In this month Bowie has his hair cut and styled short.
Later it will be dyed Red Hot Red by
hairdresser Susie Fussey (the famous Ziggy haircut) and Bowie invests in a wardrobe of
futuristic clothes. With these modifications - Bowie becomes Ziggy Stardust.
Poster versions of the Hunky Dory album cover are placed around London
arousing much curiosity about this androgynous singer.
"Changes" 7" singlefrom HUNKY DORY (1971) is
released in the UK & US. Produced by Ken Scott and featuring Rick Wakeman (later of
YES fame) on piano. While not making the UK charts, this single did draw a lot of positive
critical attention to Bowie at the time.
"Changes/Andy Warhol" single cover
"Changes/Andy Warhol" RCA 2160 UK. No chart entry.
"Changes/Andy Warhol" RCA 740605 US in picture sleeve. Highest
chart position = #66
David Bowie's 25th birthday.
Bowie and The Spiders From Mars record their first radio session for
John Peel's Sounds Of The 70s show at BBC Kensington House, including four tracks from
Jan 12-18th 1972
Trident Studios, London: The album versions of
"Starman", "Rock n Roll Suicide" and "Suffragette City" are
recorded. It is possible that "Starman" was recorded separately (Ken Scott
recalls this) and at a later session with the direct intention of it being used as the
album's single. See 2nd February entry.
Ziggy Stardust album cover photo shoot on Heddon Street.
This week Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange opens in London. David and
Mick Ronson see the film soon after its release, before the director had the film
withdrawn later in the year. David draws upon much of Kubrick's stylish vision for his new
Ziggy Stardust LP and stage concepts.
Rehearsals: Royal Ballroom, Tottenham Court Road. A week of
rehearsals for the Ziggy Stardust concerts begin. Bowie gives a series of interviews to
music journalists between rehearsals proclaiming a new enthusiasm for rock now that he had
found stability with his backing band and outlines the forthcoming concerts:
"Our new stage act will be outrageous, quite
outrageous but very theatrical. Its going to be costumed and choreographed, quite
different to anything anyone else has tried to do before... No-one has ever seen anything
like this before..." - Bowie
He also tells the press that he has a second RCA album (Ziggy Stardust)
already recorded and describes it as having "a much harder
sound than the just released Hunky Dory (1971), but not as paranoiac as The Man
Who Sold The World (1970)"
Melody Maker cover (22 January 1972)
The biggest selling English music weekly Melody Maker publishes a
two-page interview with Bowie titled Oh You Pretty Thing by Michael
Watts in which Bowie states that he is gay. This sparks massive media and public interest
in Bowie, even though he is married with a toddler at the time. The interview proves to be
very important for his career. Bowie's pronouncement causes consternation amongst some of
his friends (who think he has ruined his career) and Bowie's mother:
"I'm gay and always have been, even when I was David
Jones." - Bowie (1972)
"I felt dreadful. I mean what's come
over him! So I rang him up and I said - What's happening, David? Are you changing your
sex? He said - Don't believe a word of it, mum" - Bowie's mother to journalist
"Ziggy Stardust - that was a real
breakthrough. You used to hear dockers saying "Ah I'd give Bowie one"
- Pete Burns
"My sexual nature is irrelevant. I'm an actor, I play
roles, fragments of myself." - Bowie (1972)
"I think I was always a closet heterosexual.
I didn't ever feel that I was a real bisexual. It was like I was making all the moves,
down to the situation of actually trying it out with some guys. But for me, I was more
magnetised by the whole gay scene, which was underground. Remember, in the early 1970s it
was still virtually taboo. There might have been free love, but it was heterosexual love.
I like this twilight world. I like the idea of these clubs and these people and everything
about it being something that nobody knew anything about. So it attracted me like crazy.
It was like another world that I really wanted to buy in to. So I made efforts to go and
get into it. That phase only lasted up to about 1974. It more or less died with Ziggy. I
was only really adopting the situation of being bisexual. The reality was much slimmer. I
wanted to imbue Ziggy with real flesh and blood and muscle, and it was imperative that I
find Ziggy and be him. The irony of it was that I was not gay. I was physical about it,
but frankly it wasn't enjoyable. It was almost like I was testing myself. It wasn't
something I was comfortable with at all. But it had to be done." - Bowie
"I became a performer after that [the
article]. It was the first time I had talked to the press about wanting to come back
on stage and be a performer rather than a writer." - Bowie
Concert: Borough Assembly Hall, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
Opening act were Grand Canyon. A warm up performance for David's first major tour
since 1969. Bowie performs with newly cut red hair and wearing a bomber jacket and
trousers (with a bulging codpiece) rolled up to reveal red plastic boots. The as yet
un-named Spiders From Mars wear gold Ziggy-style suits but have not yet fully embraced the
total glitter look. Recently Bowie was asked to describe what was happening within the
band at this historic moment:
"Woody Woodmansey was saying, Im not
bloody wearing that! [Laughs] There were certainly comments, a lot of nerves. Not
about the music I think the guys knew that we rocked. But they were worried about
the look. Thats what I remember: how uncomfortable they felt in their stage clothes.
But when they realized what it did for the birds . . . The girls were going crazy for
them, because they looked like nobody else. So within a couple of days it was,
Im going to wear the red ones tonight. - Bowie (2002)
"I remember him doing "Rock n Roll
Suicide", maybe for the first time. He shouted at the audience, "Gimme
your hands, cos you're wonderful" and nobody got up. In those days they used to
sit on the floor, and the stage was reasonably high and somebody got up to give him their
hands, but only half-heartedly...I remember thinking, Oh that's a strong song, but nobody
had heard it." - David Stopps (1999)
Trivia: The famous 'subway attack' scene in 'A
Clockwork Orange' movie was filmed in the old Friars Square shopping centre in Aylesbury.
The BBC's Sounds of The Seventies (The
John Peel radio show) broadcasts specially recorded versions of "Hang Onto
Yourself", "Ziggy Stardust", "Queen Bitch" and "Waiting For
A master tape from this date shows that THE RISE AND FALL OF
ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS (1972) is now largely finished.
Side One: Five Years / Soul Love / Moonage Daydream / Round and Round / It Ain't Easy Side Two: Lady Stardust / Star / Hang Onto Yourself / Ziggy Stardust / Suffragette
City / Rock n Roll Suicide
However, the track listing still has "Round and Round" in
place of "Starman" (which will eventually replace it). The album itself will not
be released for another five months due to HUNKY DORY's recent release.
wonder: where is my Ziggy Stardust white-label test-pressing now? In
late 1968, aged 18, I joined the Kentish Times series of newspapers
as a junior reporter, along with another dozen or so who were the
same age. We did a six-months probation and then signed for a
three-year apprenticeship. Come 1971, my colleague Jeff was the
first of this intake to leave the Kentish Times. He got a job as a
press officer at RCA Records. He sent me a copy of Hunky Dory and I
liked it so much that I kept asking him: when will there be a new
Bowie album? One day, unannounced, he sent me a white-label
test-pressing, As I recall, nothing was written on it. It was a
mystery. On playing it I quickly realised it was the next Bowie
album. By the time it was actually released, weeks later, I already
knew and loved it. Come 1973, I had finished my Kentish Times
apprenticeship, become a senior reporter and finally put some money
together. I sold off many of my albums for two pounds each (or maybe
it was a pound) at a shop on Market Square in Bromley, Kent,
including my white-label Ziggy, and set off on a round-the-world
trip. I wonder, where is it now?" -
Feb 3rd 1972
Concert: Lancaster Arts Festival, Coventry. - Did David Bowie
really appear at this Sunday festival as commonly reported? - see below:
"David Bowie, a late addition to the Sunday
evening concert, became a last minute withdrawal, due, according to organiser Ted Little,
to his management having second thoughts about his suitability for a bill topped by Roland
Kirk.....David Bowie at Lancaster: first it's Sunday, then its Monday, then not at all;
must have had a hairdressing dress-fitting appointment... - Press Clippings
Postscript: Bowie confirmed in 2002 that he did not
attend this festival.
Final master takes of Starman, Suffragette City
and Rock n Roll Suicide recorded at Trident, completing the
recording of Bowies fourth LP.
The BBC's Sounds of The Seventies radio show
(with Bob Harris) broadcasts specially recorded versions of "Five Years",
"Hang Onto Yourself", "Ziggy Stardust" and "Queen Bitch."
The show also features an exclusive interview with Bowie. While a version of
"Waiting For The Man" was recorded for this show, it was not broadcast.
The BBC TV's Old Grey Whistle Test broadcasts
Bowie and The Spiders From Mars to the UK public with them performing "Five
Years" and "Queen Bitch." The song "Oh! You Pretty Things"
was also performed and recorded for this programme but was not broadcast. Bowie and the
band watch the show at home in Beckenham.
Other artists songs: Port
of Amsterdam (Jacques Brel), My Death (Jacques Brel), Sweet Jane (Lou Reed - 8 July 1972
only), Gotta Get a Job (James Brown), Hot (James Brown), Waiting for The Man (Lou Reed),
White Light/White Heat (Lou Reed), I Can't Explain (Pete Townshend), Round and Round
(Chuck Berry), This Boy (McCartney-Lennon - 27 August 1972 only) & I Feel Free (Cream)
Set lists: At the beginning of the tour the setlist was
split evenly between Hunky Dory and Ziggy album material, with only a few songs from his
early career performed. Many cover versions, however, were performed. As the tour
progressed more and more Ziggy songs were brought into live performance. The
concerts usually opened with Hang Onto Yourself / Ziggy Stardust / The Supermen / Queen
Bitch - with an acoustic set of Space Oddity / Andy Warhol and Port of Amsterdam performed
next. The finale was usually of Suffragette City / White Light White Heat / Waiting
for the Man / Rock n Roll Suicide. Bowie changed things slightly for The Rainbow Concert - opening with Lady Stardust and swapping Port
of Amsterdam with My Death. "The Width of a Circle" became the Spiders
show-piece song replacing Cream's "I Feel Free". "John, I'm Only
Dancing" was added at the end of the tour to promote it as a single.
KEY CONCERT:Toby Jug, Tolworth, London. The first gig of
the Ziggy Stardust UK Tour began at a humble pub, which unfortunately is now no more. This
was the last pub gig that Bowie would play. Most subsequent venues at this stage are small
with seating capacity rarely exceeding 1,000.
"Things moved quite fast in those days, but Ziggy was
a case of small beginnings. I remember when we had no more than twenty or thirty fans at
the most. They'd be down at the front and the rest of the audience was indifferent. And it
feels so special, because you and the audience kid yourselves that you're in on this big
secret. It's that English elitism and you feel kind of cool. It all gets so dissipated
when you get bigger." - Bowie (1997)
Concert: Great Hall, Imperial College, London: Bowie attempts to
walk out across his audience's shoulders in imitation of Iggy Pop (see below), but because
the audience is spread too thin, slides to the floor.
David Bowie live at Great Hall, Imperial
College, London (February 1972)
"You know I never do anything by half. The
costumes for the act are outrageous. I've had twelve, fifteen, any number but not just for
myself - for the group too. I like to keep my band always well dressed, not
like some other people I could mention! They are rather like astral "West Side
Story" outfits, with sequins and short battle dress jackets, and long patent leather
boots. I've also had my hair chopped off and I feel very butch now. I'm out all the time
to entertain, not just to get upon a stage and knock out a few songs. I couldn't live with
myself if I did that. I'm the last person to pretend that I'm a radio. I'd rather go out
and be a colour television set. Actually I'm a bit worried about the way that the band
have fallen into it so easily! Remember they were into hard blues, but now they enjoy the
costume bit." -Bowie
Concert: City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
bought tickets for this concert for my girlfriend and I. We waited
outside the city hall in Glasgow with only a handful of others. We
waited outside well past the start time, maybe 40 mins, when David came
out and advised there was a problem with the sound system and the
concert would not take place. He advised we could get our ticket money
back. It was good of him to come out and talk to us, but there were only
a dozen or so of us with tickets waiting outside and in my opinion, this
was the reason the concert was cancelled." - Drew McFarlane-Slack
Concert: Locarno, Sunderland. At this concert six fans in
wheelchairs spring to their feet to greet Bowie and the Spiders and remain standing
throughout the concert! (in honour of the leper messiah?).
Concert: Bristol University, Bristol. This concert is notable for
the audience carrying Bowie around the hall on their shoulders in a lap of honour after
the concert finishes.
Tony DeFries delivers the acetate for "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy
Stardust and The Spiders From Mars" (1972) to RCA.
Concert: Town Hall, Birmingham. Mick Rock meets,
sees Bowie perform and photographs him for the first time.
Bowie on stage at Birmingham (Photo and words by Mick
"The venue is half-empty, and those in attendance
are more spellbound than boisterous, but Bowie performs with the energy and fervour of a
man with a goal. He seems totally out of context in such dull surroundings"
Bowie backstage at Birmingham (Photo and words by Mick
"When I first met David Bowie we swapped anecdotes;
he wanted to hear about Syd Barrett and I wanted to know about Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. We
talked about how Syd had had it all. Syd and David were similar in the way that neither of
them sang like an American. At that time there was a big American influence on music, but
Syd and David went against that and sang in a British way. David was very aware of Syd;
very interested in him. Of course, in 1973 David did a cover version of 'See Emily Play'
for his Pin Ups album. There were many parallels between Syd and David early on; although
clearly David had a much tougher psyche. David's 'The Man Who Sold The World' always makes
me think of Syd. It's a perfect description of him."
After the concert he interviews Bowie at his home.
Regarding "Ziggy Stardust", Mick Rock's interview transcript notes
from March 1972 said:
"It started off unfortunately as a
concept of the life cyle of a rock and roll star, but it ended up as
fragmented songs on an album, but I've still retained the original
title - which really only relates to the first side now. The
other side is a collection of different songs. A very
mini-concept album" - Bowie
Concert: The Playhouse, Harlow.
Melody Maker full-page advertisement:
"David Bowie - His latest album "Hunky
Dory" is now high in the US charts! His new single "Starman" is released on
Mathew Fisher, who had earlier played with Procol Harum, joins the tour
on keyboards in order to be able to better reproduce on-stage those songs with a heavy
piano backing like "Changes" and "Life on Mars?"
Concert: Free Trade Hall, Manchester.
Fan Mark Doyle:
"I saw David at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester in
April '72. He began with Hang On To Yourself & Ziggy Stardust and then explained to
the audience that he'd spent the last week in rehearsals and that his vocal chords were
sore. He could either play a short "hard" set or a longer "softer" set
- which did we want?! We opted for the long set and he proceeded to play all of Ziggy,
several of his back catalogue, plus White Light / White Heat & I Feel Free. Port of
Amsterdam may also have been in there. After about 90 minutes, the audience were ecstatic
and David seemed pretty pleased with the reception too - enough to actually walk out onto
the audience's hands at the front of the stage, and they did manage to keep him aloft (for
a short while anyway!). Definitely one of the all time great gigs!"
Fan Tony Husband:
"I'd been following Bowie for some time, I'd seen him
doing his mime show with Tyrannosaurus Rex, seen him at Glastonbury and prevented a
greaser throwing a bottle at him at a Humble Pie gig (got thumped for my efforts). Anyway,
I'd got "The Man Who Sold the World" and was totally knocked out by it. Ronson's
thrilling guitar, Visconti's doom-laden bass and some of the heaviest songs ever recorded,
so when the tour was announced I was brimming. On the day the tickets were released I went
to the ticket office at the Lewis department store at the back of the lingerie department,
an old guy showed me the seating plan of the Free Trade Hall and said "Take your
pick, you're the first" (a moment I am still proud of). I had the entire hall to
choose from and chose the circle front row, dead centre, a choice I was later to regret. I
presumed it would be full so I would have the best view etc. Come the night, it wasn't
full, I'd say about 200 to 400 or so dripped into the 3000-seat Free Trade Hall. I can't
remember who the support bands were but I remember the Spiders entrance, dressed in
glitter suits, stack heels, fucking amazing. This was when I realised being in the circle
was a shit place to be. Everyone rushed the stage and me and the handful of circlellites
sat watching the spectacle unfold. I can't remember what order the songs came in, or to be
honest, what they were even, but I do remember a blistering gig. Bowie at his arrogant
best, strutting the stage, Ronson darting around playing paint peeling guitar and the
solid rhythm of Bolder and Woodmansey. I remember Bowie crowd surfing, the small knot of
fans carrying him over their heads. I remember him passing an acoustic guitar into the
crowd and I'm thinking "what the fuck am I doing up here?" I remember Bowie
stepping toward the microphone and it banging him in the mouth, through the show he kept
feeling his tooth, strange what you remember. I looked to the side and some of the Free
Trade Hall management were looking at this band of freaks, they were smirking and
laughing, three guys in suits had never seen the like, neither had we. It was truly an
awesome gig. When David got bigger I went to see The Spiders at the HardRock in Stretford
with about 4000 others. I didn't like the fact I had to share him and the band with 4000
newcomers. I was at the Free Trade Hall with just 400 others months before, witnessing one
of the all time great gigs by one of the all time great bands. I'm proud of that and it's
burned into my memory forever."
"Starman" 7" single from THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY
STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS (1972) is released. Produced by Ken Scott. Bowie's
second single for RCA and his first top-ten hit since 1969 reaching #10 in
the UK and #65 in the US..
Starman/Suffragette City 7" single cover (UK)
Concert: Town Hall, High Wycombe.
Concert: The Guildhall, Plymouth.
In this month Bowie, Lou Reed and Mott The Hoople record seven tracks at
Trident Studios with Bowie's own version of "All The Young Dudes" coming from
this session. Other songs recorded at this session and featuring in recent bootlegs
include "It's Alright" (Bowie on guitar), "Henry and The H-Bomb"
(Bowie on guitar) and "Sweet Jane" (where Lou Reed sings to the Mott backing
Mick Rock shoots a photo session at Haddon Hall from which the photo for
the Space Oddity (1972) reissue album cover is derived. Rock becomes the
"Bowie" photographer, the only photographer along with Lee Black Childers and
later Sukita allowed by DeFries to photograph Bowie in this period.
KEY CONCERT:Kingston Polytechnic, Kingston. This is the
institution where Angie Bowie did a Business Studies Diploma. Tony DeFries invites
journalists to attend this performance. A live version of Bowie performing the Cream song
"I Feel Free" at this concert is included on RARESTONEBOWIE
(1995) but be warned - its poor quality! The musical press report that a "new
album" is coming soon.
Concert: The Pavilion, Hemel Hempstead.
Concert: Assembly Hall, Worthing.
"I remember him playing a gig at Worthing
Town Hall in 1972. He got off stage and came into the admittedly small crowd on Mick
Ronson's shoulders while continuing to sing. Ronson kept churning out the riff's
despite being a long way form the stage. Very punky, in fact!" - Alan
The Top Gear radio show broadcasts specially
recorded versions of "Hang Onto Yourself", "Ziggy Stardust",
"White Light White Heat" and "Suffragette City" with Nicky Graham on
piano. Also recorded for this show (but not broadcast) was "Moonage Daydream"
which will feature in a partial re-broadcast of the show on 25 July 1972.