Updated: Aug 27
“The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” is the fifth studio album from English musician David Bowie released on June 16, 1972. Detailing the wild ride of Ziggy Stardust, an androgynous, bisexual, rock n roll alien from Mars come to enlighten and save the Earth, “Spiders from Mars” was both a coming out statement and an aesthetically defining cultural reset more so than it was a fully realized concept album or rock opera. Following the mild radio success of his previous album “Hunky Dory,” Bowie realized that he needed something with a lot more flare to attract audiences to his live shows. A month after the album was released, Bowie appeared on the popular British music show “Top of the Pops” dressed as his title character Ziggy Stardust, performing in a rainbow jumpsuit, astronaut boots, and his signature (although shocking at the time) red hair. This propelled the album’s lead single “Starman” to the top of U.K. charts and first introduced the world to Bowie’s bizarre alien invasion. U2 front man Bono famously stated that, “The first time I saw him…singing ‘Starman’ on television. It was like a creature falling from the sky. Americans put a man on the moon. We had our own British guy from space.” Bowie used an amalgamation of various influences to craft his iconic space man, including proto-punk singer Iggy Pop from The Stooges, musician Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable, America’s Jimi Hendrix, and renowned cult musician and psychobilly pioneer Legendary Spacedust Cowboy, to craft, what Bowie defined as, “the ultimate pop idol.” Since credited as the album that started “glam rock,” “Ziggy Stardust” encapsulates the taboo themes of gender identity, sexuality, and the fear of not living up to society’s expectations. The album has since been certified 2x platinum in the U.K., inducted into the National Recording Registry and deemed “culturally, historically, or artistically significant” by the Library of Congress in the U.S., and ranks 19th among the most acclaimed albums in history worldwide. Experience the “wham bam, thank you, ma’am” abduction of this iconic trailblazing album by streaming songs like “Starman,” “Hang On to Yourself,” and “Suffragette City” on the 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition now available on Spotify!