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It Ain't Easy

Side One: Five Years / Soul Love / Moonage Daydream / Starman / It Ain't Easy
Side Two: Lady Stardust / Star / Hang On To Yourself / Ziggy Stardust / Suffragette City / Rock n Roll Suicide

Albums: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars (1972)

Singles: It Ain't Easy

Time: 2:57


Final song on the first side of THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS (1972), "It Ain't Easy" was the earliest song recorded for the Ziggy Stardust album, having been laid down at the Trident Studios on 9 September 1971 for possible inclusion on "Hunky Dory"

Written by the American writer Ron Davies (not Ray Davies of The Kinks as some have mistakenly reported) "It Ain't Easy" is the only non-Bowie composition on the Ziggy Stardust album and was a widely covered white-blues song by musicians of the period including Three Dog Knight (1970) and Long John Baldry (1971). The original is to be found on Davie's album SILENT SONG THROUGH THE LAND (1970) and later on his U.F.O (1973) album. Welsh rocker Dave Edmunds even released a version of this song for his album ROCKPILE in June 1972, the same month as David Bowie! It was never performed by Bowie live during his Ziggy Stardust period or since that time

Why did Bowie include "It Ain't Easy" on the Ziggy Stardust album?

Many people have said - "It's a great song but why have it on this album?" - and also asked "what does it contribute to the story of Ziggy?" The song, which was widely covered by musicians of the period, first appeared at Bowie's live recording of John Peel's Sunday Concert on 5 June 1971, then was used as a Hunky Dory demo but missed being included on Hunky Dory (1971) itself, and finally was included on the Ziggy album.

Some say it doesn't really fit the album's concept and that Bowie had a wealth of his own material such as the excellent "Velvet Goldmine" and Sweet head" (unreleased till 1975 & 1990), so why include it at all?  Perhaps the best explanation comes from Bowie himself:

Early 1972 interview about the Ziggy Stardust album

Recording notes

According to Ken Scott, Bowie's friend Dana Gillespie helped out with backing vocals for this song.  Although not credited on the original LP, this has now been remedied on recent re-issues, as has Rick Wakeman being credited playing a harpsichord on this track.


 It Ain't Easy (Ron Davies)

When you climb to the top of the mountain
Look out over the sea

Think about the places perhaps, where a young man could be
Then you jump back down to the rooftops
Look out over the town
Think about all of the strange things circulating round

It ain't easy, it ain't easy
It ain't easy to get to heaven when you're going down

Well all the people have got their problems
That ain't nothing new
With the help of the good Lord
We can all pull on through
We can all pull on through
Get there in the end
Sometimes it'll take you right up and sometimes down again

It ain't easy, it ain't easy
It ain't easy to get to heaven when you're going down

Satisfaction, satisfaction
Keep me satisfied
I've got the love of a Hoochie Koochie woman
She calling from inside
She's a-calling from inside
Trying to get to you
All the woman really wants you can give her something too

It ain't easy, it ain't easy
It ain't easy to get to heaven when you're going down

It ain't easy, it ain't easy
It ain't easy to get to heaven when you're going down


---This page last modified: 02 Jan 2019---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)