"Ziggy Stardust" presented to the world rock's first completely prepackaged persona.... Read More
It also defined the glitter-rock moment of the early Seventies and took rock theatrics and pan-sexuality to a new peak. Most of all, despite the calculated feyness of its presentation, "Ziggy Stardust," packed an exhilarating sonic wallop.
The keys to "Ziggy's" success were several: eleven excellent songs, all but one composed, down to the last reverberating riff, by Bowie (the exception was Ron Davie's much-covered "It Ain't Easy"); an immaculate and unmannered production by Ken Scott; and explosive backup by the Spiders from Mars - in retrospect, clearly the most exciting band Bowie has ever had. Bowie met guitarist Mick Ronson in late 1969 and quickly recruited him to play in a short-lived group called Hype, which also included his then producer, Tony Visconti, on bass. Before long, Ronson brought in drummer Mick Woodmansey to help Bowie record a single version of "Memory of a free Festival," a popular song from David's second album. Ronson and Woodmansey had worked together in their native Hull, in the north of England, in a blues band called the Rats, which had released two obscure singles. By the spring of 1971, Ronson and Woodmansey had been joined in London by yet another Rat, bassist Trevor Bolder, and the soon to be Spiders from mars were complete.
The Spiders made their vinyl debut backing Bowie on a single, credited to Arnold Corns (a Bowie side project), that paired "Hang On to Yourself" and "Moonage Daydream," two songs that would later be recut for the "Ziggy" LP> For the "Hunky Dory" sessions they were joined by the future Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman. Then, in June, Bowie took his trio into London's Trident Studios to being work on "Ziggy Stardust." Behind the board (a simple eight-track) was Ken Scott, who had started out as an engineer on two earlier Bowie LPs and had become his producer with "Hunky Dory." Bowie, who had previously been a bit of a hippie, told Scott that "Ziggy" was going to be a real rock & roll album. Several of the songs he had written for it had already been tested before concert audiences, and on LP they were to be connected within a concept - the prefab legend of Ziggy Stardust, a dissolute, ambi-sexual "plastic rocker" who fictive saga was loosely based on the career of an obscure American singer named Vince Taylor, whom Bowie had encountered on the streets of London some years earlier. The character's concocted surname was borrowed from the Legen