Ziggy Stardust (song)

"Ziggy Stardust"

Cover to Bowie's 1994 single of live version
Song by David Bowie from the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Released 16 June 1972[1]
11 June 1990 (Rykodisc Reissue)
Recorded November 1971
Genre Glam rock
Length 3:13
Label RCA Records
Writer(s) David Bowie
Producer(s) David Bowie and Ken Scott
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars track listing
Side one
  1. "Five Years"
  2. "Soul Love"
  3. "Moonage Daydream"
  4. "Starman"
  5. "It Ain't Easy"
Side two
  1. "Lady Stardust"
  2. "Star"
  3. "Hang On to Yourself"
  4. "Ziggy Stardust"
  5. "Suffragette City"
  6. "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide"
Music video
"Ziggy Stardust" (From The Motion Picture) on YouTube

"Ziggy Stardust" is a song written and recorded by David Bowie for his 1972 concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The song features Bowie's alter ego Ziggy Stardust, a rock star who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings.[2] In 2010 the song ranked at No. 282 on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". The song is also included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.[3]

The character was inspired by British rock 'n' roll singer Vince Taylor, whom David Bowie met after Taylor had a breakdown and believed himself to be a cross between a god and an alien,[4][5] though Taylor was only part of the blueprint for the character.[6] Other influences included the Legendary Stardust Cowboy[7] and Kansai Yamamoto, who designed the costumes Bowie wore during the tour.[8] The Ziggy Stardust name came partly from the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, and partly, as Bowie told Rolling Stone Magazine, because Ziggy was "one of the few Christian names I could find beginning with the letter 'Z'".[9] He later explained in a 1990 interview for Q magazine that the Ziggy part came from a tailor's shop called Ziggy's that he passed on a train, and he liked it because it had "that Iggy [Pop] connotation but it was a tailor's shop, and I thought, Well, this whole thing is gonna be about clothes, so it was my own little joke calling him Ziggy. So Ziggy Stardust was a real compilation of things."[10][11]

The album version of the song came out of a November 1971 recording session. The original demo version of the song, recorded in February 1971, was released as a bonus track on the Rykodisc CD release of Ziggy Stardust in 1990.[12] The demo also appeared on the Ziggy Stardust - 30th Anniversary Reissue bonus disc in 2002. The album version of the song was recorded in November 1971.[13][14]

Live versions

"Ziggy Stardust"
Sample of "Ziggy Stardust" (1972). A pioneer of glam rock, Bowie performed as the character Ziggy Stardust, backed by the Spiders from Mars.

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Chart (2016) Peak
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[16] 75
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[17] 17

Cover versions


"Ziggy Stardust"
Single by Bauhaus
Released September 1982
Genre Gothic rock, post-punk, glam rock
Label Beggars Banquet
Writer(s) David Bowie
Bauhaus singles chronology
"Ziggy Stardust"
"Lagartija Nick"

The British gothic rock band Bauhaus recorded a version of "Ziggy Stardust" as their eighth single. The single was released in October 1982 through Beggars Banquet Records and reached number fifteen on the UK Singles Chart.[19] The B-side is a Brian Eno cover. It was released in 7" and 12" format on the Beggars Banquet label. The 12" additional live track "I'm Waiting for the Man" is a Velvet Underground cover.

Track listings

  1. "Ziggy Stardust" (Bowie) – 3:08
  2. "Third Uncle" (Eno) – 5:11
  1. "Ziggy Stardust" (Bowie) – 3:08
  2. "Party of the First Part" (Bauhaus) – 5:22
  3. "Third Uncle" (Eno) – 5:11
  4. "Waiting for the Man" (live) (Reed) – 5:31

Other covers


  1. "Happy 43rd Birthday to Ziggy Stardust". Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  2. "Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie". allmusic.com. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 March 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  4. "BBC – BBC Radio 4 Programmes – Ziggy Stardust Came from Isleworth". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  5. "The Leper Messiah : Vince Taylor". davidbowie.com. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  6. Mahoney, Elisabeth (20 August 2010). "Ziggy Stardust Came from Isleworth – review". London: guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  7. Scott Schinder, Andy Schwartz (2008). Icons of Rock. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 448. ISBN 0-313-33846-9. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  8. Shelton Waldrep (2004). The aesthetics of self-invention: Oscar Wilde to David Bowie. U of Minnesota Press. pp. 111–112. ISBN 0-8166-3418-1. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  9. "the album review site: La Roux Gets Sidetracked". album-review.co.uk. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  10. Michael Campbell (2005). Popular music in America: the beat goes on. Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. ISBN 0-534-55534-9.
  11. "David Bowie interview by Paul Du Noyer 1990". Pauldunoyer.com. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  12. Kevin Cann (2010). Any Day Now - David Bowie: The London Years: 1947-1974: p.255
  13. "ziggy stardust - Search Results - Pushing Ahead of the Dame".
  14. Peter Doggett (2011). The Man Who Sold The World - David Bowie and the 1970s: p.107
  15. Ruud Altenburg. "David Bowie - Illustrated db Discography > Ziggy Stardust CD-single".
  16. "David Bowie – Chart history" Japan Hot 100 for David Bowie. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  17. "David Bowie – Chart history" Billboard Hot Rock Songs for David Bowie. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  18. Sivad, Israfel (2012-07-29). Crossroads Blues. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 9781478328704.
  19. Roberts, David, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: HiT Entertainment. p. 45. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
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