David Bowie

David Bowie

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars: 30th Anniversary Edition

EMI

Ziggy Stardust is one of a handful of records that you can honestly say changed everything that came after it. Based partly on the rise and fall of British rocker Vince Taylor, who went from rowdy rocker (it’s his “Brand New Cadillac” on The Clash’s London Calling) to onstage babbling Jesus freak in the span of a few years, and whose “rock and roll suicide” encapsulated the rock experience for a young David Bowie. Joining with The Spiders From Mars — guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder, and drummer Mick Woodmansey — Bowie created a persona that in the space of 11 songs came to define the glam rock sound and image, and in doing so, made perhaps his most consistently excellent album.

The songs found here, from the aching “Five Years” and the frantic “Moonage Daydream” to the finest four songs in a row on any album, anywhere by anybody — “Hang On to Yourself,” “Ziggy Stardust,” “Suffragette City,” and “Rock N’ Roll Suicide” that end the record have become overplayed radio fodder in their 30-year lifespan, but taken as a whole, few records contain the ability to transport you as fully as this. Ronson’s guitar is on fire, sleazy, crunchy, sounding almost stereotypically perfect. The production of Bowie and Ken Scott is artful without being overbearing, embellished with the string arrangements of Ronson and the hammered acoustic guitar of Bowie.

This two-CD set features a re-mastered version of the original record, as well a second disc containing demos and unreleased songs recorded during the same time as Ziggy, including “Velvet Goldmine,” “The Supermen,” and an incredible “Sweet Head.” The package includes a book that gives the listener a taste of the “life and times” of Ziggy, as well as showing some of the aliens children. Although Bowie would continue to make great music — Diamond Dogs and Low are two notable examples — his vision of an interstellar rock star was his most fully realized artistic moment. His, and most anyone else’s, as well. “Ahh, wham bam thank ya m’am,” indeed…

David Bowie: http://www.davidbowie.com

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