BOWIE GOLDEN YEARS

1970  •  1971  •  1972  •  1973  •  1974  
1975  •  1976  •  1977  •  1978  •  1979  •  1980

 THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD  •  HUNKY DORY
THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST
AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS

ALADDIN SANE  •  PIN UPS  •  DIAMOND DOGS
YOUNG AMERICANS  •  STATION TO STATION
LOW  •  HEROES  •  LODGER  •  SCARY MONSTERS
ZIGGY STARDUST THE MOTION PICTURE
THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH  •  THE ELEPHANT MAN

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The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust
and The Spiders From Mars

released June 16, 1972

UK (RCA SF 8287)
US (RCA LSP-4702)
Chart peak UK 5 US 75

Side one
Five Years 4:42
Soul Love 3:34
Moonage Daydream 4:40
Starman 4:10
It Ain’t Easy 2:58

Side two
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

All songs by David Bowie except It Ain’t Easy (Ron Davies)

Produced by Ken Scott and David Bowie
Arrangements by David Bowie and Mick Ronson
Recorded at Trident Studios, London

David Bowie (vocals, guitar, saxophone)
Mick Ronson (guitar, piano, mellotron, ARP synth, vocal)
Trevor Bolder (bass)
Mick Woodmansey (drums)

Rick Wakeman (harpsichord on It Ain’t Easy)
Dana Gillespie (backing vocals on It Ain’t Easy)

Photography by Brian Ward
Artwork by Terry Pastor (Main Artery)

Selected reissues

April 1984 RCA picture disc

October 1984 RCA CD

June 1990 Rykodisc/EMI CD
with bonus tracks:
John, I'm Only Dancing 2:43
Velvet Goldmine 3:09
Sweet Head 4:14
Ziggy Stardust [demo] 3:38
Lady Stardust [demo] 3:35

July 1996 Rykodisc Au20 CD

September 1999 EMI remastered CD

July 2002 EMI 30th Anniversary 2CD
remastered with bonus disc:
Moonage Daydream [Arnold Corns version] 3:53
Hang On To Yourself [Arnold Corns version] 2:54
Lady Stardust [demo] 3:33
Ziggy Stardust [demo] 3:38
John, I'm Only Dancing 2:49
Velvet Goldmine 3:13
Holy Holy 2:25
Amsterdam 3:24
The Supermen 2:43
Round And Round 2:43
Sweet Head [Take 4] 4:52
Moonage Daydream [New Mix] 4:47

January 2007 Toshiba EMI mini LP replica CD

June 4, 2012 40th Anniversary CD
remastered by original Trident Studios engineer Ray Staff
limited edition vinyl
DVD:
5.1 mix in high resolution audio
2003 Ken Scott mixes of
Moonage Daydream (instrumental)
The Supermen
Velvet Goldmine
Sweet Head

Production

Trident Studios, St. Anne's Court, Wardour Street, London
November 1971 to February 1972

Producers: David Bowie, Ken Scott
Engineer: Mike Stone

Wednesday February 10, 1971

San Francisco to San Jose

Bowie was in America on a lowkey promotional tour, speaking with music press and radio stations, but no performances – he'd neglected to obtain the necessary permits.

In San Francisco Mercury Records’ Lewis Seigel introduced him to Rolling Stone writer John Mendelsohn who was covering Bowie's West Coast visit.

Holiday Inn, San Francisco Photographs © John Mendelsohn

At a San Jose radio station interview Bowie was invited to play some records. Mendelsohn found The Stooges’ I Wanna Be Your Dog in the racks. Bowie was transfixed by Iggy Pop and began to formulate his next project – the 'leper messiah' rock star.

Saturday February 13
Sunday February 14

Los Angeles

Bowie and Mendelsohn were met at the airport by DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, Mercury’s California publicist and Bowie’s guide there.

Bowie and Rodney Bingenheimer

Bowie stayed with RCA executive/producer Tony Ayres, on whose recording equipment he made a demo of Moonage Daydream. He told Bingenheimer and Ayres he was writing about an imaginary character called Ziggy Stardust. He also recorded a demo of Hang On To Yourself and asked Ayres to give it to Gene Vincent, who was also there recording demos.

Thursday February 18

Bowie arrived home on a high:

Bowie (1972): America was an incredible adrenalin trip. I got very sharp and very quick. Somehow or other I became very prolific. I wanted to write things that were more... immediate.

Bob Grace (2009): He was incredibly prolific. Songs were just pouring out of him and it was getting intimidating.

Thursday February 25

Radio Luxembourg studio, Hertford Street, London

Moonage Daydream
Hang On To Yourself

David Bowie (vocal, guitar)
Mark Pritchett (guitar)
Pete De Somogyl (bass)
Tim Broadbent (drums)

Bob Grace arranged more sessions for Bowie to test out the new songs with Rungk. Bowie called the project The Arnold Corns – a prototype for the Ziggy Stardust concept. Fred Burrett, now Freddie Burretti, was the nominal lead singer, but his real function would be to design Bowie’s clothes and facilitate his assimilation of the Kensington gay scene and Angela’s plan to scandalise straight Britain.

Tuesday March 9
Wednesday March 10

Radio Luxembourg studio, Hertford Street, London

Lady Stardust [demo]
Right On Mother [demo]

Friday May 7

Moonage Daydream 3:52 Hang On To Yourself 2:51

The Arnold Corns single released in UK (B&C CB 149)

Friday October 15

Underhill Studios, 1 Blackheath Hill, Greenwich, London

Work began on the Ziggy Stardust album with ten days of rehearsals at Underhill, a cheap two-roomed studio opened by Will Palin in September.

Sunday November 7
Monday November 8

Star
Hang On To Yourself

Thursday November 11

Star [new take]
Hang On To Yourself [new take]
Ziggy Stardust
Looking For A Friend
Velvet Goldmine
Sweet Head

Friday November 12

Moonage Daydream
Soul Love
The Supermen
Lady Stardust

Monday November 15

Five Years
It’s Gonna Rain Again
Shadow Man

Also recorded by this stage were Round And Round, Amsterdam and a new version of Holy Holy. By the time of Hunky Dory’s release, Bowie had recorded enough songs for the follow up album, and an early track list for Ziggy Stardust was drawn up:

Side one

Five Years
Soul Love
Moonage Daydream
Round And Round
Port Of Amsterdam

Side two

Hang On To Yourself
Ziggy Stardust
Velvet Goldmine
Holy Holy
Star
Lady Stardust

It Ain’t Easy was again held over as there were already two covers (Round And Round, Port Of Amsterdam).

1972

Tuesday January 4 – Thursday January 6

Underhill Studios, 1 Blackheath Hill, Greenwich, London

Mid January

Ziggy Stardust album cover shoot
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.

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”.

Wednesday February 2

A master tape was prepared with Port Of Amsterdam, He’s A Goldmine [Velvet Goldmine] and Holy Holy replaced by It Ain’t Easy, Suffragette City and Rock 'N' Roll Suicide.

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 responded by writing Starman, which would replace Round And Round in the final running order.

Shortly afterwards in a radio interview, Bowie was asked about Round And Round, Holy Holy, Amsterdam and other tracks that had been dropped from the track listing.

Bowie (1972): Round And Round would have been the perfect kind of number that Ziggy would have done on stage. I think probably what happened is that it was a jam. We jammed Round And Round for old times’ sake in the studio. The enthusiasm of the jam probably waned after we heard the track three times and we replaced it with a thing called Starman.

I certainly haven’t destroyed any of those tracks – I kept them all. I think that maybe we could put them out as a budget album or something at a later date… the stuff that never really got used. Because there are quite a few… there’s a thing called Bombers which is kind of a skit on Neil Young… also it’s quite funny. There’s a thing called He’s a Goldmine. He’s a Goldmine is lovely. But probably the lyrics are a little bit too provocative. I think they’ll keep that out for a bit. [376][5years.com/radint.htm – ‘Ziggy on radio’ (February 1972)]

Friday February 4

Starman
Suffragette City
Rock 'N' Roll Suicide

With the last three master takes in the can, the Ziggy Stardust recording sessions were complete. For Suffragette City, Ken Scott programmed an ARP synthesiser that Ronson played to emulate a driving horn section.

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. [Hughes, Rob. ‘The making of Starman’ (Uncut, June 2009)]

The ‘Morse code’ version appeared on the initial UK album release and the single in some countries. The US issues and all subsequent releases (except the 1980 compilation The Best Of Bowie) used the version where the ‘Morse code’ sound was lower in the mix.

The songs that didn't make the cut were released in following years:

Wednesday February 9

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

Wednesday March 1

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

Friday March 17

Town Hall, Birmingham

For the Birmingham show, Sue Fussey took the Ziggy hairstyle to its next stage, feathering it and dyeing it red.

Thursday June 15

Lift Off With Ayshea

Bowie and the Spiders perform Starman on the television show

Friday June 16

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust
and The Spiders From Mars released

 

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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 May 31, 2021