June 2009)]

Siouxsie Sioux (2003): I was 15 when I first saw David Bowie on Top Of The Pops, and I was in hospital recovering from a serious illness. I just couldn't believe how striking he was. That ambiguous sexuality was so bold and futuristic that it made the traditional male/female role-play thing seem so outdated. Besides, I'd lost so much weight and had got so skinny that Bowie actually made me look cool. It was no coincidence that so many people involved in punk at the beginning had been inspired by him. [Mojo David Bowie Special Edition, November 2003]

Ian McCulloch (2003): It was just the impact of that performance, it was like the pivotal thing in my life. I felt like I was the only dude who got this bloke. The way he looked on Top Of The Pops and the arm around Ronson. I identified with his look because I looked a bit androgynous at that time myself as a kid. [Uncut, March 2003]

Boy George (2003): For me, Bowie was a life changer. If you’re a kid living in an environment where you feel alien most of the time, and you suddenly see this guy on telly in a catsuit with no eyebrows putting his arm around another man, it’s incredible. The Starman performance on Top Of The Pops was brilliant but the most significant time for me was when he did Jean Genie [on Top Of The Pops]... I was particularly fond of his shoes – fantastic sling backs, sort of cork girls shoes, which I begged my mother to get me. I didn’t get them but I’ve got them now – I had them made about 10 years ago. As for Bowie exploiting the idea of being gay, what he did was really important because he tapped into that sexual undercurrent of the time, and I think Angie was a lot to do with that. A lot of us were as much fans of her as we were of him. I think she’s been written out of that period unfairly. [Uncut, March 2003]

Friday July 7

Rehearsals at Underhill Studios, 1 Blackheath Hill, Greenwich

Photographer Masayoshi Sukita was in London for a June 30 T.Rex photo session with make-up artist Yasuko (Yacco) Takahashi (below right).

Sukita (2011): Not long after my arrival I saw an amazing poster of him on a London street promoting David's concert at the Royal Festival Hall and I quickly decided I must go to this show. I went without my camera, as a member of the audience, just to observe.

Saturday July 8

Friends of the Earth Save the Whale Benefit Concert
Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, London
Compere: Kenny Everett

Supports: JSD, Marmalade

Bowie (2002): It was part of my crusade to present these fantastic underground artists to the world and get them an audience. I had a real joy in “you ain’t seen nothing yet”, these are two great influences who will influence rock from this point on. [DuNoyer, Paul ‘Contact’ (Mojo, July 2002)]

Ray Coleman, Melody Maker: When a shooting star is heading for the peak, there is usually one concert at which it’s possible to declare, “That’s it – he’s made it.” For David Bowie, opportunity knocked loud and clear last Saturday at London’s Royal Festival Hall – and he left the stage a true 1972-style pop giant, clutching flowers from a girl who ran up and hugged and kissed him while a throng of fans milled around the stage. It was an exhilarating sight. [Coleman, Ray. ‘A star is born’ (Melody Maker, 15 July 1972)]

Seeing the effect Bowie had on his audience, Sukita asked Yacco to arrange a meeting with Tony DeFries to show him his portfolio. He only had his fashion work with him, but DeFries and Mick Rock were impressed and arranged a session with Bowie.

DeFries also invited David Bailey and Brian Duffy to create some high-quality studio shots for Bowie’s upcoming US and Japan tour promotion even though they were unfamiliar with Bowie’s work.

Photo shoot Duffy

Photo © Duffy

This Duffy session was not used, but Bowie was impressed and asked Duffy back to shoot the cover of Aladdin Sane in January.

Thursday July 13

Photo shoot David Bailey

Photo © David Bailey


Photo shoot Masayoshi Sukita

Photos © Sukita

Sukita: I rented the studio from a Japanese photographer called Hiroshi Yoda and we did the session a week before David's show at the Rainbow Theatre. Immediately beforehand, Bowie had been at another photo shoot with David Bailey. Yacco-san had to return to Tokyo so instead, Masae Shimada (Neko-san), a fashion journalist based in London at that time, kindly offered her assistance. The whole session lasted just two hours. These photos were featured in a popular Japanese fashion magazine, an-an, receiving a great deal of response from the readers.

The foyer of London's Rainbow Theatre

Rainbow Theatre foyer with Sukita portrait
and George Underwood poster photo © Sukita


Poster © George Underwood

Friday July 14

MainMan arranged for RCA to fly in 19 American music journalists including Lillian Roxon, Henry Edwards, Ron Ross, Lisa Robinson, Dave Marsh and Alan Rich for the finale of the first UK Ziggy Stardust tour. Their firsthand reports would prepare American audiences for the coming tour.

Dennis Katz arrived in London with the writers who were put up at the Inn On The Park, given cocktails at RCA, then wined and dined at an Italian restaurant.

Lou Reed at King’s Cross Cinema

Reed took the stage after midnight with a 13 song set, including some VU songs re-recorded for his Lou Reed album.

Mick Rock's coverage of Reed's first UK headline included this shot that Reed chose for Transformer.

Saturday July 15

Melody Maker ran the full-page ad featuring Mick Rock’s guitar 'fellatio' shot as the UK Ziggy Stardust tour wound up where it opened in January.

Friars Borough Assembly Hall, Aylesbury

photograph © Michael Putland

After the concert, followed by the coachload of journalists, Bowie headed back to London to see Iggy's UK debut at King’s Cross Cinema. DeFries had organised it to show off his latest signing to the press.

Iggy & the Stooges at King’s Cross Cinema

45 minutes of mayhem that Nick Kent described as "more frightening than all the Alice Coopers and Clockwork Oranges put together, simply because these guys weren’t joking." [Kent, Nick. ‘An initiation into Iggy Pop’ (NME, 29 July 1972)]

Mick Rock's photograph chosen for the cover of Raw Power

Sunday July 16

Press conference
Dorchester Hotel, London

Mick Rock (2002): David was planning this tour for the fall of 1972 and the idea was to generate some press. David was starting to be a big deal in England and Lou and Iggy had both recently arrived and obviously they were invited for part of the flavouring of things. [Rock, Mick and Bowie, David. Moonage Daydream (Genesis Publications, 2002)]

The Unholy Trinity ... and Tony DeFries photos © Mick Rock

Mick Rock (1999): I knew I was going to get this picture no matter what happened. I was not letting anybody out until I got a shot of the three of them together. At the time it wasn’t really a big deal. Because David was just breaking and just starting to garner a lot of attention and Iggy and Lou were still underground figures. That’s the only time the three of them were in a photograph together. It just happened. That was just one of those great fortuitous things. [ – Mick Rock: Ziggy Stardust Photographer (1999)]

Charles Shaar Murray (1972): Lou Reed and his band are there, all the Spiders*, and curled up in a corner in a Bolan T-shirt, eye shadow and silvered hair, is Iggy Pop. [Murray, Charles Shaar. ‘David at the Dorchester’ (NME, July 1972)]

Iggy, Angie, Suzi Fussey, Trevor Bolder and Lou Reed reading Creem – perhaps the Lester Bangs article mentioned on the cover:

Monday July 17

London to Cyprus

Bowie, Angie, Woodmansey and Bolder left for a two-week holiday in Cyprus. During their stay, Bowie was involved in a head-on collision at a level crossing outside Kyrenia, where they were staying at a coastal resort. Bowie escaped injury but was charged in court with dangerous driving. The charges were dropped after he paid damages for the other car.

Friday July 28

All The Young Dudes 3:33 One Of The Boys (Hunter-Ralphs) 5:35

Mott The Hoople single released in UK
CBS S 8271 UK chart peak 7
A-side produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson

Saturday July 29

Revelations - A Musical Anthology For Glastonbury Fayre released

The triple album, featuring highlights from the 1971 festival, would have included songs from Bowie’s set but the organisers were denied permission. They surrendered the master tapes to MainMan who lost them. Instead Bowie contributed the Spiders version of The Supermen, recorded during the Ziggy Stardust sessions on November 12.

Sunday July 30

Cyprus to London

Bowie, Angie, Woodmansey and Bolder flew back to the UK, and were thrown about in the turbulence of an electrical storm. Presciently Bowie had said to Mick Rock in March, “I get worried about dying. At the moment it’s this terrible travel thing. I keep thinking we’re going to crash.” [Rock, Mick. ‘David is just not serious’ (Rolling Stone 110, 8 June 1972)]

Bowie would not fly again until 1977.

August 1972


Thursday August 10 – Monday August 14

Rehearsals at Rainbow Theatre, London

Two shows were scheduled (and sold out) for August 18-19 at the Rainbow Theatre with Lindsay Kemp designing and choreographing the elaborate Ziggy Stardust show. A third show was later added due to demand.

Friday August 11

Transformer album sessions
Trident Studios, London

Producers: David Bowie and Mick Ronson
Engineer: Ken Scott

Lou Reed had readily agreed to Bowie’s offer to produce Transformer, feeling that he could provide what was lacking from Reed's first album.

Lou Reed (2001): [RCA] said, 'The first record was a flop so go make another one.’ You know, in those days they gave you a chance, you could go make another one. With Ronno and David there was a real simpatico which is certainly part of the situation I had in the Velvets and it was miles above where I’d been on the Lou Reed record where there was nothing simpatico. I just ran over the songs with them. By that, I mean the chord structure and the melody. [Classic Albums: Transformer (Eagle Rock, 2001)]

Andy’s Chest was a Velvet Underground song that they slowed down and built up with layers of Bowie’s backing vocals. Another Velvets holdover Satellite Of Love was given a similar treatment.

Lou Reed (2001): David’s amazing at background vocal parts – ‘bom bom bom’ – that’s okay, that’s really great, but the really great thing is the high note at the end. Very few people could do that. I just loved when he did that, I mean – what a move. When he goes up like that… really pure and beautiful. [Classic Albums: Transformer (Eagle Rock, 2001)]

Walk On The Wild Side began as a song Reed had written in 1971 for a play never made so Reed adapted it as an ode to Warhol ‘superstars’.

Lou Reed (1973): I have always thought it would be kinda fun to introduce people to characters they maybe hadn't met before, or hadn't wanted to meet, y'know. The kind of people you sometimes see at parties but don't dare approach. [Kent, Nick. ‘A walk on the wild side of Lou Reed’ (NME, 9 June 1973)]

Herbie Flowers (2001): I put the double bass down first with the guitar and the drums. So then I asked Ken if I could go straight back down and overdub the electric bass in tenths, just to give it a little bit more atmosphere or character. [Classic Albums: Transformer (Eagle Rock, 2001)]

Saturday August 12

Rehearsals at Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, London

Sunday August 13

Mott The Hoople at Civic Hall, Guildford, Surrey

Bowie and Reed attended the show with DeFries. Bowie joined the band for All The Young Dudes.

Wednesday August 16
– Saturday August 19

Rehearsals at Rainbow Theatre
and Stratford Royal Theatre, London

Prior to the first show, keyboardist Nicky Graham was fired by DeFries and, at Ken Scott's suggestion, replaced by Procol Harum’s Matthew Fisher.

John, I’m Only Dancing promo film shoot
Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, London
Director: Mick Rock

Bowie and the Spiders mimed to a record player hooked up to the PA

Mick Rock's original promo, filmed August 19

2017 remake of the promo by Nacho's Videos, incorporating footage from the silent 30 minute 16mm outtakes reel, transferred to video by MainMan in 1995

Saturday August 19
Sunday August 20

Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, London
Supports: Lloyd Watson, Roxy Music

Programme and poster design: George Underwood
Choreography: Lindsay Kemp
Astronettes costume design: Natasha Kornilof

The concerts opened with a screening of Un Chien Andalou (resurrected on the 1976 Isolar tour), followed by Ode To Joy, as Bowie emerged from shadows through a cloud of dry ice.

Mick Rock filmed the show for his (unreleased) documentary Ziggy Across The Rainbow, including interviews with fans and guests like Elton John.

Charles Shaar Murray, NME: “It made Alice look like a third form dramatic society... There really isn’t anything going that tops the current Ziggy show.” [213][Murray, Charles Shaar. Bowie – Dry Ice, Nice Legs and Absolute Ascendancy (NME, 26 August, 1972)]

Bowie backstage and with Lou Reed (top) at the Rainbow Theatre
photographs © Sukita


Hang On To Yourself 2:55 Man In The Middle 4:10
Arnold Corns single released in UK
B&C CB 189

Saturday August 26

Bowie decided that Lindsay Kemp’s choreography hadn’t worked. They would play the rest of the tour with simpler stage wear and white light.

Matthew Fisher was unavailable for the tour so the band was joined by pianist Robin Lumley for tour rehearsals at the Rainbow.

Bowie's first choice, Bob Sargeant, was also unavailable but his friend Richie Dharma called Robin Lumley who "jumped at it".

Robin Lumley (2006): At that time I was learning to play the piano and I knew about seven chords. I just managed to bluff.

The tour songlist Bowie wrote out for Robin Lumley

Sunday August 27

Locarno Centre, Electric Village, Bristol

Monday August 28

Rehearsals at Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, London

Wednesday August 30

Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, London

Thursday August 31

Starkers, Royal Ballrooms, Boscombe, Bournemouth

September 1972

Friday September 1

St. Leger Festival, Top Rank Suite, Doncaster

John, I’m Only Dancing 2:43 Hang On To Yourself 2:38
single released in UK
RCA 2263 Chart peak 12

Saturday September 2

Hardrock Concert Theatre, Stretford, Manchester

Over a thousand fans were turned away from the sold-out show, the first concert staged at the newest British purpose-built rock ‘supervenue’.

Manchester photograph © Mick Rock

Sunday September 3

Hardrock Concert Theatre, Stretford, Manchester

Monday September 4

Top Rank Suite, Liverpool

Tuesday September 5

Top Rank Suite, Sunderland

All The Young Dudes single peaked at number 3 in the UK. As Ian Hunter later said, “We got our morale back and decided to keep going.”

Wednesday September 6

Top Rank Suite, Sheffield

Thursday September 7

Top Rank Suite, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent

Pianist Robin Lumley was not available for the US tour, and auditions failed to find his replacement.

Friday September 8

All The Young Dudes

Mott The Hoople album released in UK
CBS 965184 Chart peak 12

Side one
Sweet Jane (Reed) 4:20
Momma's Little Jewel (Hunter-Watts) 4:26
All The Young Dudes (Bowie) 3:31
Sucker (Hunter-Ralphs-Watts) 4:58
Jerkin' Crocus (Hunter) 4:00

Side two
One Of The Boys (Hunter-Ralphs) 6:46
Soft Ground (Allen) 3:16
Ready For Love/After Lights (Ralphs) 6:46
Sea Diver (Hunter) 2:54

Recorded in May at Trident Studios, and July at Olympic Studios

Arranged by Mott The Hoople and David Bowie
Produced by Bowie, who also played saxophone
Ronson arranged the strings and brass on Sea Diver

Sleeve concept/art direction by Mick Rock
Colour retouching by George Underwood

Ian Hunter (1974): We’d always got a murky, dirty sound without much clarity. We didn’t know how to do it properly. We had wanted to be a classy band. When David took over, the sound got clear. We learned a lot of things about arranging and production; it was a technical change. [074][Campbell, Mary. ‘Mott The Hoople, saved by Bowie, hits stardom’ (The Lowell Sun, 2 January 1974)]

Sunday September 10

Southhampton to New York on the QE2

The Bowies and the Underwoods sailed to America with tour companions George and Birgit Underwood.

Iggy & the Stooges began four weeks of recording sessions for the Raw Power album at CBS Studios in London.

Sunday September 17

New York

The Bowies and the Underwoods checked into the Plaza Hotel. RCA's Gustl Breuer joined the entourage to keep an eye on expenditure.

Monday September 18

Rehearsals at RCA Recording Studios, New York

During rehearsals, auditions were held for pianists for the tour. Ronson suggested Mike Garson who had played on Annette Peacock’s album I’m The One, a current favourite of theirs. Garson's background was jazz/avant-garde, having played with Mel Tormé, Nancy Wilson and Martha Reeves, among others.

Mike Garson (2011): I had played with all those people, so I was looking for something different and they seemed plenty different! I went into shock when I went into RCA Recording Studios to audition because I see this one guy with red hair, one guy with this blonde hair, one guy with the silver-black hair with this kind of weird beard... and I come in wearing Dungarees and a T-shirt from giving a piano lesson in Brooklyn. Mick Ronson conducted the audition and David was listening in the studio. I said, “Mr. David Bowie, I’m sorry that I don’t know who you are, but I certainly will play my best.” I only played about eight seconds on the song called Changes and Mick said, “You got it.” A week later I’m in Cleveland, Ohio for the first show of the Spiders from Mars. [ – Mike Garson interview (19 July 2011)]

Tuesday September 19

New York Dolls at Mercer Arts Centre, Broadway Hotel

Photograph © Bob Gruen

Bowie and the Spiders (minus Bolder), Angie, Mick and Sheila Rock met the Dolls – the start of Bowie’s friendship with their singer David Johansen and his girlfriend Cyrinda Foxe.

Wednesday September 20

New York to Pennsylvania to Cleveland

Throughout the tour, Bowie and a small entourage travelled by chartered coach, train and car. Leee Black Childers and Cherry Vanilla and the rest of the crew would fly ahead who did the rounds of the local media, ensured the records were available in the shops and checked the venues were adequate.

Thursday September 21

Rehearsals at Music Hall, Cleveland

1972 US Tour

David Bowie (vocals, guitar)
Mick Ronson (guitar)
Trevor Bolder (bass)
Woody Woodmansey (drums)
Mike Garson (piano)

Robin Mayhew: sound engineer
Peter Hunsley: stage manager
Willie Palin: equipment manager
Sue Fussey: wardrobe mistress, hairstylist
Bob See: lighting director
Ron Meadows: lighting operator
Stephen Hurston: lighting operator
Jaime Andrews: road manager
Tony Zanetta: tour co-ordinator (MainMan)
Barry Bethell: tour manager (RCA)
Martin Pierpoint: assistant tour manager (RCA)

Stuart George and Tony Frost: personal security to Bowie
Antony Jones: chef
Leee Black Childers and Cherry Vanilla: publicity
Tony DeFries and Melanie McDonald
George and Birgit Underwood
Gustl Breuer (RCA America)

Friday September 22

Cleveland Music Hall, Cleveland

Cleveland photographs © John Lynn Kirk/Redferns

Saturday September 23

Cleveland to Memphis

Along the way, a jam on the bus began with George Underwood playing around with the Yardbirds' I’m A Man and evolved into The Jean Genie.

Sunday September 24

Ellis Auditorium (North Music Hall), Memphis

After the sold out show they partied at The Memphis Downtowner Inn.

Memphis photograph © Mick Rock

Bowie was interviewed in his hotel room by the local newspaper and Cream. Timothy Ferris reported on the interview for the feature “David Bowie in America” published November 9 – Bowie’s first Rolling Stone cover story.

Bowie’s first public performance in America was rapturously received by the ecstatic 3200-strong crowd who rushed the stage at the end of the show. 21-year-old Akron resident Chrissie Hynde went backstage to meet him. She and her friends ended up driving him to dinner in her mother's Oldsmobile Cutlass. "This is a nice car," Bowie observed politely.

Wednesday September 27

Press at the Plaza Hotel, New York

Bowie interviewed by Al Aronowitz, whose claim to fame was introducing Bob Dylan to The Beatles in New York.

Thursday September 28

Carnegie Hall, New York

RCA announced a complete sell-out. MainMan had given away most of the tickets to journalists and New York scenesters like Cyrinda Foxe and Geri Miller. The resulting shortage of tickets ensured Bowie’s New York debut was the hottest ticket in town.

Cyrinda Foxe and Angie at the Plaza suite
photo © Leee Black Childers

Friday September 29

ABC news report with interview and Carnegie Hall rehearsal footage.

October 1972

Sunday October 1

Music Hall, Boston

The concert (like others in New York and Los Angeles) was recorded for a planned live album, which got as far as mixing and cover artwork by George Underwood before being shelved.

Monday October 2

Boston to New York

Bowie and the tour party travelled to New York to record new material and mix Lou Reed’s Transformer.

Wednesday October 4
Thursday October 5

Recording session
RCA Studio D, 155 E 24th St, New York
Producer: David Bowie
Engineers: Mike Moran, Joe Lopes

Untitled recordings

Friday October 6

Recording session
RCA Studio D, 155 E 24th St, New York
Producer: David Bowie
Engineer: Mike Moran

The Jean Genie

The Jean Genie was based on jamming the Yardbirds’ I’m A Man on the tour bus a fortnight earlier. After jamming on the riff “as a laugh” in the studio, with a hastily written lyric, the song took shape.

They recorded the track in one take and added overdubs. An hour and a half later it was complete and they had the next single.

Bowie (1973): I wanted to get the same sound the Stones had on their very first album. I didn’t get that near to it, but it had a feel that I wanted – that Sixties thing.

New York to Chicago (overnight on the Broadway Ltd)

Saturday October 7

Recording session
RCA Studios, Chicago
Producer: David Bowie

John, I’m Only Dancing
(a new version for possible inclusion on the next album)

Auditorium Theatre, Chicago

Auditorium Theatre, Chicago photograph © Mick Rock

Sunday October 8

Chicago to Detroit by train (on The Wolverine)

The Fisher Theatre, Detroit

Monday October 9

Detroit to Chicago to St Louis

Wednesday October 11

Kiel Auditorium, St Louis

Despite the efforts of Leee Black Childers and Cherry Vanilla to drum up publicity, the audience was well below the 10,000 capacity and scattered about in numbered seats.

Bowie (2002): Only a few hundred stalwart fans showed. I got them to come down to the front, to the orchestra pit, and gave them a real intimate show, talk going back and forth between us all night. [Rock, Mick and Bowie, David. Moonage Daydream (Genesis Publications, 2002)]

Thursday October 12

Production at RCA Studio B, Nashville

John, I’m Only Dancing
The Supermen
Life On Mars?
[recorded live at Boston Music Hall, October 1]
The Jean Genie [mono and stereo versions]

Saturday October 14

St Louis to Kansas City by train (on The National Ltd)

Sunday October 15

Memorial Hall, Kansas City

Concert rescheduled from the 12th at the last minute, resulting in another near empty venue. To make matters worse, Bowie fell off the stage.

Memorial Hall, Kansas City photo © Mick Rock

Monday October 16

Kansas City to Los Angeles by train (aboard Super Chief)

This luxury train boasted the Vista Dome observation car, which gave them a panoramic view of the passing scenery.

The entourage flew at noon to Los Angeles. At the Beverly Hills Hotel they took conspicuous consumption to the extreme.

Tuesday October 17

Los Angeles

In the grounds of the Beverly Hills Hotel Photo © Mick Rock

Mick Rock and Bowie did some test shots for the The Jean Genie film that would “locate Ziggy as a kind of Hollywood street-rat,” with a “consort of the Marilyn brand” – Cyrinda Foxe, who flew over from New York. Geoff MacCormack sent him two bomber jackets from London – dark blue and bright yellow – for the shoot.

Cyrinda Foxe and Bowie in a Beverly Hills bar photo © Mick Rock

Wednesday October 18

Raw Power remixing
Western Sound Studios, Los Angeles

Bowie spent three days with Iggy remixing the album. Iggy had produced the recording himself but with little studio expertise, found his mixing options were limited and DeFries rejected the result. Iggy then turned to Bowie, hoping to produce something fit for release.

Bowie (1991): He brought the 24-track tape in, and he put it up. He had the band on one track, lead guitar on another and him on a third. Out of 24 tracks there were just three tracks that were used. He said, “See what you can do with this.” I said, “Jim, there’s nothing to mix.” So we just pushed the vocal up and down a lot. On at least four or five songs that was the situation, including Search And Destroy. That’s got such a peculiar sound because all we did was occasionally bring the lead guitar up and take it out. [153][Horkins, Tony. ‘Tin Machine: Bowie & Gabrels’ (International Musician, December 1991)]

Friday October 20

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Los Angeles

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium photo © Mick Rock

This concert was recorded and broadcast live by KMET-FM, giving Bowie invaluable exposure. As the broadcast was good quality stereo, it was quickly bootlegged. It remains the essential 1972 tour document.

MainMan was running out of money. Several concerts were poorly attended, in New York they had papered the house, earning nothing. The rising costs threatened the whole tour. DeFries joined the tour in Los Angeles and found the entourage had grown to 46. Concerned about the hangers on they were attracting, he decreed that groupies were to be “sent home without breakfast”.

Saturday October 21

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Los Angeles

The second show was promptly booked and sold out, thanks to radio exposure and Rodney Bingenheimer’s tireless promotion.

Friday October 27

The Jean Genie film shoot
San Francisco

Director: Mick Rock
Camera: Mick Rock and Jerry Slick
Location: Mars Hotel, San Francisco studio

photos © Mick Rock

Winterland Auditorium, San Francisco

Support: Sylvester and his Hot Band, Phlorescent Leech and Eddie

Phlorescent Leech and Eddie was ex-Turtles Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, members of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention and drummer Aynsley Dunbar who later played on Pinups and Diamond Dogs.

Saturday October 28

Winterland Auditorium, San Francisco

Mick Rock looked at the previous day’s footage and decided they needed more, but they had used the entire budget of $350.

Mick Rock (1999): Somehow I got some more dollars off DeFries to rent an Arriflex camera – a silent one – and I shot all the live stuff myself the next night, because David did two nights at the Winterland. So, I filmed him singing The Jean Genie that night, processed overnight and, because there was no time, edited in one ten-hour rush. I had to chop it up a lot to keep everything in sync with his live performance, which was fairly close to the recorded version, as he’d only just recorded it. [Buckley, David. Strange Fascination (Virgin, 2005)]

Both Winterland shows were only half full, so they cut their losses and cancelled Dallas and Houston, which were selling slowly.

November 1972

Wednesday November 1

Paramount Theatre, Seattle

The Jean Genie 3:59 Hang On To Yourself 3:35

single released in US
RCA 74-0838 Chart peak 71

Saturday November 4

Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix

The trip to Phoenix inspired Bowie to write Drive-In Saturday. With no bookings until New Orleans, the band stayed put, sweltering in the Phoenix heat. Bowie shaved off his eyebrows, like the models in Kansai Yamamoto’s 1971 London fashion show.

Wednesday November 8


Lou Reed album released in US
RCA LSP-4807
Chart peak US 29 UK 13

Side one
Vicious 2:55
Andy’s Chest 3:17
Perfect Day 3:43
Hangin’ Round 3:39
Walk On The Wild Side 4:12

Side two
Make Up 2:58
Satellite Of Love 3:40
Wagon Wheel 3:19
New York Telephone Conversation 1:31
I’m So Free 3:07
Goodnight Ladies 4:19

Thursday November 9

Bowie's first Rolling Stone cover published

Friday November 10

RCA reissued Bowie’s Philips/Mercury albums with new artwork, 1972 photos and liner notes. Fine print on the back noted that they were recorded in 1969 and 1970 respectively. Initial pressings included posters of the cover photos and an inner sleeve with lyrics.


Space Oddity

RCA LSP 4813
Chart peak UK 17 US 16


1972 RCA reissue

The Man Who Sold The World

RCA LSP 4816
Chart peak UK 26 US 105


promotional EP released in US
RCA EP-45-103

Space Oddity 3:24 Moonage Daydream 4:30
Life On Mars? 3:45 It Ain’t Easy (Ron Davies) 2:52

Saturday November 11

Majestic Theatre, Dallas (cancelled)

Sunday November 12

Music Hall, Houston (cancelled)

Tuesday November 14

Layola University, New Orleans

Bowie began reworking the song Time, referencing Billy Murcia (‘Billy Dolls’), the New York Dolls drummer who had died November 6.

Friday November 17

Pirate’s World Amusement Park, Dania, Miami

Charles Shaar Murray reported the audience were more like “religious worshippers at some demonic ceremony than a bunch of people who’ve come together to hear some rock and roll.”

George and Birgit Underwood arrived with cover artwork for the planned Ziggy Stardust – US Tour album, having completed it in ten days.

Artwork © George Underwood

Monday November 20

Municipal Auditorium, Nashville

Wednesday November 22

The Warehouse, New Orleans

Friday November 24

The Jean Genie 3:59 Ziggy Stardust 3:13
single released in UK
RCA 2302 Chart peak 2

Walk On The Wild Side (Reed) 3:37 Perfect Day (Reed) 3:42
Lou Reed single released in UK
RCA 2303 Chart peak 10

Reed’s ode to the ‘superstars’ of Warhol’s Factory was Reed's first UK hit – the BBC censors missed the line “even when she was giving head”.

Saturday November 25
Sunday November 26

Public Auditorium, Cleveland

Tuesday November 28

Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh

Wednesday November 29

Mott The Hoople, Tower Theatre, Philadelphia

Bowie introduced the band and joined them for All The Young Dudes and played sax on Honky Tonk Women.

Thursday November 30

Tower Theatre, Philadelphia

Concert promoter Rick Green introduced Bowie to his aide Pat Gibbons, who would later become Bowie’s acting manager.

December 1972

Friday December 1
Saturday December 2

Tower Theatre, Philadelphia

Monday December 4 – Monday December 11

Aladdin Sane album recording sessions
RCA Studios, 155 E 24th St, New York
Producers: David Bowie, Ken Scott
Engineer: Mike Moran

Aladdin Sane
Drive-In Saturday
All The Young Dudes

Monday December 11

Press conference
RCA Studio 3, 155 E 24th St, New York

Photo © Bob Gruen

Wednesday December 13

Space Oddity promo film shoot
RCA Studio 3, 155 East 24th St, New York
Director: Mick Rock

Photo © Mick Rock

Bowie (2002): I really hadn’t much clue why we were doing this, as I had moved on in my mind from the song… I know I was disinterested in the proceedings and it shows in my performance. [Rock, Mick and Bowie, David. Moonage Daydream (Genesis Publications, 2002)]

After five hours of filming, Mick Rock saw him off on his week-long voyage aboard RHMS Ellinis, where he wrote the lyrics for the song Aladdin Sane.

Mick Rock (2002): The next day I went back to film the oscilloscope and other studio equipment. I viewed the studio as Major Tom’s ‘tin can’. [Rock, Mick and Bowie, David. Moonage Daydream (Genesis Publications, 2002)]

Thursday December 21

Bowie was welcomed home as a conquering hero, thanks in part to Charles Shaar Murray’s reviews filed from America earlier in the month. Full-page ads in the music weeklies announcing, “Bowie’s Back!” had listed UK tour dates, several of which were already sold out.

Saturday December 23

Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, London

NME article “Rainbowie” announced Bowie’s first homecoming show, added after the Christmas Eve date had sold out. Bowie, wrote Charles Shaar Murray, “is virtually unassailable”.

Sunday December 24

Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, London

Charles Shaar Murray’s review of the concert noted the beginnings of Ziggymania, with “young girls reaching out for our hero’s supple limbs and squealing in the customary manner. That American tour has really honed the Spiders to perfection – the show is tougher, flashier and more manic than it’s ever been before.”

Presciently Murray added, “Maybe it’s time for Ziggy to retire and for David to usher in the next phase.” [‘Ziggy Pulls The Squealers’ (NME, 6 January 1973)]

Thursday December 28

The Hardrock Concert Theatre, Stretford, Manchester

Supporting act in Manchester was Fumble, a Fifties revival band who had caught Bowie’s attention. Keyboard player Sean Mayes went on to play on Bowie’s 1978 tour and Lodger.

As Bowie was leaving the Hardrock, 13-year old Steven Morrissey wrapped a coin in a piece of paper with his phone number written on it and pushed it through Bowie’s car window. Bowie phoned him – in 1995. Morrissey supported Bowie on that year's Outside tour.

Friday December 29

The Hardrock Concert Theatre, Stretford, Manchester

A second night was added due to huge public demand, capping a year of almost relentless touring and recording.



Bowie Golden Years v1.0 created and designed by Roger Griffin 2000
Bowie Golden Years v2.0 2017-2020

Photographs and texts have been credited wherever possible

this page updated June 19, 2023