I’m often amazed by how prolific the great musical artists were in their early days. Looking at the output of a Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder or The Beatles, I can only imagine how great it must have been to be a fan hearing new, incredible material year after year.
David Bowie released what might be his best album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, in June of 1972, just six months after Hunky Dory. And his next classic album (stay tuned ’til next week) came out less than a year after this one. To put it in terms Hamilton fans will appreciate, the man was non-stop!
I can’t think of many albums as chock full of hits as this one. I don’t know how many of its songs actually charted, but every single one of these 11 tracks could be a single. The guitar riffs and melodies are instantly memorable, the rockers exhilarating, the ballads poignant. Not only isn’t there a weak song on this album, there isn’t a weak moment.
Ziggy Stardust also gave Bowie his most enduring alter ego, the “bisexual alien rock star,” as Wikipedia puts it. Long before Lady Gaga hit the stage, Bowie gave a voice to the weird, and nowhere as beautifully as on this album.
And The Spiders from Mars
He played it left hand, but made it too far
Became the special man
Then we were Ziggy’s Band
Ziggy really sang, screwed up eyes and screwed down hairdo
Like some cat from Japan, he could lick ’em by smiling
He could leave ’em to hang
Here came on so loaded man, well hung and snow white tan
So where were the spiders while the fly tried to break our balls?
Just the beer light to guide us
So we bitched about his fans and should we crush his sweet hands?
Ziggy played for time, jiving us that we were Voodoo
The kids was just crass
He was the naz
With God-given ass
He took it all too far
But boy could he play guitar
Making love with his ego Ziggy sucked up into his mind
Like a leper messiah
When the kids had killed the man
I had to break up the band
Ziggy played guitar