The Companion

Home Index FAQ Encyclopaedia Timeline Songs Gallery E-mail

Ziggy Takes Shape 2/2

June 1972

The single "John, I'm Only Dancing" is recorded this month at Trident Studios.

Jun-2nd 1972

Concert: City Hall, Newcastle Upon Tyne. Robin Lumley takes over from Mathew Fisher as pianist on tour.  According to Lumley, "Mathew Fisher was playing keyboards with Bowie in live work, but for some unknown reason he'd done a bunk and David asked me if I would play keyboards for him".

* "Live Music Reviews - David Bowie" (Mick Nixon)

Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys recalls that this was his most favorite ever gig. Bowie dedicated a song to 'the strange people in the audience'. Evidently the venue was half full, but Bowie was 'electrifying'.

* The Jean Genie by Ian Dickson - A photographic Ziggy Stardust box-set with 2 images from this concert.

Jun-3rd 1972

Concert: Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool.

* "David Bowie in Concert: Alex and his droogs" (Toby Goldstein)

Jun-4th 1972

Concert: Preston Public Hall, Preston.

"In 1972 I was 15 years old and generally hung out with people a couple of years older. One day I was asked by an older friend if I wanted to go to a David Bowie concert that night. Yes I said, not really knowing much about David. The concert was at Preston Public Hall. The Public Hall was a smallish venue, an old ballroom with sprung floors. 29 years on I am still moved/affected by that night. I feel privileged to have seen Ziggy Stardust in his early days in front of such a small crowd (I guess at 2000-3000). As the night rocked away the ballroom's sprung floor was bouncing up and down - - I really can't put into words what a great experience it was and what talent DB was/is. Talk about somebody ahead of his time (lightyears) - - I'm sure that concert would blow the minds of today's youth.To me Ziggy Stardust is an important piece of world history!!!!" - Peter Ulyett (2001)

Jun-5th 1972

The BBC's Johnnie Walker Show broadcasts a specially recorded version of "Oh You Pretty Things!" Also recorded for this show (but not broadcast) are "Starman", "Changes", and "Space Oddity." "Starman", with Bowie adding live vocal and guitar overdubs to the original backing track, will be broadcast over the next four days to coincide with the release of THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS (1972). The recordings of "Changes" and "Space Oddity" will never be broadcast.

Jun-6th 1972


Sales in the first week were 8,000 (regarded as a huge for this period). The album goes straight to #19 before finally reaching #5 on the UK charts. It stays in the UK charts for almost two years (Total weeks=172) and for over a year in the US charts but only reaching #75 there. Critics hail the album as Bowie's masterpiece.

* Album songs and information
* Rolling Stone magazine review (12 July 1972)

Concert: St. George's Hall, Bradford.

The Johnnie Walker radio show broadcasts the specially recorded version of "Starman."

Jun-7th 1972

Concert: City Hall, Sheffield.

The Johnnie Walker radio show broadcasts the specially recorded version of "Starman."

Jun-8th 1972

Concert: Town Hall, Middlesborough.

The Johnnie Walker radio show broadcasts the specially recorded version of "Starman."

Jun-9th 1972

The Johnnie Walker radio show broadcasts the specially recorded version of "Starman."

Jun-10th 1972

Concert: Leicester Polytechnic. The music press report that Bowie is producing the new Mott The Hoople album and will also produce Lou Reed's next album in August.

Jun-11th 1972

At short notice Bowie flys to New York with Tony DeFries (who negotiates with RCA for more funding) and attends one of four 8:30pm evening Madison Square Garden Elvis Presley concerts held in New York. Entertainment history is made as Elvis, in advance, sells out all four engagements at Madison Square Garden. Among the 80,000 attendees were John Lennon, George Harrison, David Bowie, Bob Dylan and Art Gurfunkel. Elvis's stirring rendition of "An American Trilogy" was a highlight. Surprisingly, this was Elvis' first live concert in New York City.

"[Elvis] was a major hero of mine. And I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something. I came over for a long weekend. I remember coming straight from the airport and walking into Madison Square Garden very late. I was wearing all my clobber from the Ziggy period and had great seats near the front. The whole place just turned to look at me and I felt like a right idiot. I had brilliant red hair, some huge padded space suit and those red boots with big black soles. I wished I'd gone for something quiet, because I must have registered with him. He was well into his set." - Bowie (1996)

"I was in the middle of a Ziggy Stardust tour and I flew over on a Friday to see Elvis on the Saturday night. It was just brill. I flew back again on Sunday for the Monday night gig. For about two weeks I was Presley [laughs]. I was so gobsmacked by the show. It was a fantastic experience. I went dressed as Ziggy Stardust. I had the red hair, the big boots, the full kit. I got there late and I had really good seats about 10 rows in. I had to walk down through these really quite conservative Americans. I had to presume that he saw me, and I thought it was the worst, most humiliating feeling ever [laughs]." - Bowie (2002)

Jun-13th 1972

Concert: Colston Hall, Bristol.

Jun-15th 1972

Bowie and The Spiders From Mars perform "Starman" on ITV's Lift Off With Ayshea.

Jun-16th 1972

Concert: Town Hall, Torquay.

Jun-17th 1972

Concert: Town Hall, Oxford.

This is the concert at which Bowie first performs his mock fellatio on Mick Ronson's guitar during "Suffragette City" (Some confusion also places the event at the Dunstable concert four days later). This is photographed by Mick Rock and quickly published in Melody Maker. Rock considers this photo to be a defining moment in rock n roll history with Bowie captured as a potent symbol of rock n roll androgyny.

"Mick Rock was moving around at the side of the stage that night. After a while he jumped down and started taking shots. Then there was a break in one song and I saw David walk away from the mic, go to the back of the stage, turn around and kind of look at Mick. Ronno was playing away and not paying any attention. Mick Rock didn’t know what the hell he meant, but he sort of concentrated." - Angie Bowie
"David didn’t pre-warn me about that shot. He told me later that he wasn’t actually intending to go down on his knees. And if you see the actual shot, he’s not; his feet are splayed. All he was trying to do was bite Mick’s guitar. But the way Mick was swinging his guitar around, David had to take up that position. Maybe it’s the delicate way he’s clutching Mick’s cheeks that caused the fuss." - Mick Rock
"David looked like he was helping him play it with his mouth. It was brilliant. Then I saw flash flash flash! Five flashes in a row from Mick Rock. Those things are gifts." - Angie Bowie
"I was at the perfect spot at the perfect moment. It was too late to get it in the papers, so David and the management actually bought a page in Melody Maker to say thank you to his rising fans. The timing couldn’t have been better. Of all the shots of him, this is the one that lingers longest in the memory. It’s an incredibly durable image. Then, after that, the audiences grew very fast. By the London Rainbow gigs in August, he did two nights, which he obviously couldn’t have done before “Starman”. That song fuelled everything." - Mick Rock

Aware of the huge promotional potential of the Mick Rock photo, De Fries quickly has it made into a full page advertisement for Melody Maker as a "thank-you" for Mainman staff and Bowie's fans.  Ronson's mother, family and friends in conservative Hull are shocked (someone throws paint on his parent's front door and a new car he had bought for them) and Ronson temporarily quits the tour but is talked into returning.

Jun-19th 1972

Concert: Civic Hall, Southampton.

The BBC's Sounds of The Seventies radio show broadcasts specially recorded versions of "Andy Warhol", "Lady Stardust", "White Light White Heat" and "Rock N Roll Suicide" with Robin Lumley on piano.

Jun-21st 1972

KEY CONCERT: Civic Hall, Dunstable.

Bowie is billed for this event as The Flame of the Home Counties (a reference to his hair) while The Spiders From Mars are also credited following the release of the Ziggy album on 6 June.

A promotional one-track video using footage from a silent colour film made at this concert (click the picture for a larger image), combined with the live audio recording of "Ziggy Stardust" from the Santa Monica, US Ziggy Stardust concert on 20 October 1972, was released in 1994 to promote the album SANTA MONICA '72. At the end of this concert Bowie ripped his white silk costume to pieces and threw it into the crowd.

Jun-24th 1972

Concert: Civic Hall, Guildford.

Jun-25th 1972

Concert: Greyhound, Park Lane, Croydon. Roxy Music play support.  Bowie's fame is now so great that one thousand people are turned away from this concert on Sunday. A spokesman for David Bowie's management later said " David would like to apologise to all those who were turned away last week.  Another gig will be arranged in the area in the near future."

"He was on a roll at the time and we were just emerging.  I think he asked for us to join him on tour.   It was a very good audience for both turns" - Bryan Ferry

Jun-26th 1972

'John, I'm Only Dancing' master recorded at Olympic Studios, Barnes.

Jun-30th 1972

The planned concert at Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe is cancelled due to overbooking. DeFries establishes his management company called MainMan and becomes Bowie's sole Manager.  Mainman will have control over Bowie and the master tapes from all albums for ten years.



July 1972

"Bowiemania" develops in UK. The Ziggy album which debuts in Melody Maker's charts at #19 receives strong praise from both critics and the general public.

Iggy and the Stooges record Raw Power at CBS Studios, London. The LP would later be re-mixed by Bowie and Iggy in Hollywood due to Iggy's recording mistakes before release. This recording is largely perceived to be one of the first punk LPs issued.

The album REVELATIONS - A MUSICAL ANTHOLOGY FOR GLASTONBURY FAYRE (1972) is released. It contains Bowie's song "The Supermen" on Record 2, Side 1, Band 3. Bowie's contribution is not the live acoustic set that he performed on the actual day but instead is "The Supermen" which was recorded live in the studio at Trident Studios for the Ziggy sessions. This three-disc compilation (5,000 copies) which included songs from Bowie, Pete Townshend, Marc Bolan and Hawkwind is designed to help offset 5,000 debts from the previous years festival.

Jul-1nd 1972

Concert: Winter Gardens, Weston-super-Mare.

Jul-2nd 1972

Concert: Rainbow Pavilion, Torbay.

Jul-5th 1972

Bowie and The Spiders From Mars record "Starman" for BBC Top of the Pops featuring Robin Lumley on piano. For these performances Bowie and The Spiders mime to a previously recorded studio version, adding vocals and guitar.

Jul-6th 1972

Broadcast of "Starman" on BBC Top of the Pops featuring Robin Lumley on piano. The screening is a great success, the image of Bowie and Ronson singing "Starman" on this show becomes legendary and attendance numbers at Ziggy Stardust concerts begin to rise dramatically. Promotional activity increases with fans often showered with posters and photos at concerts. Some confusion also places this broadcast on 14 April 1972.

Jul-8th 1972

KEY CONCERT: Royal Festival Hall, London.

This "Save the Whales" concert is organised by the environmental group Friends of the Earth. It is the climax of the first part of the 1st UK Tour and a sell-out. Kenny Everett is the host and introduces Bowie:

" are about to witness the next biggest thing to God..."

This is Lou Reeds first UK appearance, joining Bowie on-stage for "White Light/White Heat", "Sweet Jane", and "Waiting For The Man."

"A Star is Born! - When a shooting star is heading for the peak, there is usually one concert at which its possible to declare - That's it - he's made it. For David Bowie opportunity knocked loud and clear last Saturday and he left the stage a true 1972-style Pop giant, clutching flowers from a girl who ran up and kissed him while a throng of fans milled round the stage" - Melody Maker

* Full text of this review

"David Bowie will soon become the greatest entertainer Britain has ever known" - Music Week

Jul-14th 1972

Concert: King's Cross Cinema, London. Warm up show for the Friars Club concert.

Jul-15th 1972

KEY CONCERT: Friars Club, Aylesbury.


Video credit: Bri2kay

RCA fly in the cream of the American music press (Lisa Robinson - After Dark; Lilian Roxon - New York Daily News; Bob Meusel - UPI; Ellen Willis - The New Yorker; Alan Rich - New York; Lenny Kaye - Changes; Henry Edwards - The New York Times; Glen O'Brien - Andy Warhol's Interview and others from Rolling Stone, Creem, and Playboy) to this concert at the cost of US $25,000 in order to sell Bowie, who while well known in the UK, is less so in the US. The club which held 2,000 people was packed for the concert. Bowie had planned to relay this concert to a huge video screen in the market square but this did not occur. Bowie enters the concert to flashing strobe lights and the "Clockwork Orange" music.  The press spend a weekend at The Inn on The Park and have an opportunity to meet Bowie personally.

"My first concert ever was Ziggy at Friars Aylesbury...The event changed my world and I've seen David six times since. I remember Ronson in a silver suit.....the Spiders in high platform shoes...fake fellatio with David between Micks legs playing the guitar with his teeth songs.....Ziggy, My Death, White Light White Heat... Wow wow great great memories" Simon Brackley (2002)

"The gig on 15 July was used as a showcase for record company executives form all over the world.  I remember doing a little history of the town and giving this out to these high-flying executives.  This was an amazing gig, there was real hysteria.  We had a hard time with security too.  It was really that intense. It was also quite clear at that point that it was breaking huge.  I had put on the gig in Dunstable the previous month and Bowie was extremely good. I remember the fellatio with Ronson at that gig and I remember everyone being pretty shocked.  It was breaking literally by the day and by the time 15 July came around there was great excitement in the air.  Needless to say, the gig had sold out instantly." - David Stopps (1999)

"The Aylesbury town hall is the size of an average pre-war high school gym...There were perhaps a thousand peers in the hall when we entered.  At first I thought it was remarkable that RCA had spent at least $25,000 to bring a select group of writers to a concert at which there were no seats for them, save the floor...David Bowie did not come on unannounced.  He was in fact preceded on stage by a handsome Negro and his attendants who attempted to work the audience to a fever pitch by tossing them balloons, pinwheels, and hundreds of Bowie posters.  The audience needed little prodding, though, and anxiously awaited David Bowie and The Spiders From Mars, while the giant amplifiers sounded a recording of old Ludwig Von's Song of Joy from the Ninth Symphony.  David appeared on stage with his band to what could fairly be called a thunderous ovation.  And he deserved every handclap...His hair was a vibrant orange..And the band played on...And David proved himself to be a unique performer." - Glen O'Brien (Andy Warhol Interview 1972)

"Insane. The most ridiculously crass thing to happen. There was too much happening at once. The attitude of more is better, I quickly learned is just the wrong thing to do in music. If you think your work matters, and if you want some kind of understanding between the audience and the work, then you can't throw it away like that. All those things came to be the friction between Tony [DeFries] and me near the end. I wanted to approach the thing from a much lower profile than all this hyperkill." - Bowie (1993)

New Musical Express's first Bowie headliner outlining Bowie's rapid rise in the music charts and scene. "Starman" enters the singles charts.

Jul-16th 1972

Bowie holds a Sunday of press interviews (22 altogether at 15 minutes each) at the expensive Dorchester Hotel.

* David at the Dorchester

In attendance are Lou Reed, his band and Iggy Pop with silver hair, eye shadow and wearing a T-Rex t-shirt. Bowie says that any society which allows people like himself, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop to become rampant is pretty well lost! During the interviews Lou Reed kisses David Bowie full on the mouth, Angie Bowie bites a journalist's breast (supposedly because she herself had her stomach bitten by Lou Reed's road manager) and Iggy Pop threatens to jump out a window. Bowie periodically left the room to change his outfit.

"I thought I might as well take Ziggy out to interviews as well. Why leave him on the stage? Why not complete the canvas? Looking back it was completely absurd. It became very dangerous. I really did have doubts about my sanity. I can't deny that experience affected me in a very exaggerated and marked manner. I think I put myself very dangerously near the line. Not in a physical sense, but definitely in a mental sense." - Bowie

DeFries is to later deliberately cut Bowie off from interviews which has the effect of significantly heightening his mystique and generating huge press interest.

Jul-18th 1972

Concert: Friars, Aylesbury.

Trivia: David's live recording of The Beatles' 'THIS BOY' supposedly at this club is in fact taken from a later performance at the Bristol Locarno Centre, (Electric Village) on 27th August 1972.

Jul-25th 1972

The Top Gear radio show broadcasts specially recorded versions of "White Light White Heat", "Suffragette City"and "Moonage Daydream" (with Nicky Graham on piano) in a partial replay of the 23 May 1972 show.

Jul-28th 1972

"All the Young Dudes/One of the Boys" is released by Mott the Hoople featuring Bowie on backing vocals and rhythm guitar. It enters the Top 30 where it stays for four months reaching #3.



August 1972

Aug 1st-14th 1972

Rehearsal: Two weeks of rehearsal at the Theatre Royale in Stratford East in preparation for the Rainbow Theatre concert. Bowie also produces Lou Reed's classic album TRANSFORMER (1972) which contains the successful single "Walk on the Wild Side." Nicky Graham joins tour on piano.

Aug-11th 1972

Bowie and Mick Ronson begin producing Lou Reed's new LP at Trident Studio.

'Hang On To Yourself'/'Man In The Middle' single by Arnold Corns is released even though this group project had long since been discarded by Bowie.

Aug-18th 1972

"I think what I do and the way I dress is me pandering to my own eccentricities and imagination. Its a continual fantasy. Nowadays there is really no difference between my personal life and anything I do on stage. I'm very rarely David Jones any more. I think I've forgotten who David Jones is." - Bowie

Aug-19th 1972

KEY CONCERT: Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, London. This is London's prestigious rock venue.

Mick Rock shoots the promotional video JOHN, I'M ONLY DANCING at the afternoon rehearsal for this concert.


Video credit: HJ84Esquire

The shows are simply billed as Ziggy Stardust and both are sold out within hours. Some Bowie fans come dressed as Ziggy Stardust for the first time. It is to be one of the most extravagant rock shows ever performed in the UK. Roxy Music open the concerts which also feature Lindsay Kemp, his mime troupe and dancers called The Astronettes.

"Amazing, incredible, stupendous...the greatest thing I've ever seen." - Lou Reed

Aug-20th 1972

Concert: Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park.

"At the end of one of the Rainbow concerts, David said sorry for not doing an encore but they had played all the songs they knew!!" - Cliff Masters (2001)

Aug-27th 1972

Concert: Locarno Centre, Electric Village, Bristol. During the gig they handed out folding wooden seats to the audience as they went in!

Trivia: The 1972 David Bowie live recording of The Beatles' 'THIS BOY' was performed at this concert, and not at Friars, Aylesbury on 18 July 1972 as previously thought. 

Aug-30th 1972

Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park.

Aug-31st 1972

Concert: Starkers, Bournemouth.



September 1972

Mainman, the New York based Tony Defires controlled management company is formed this month.   Originally set-up to solely promote David Bowie, it also was used to promote other   that both Bowie and DeFries wished to manage.  The President was Tony Zenatta; Leee Black Childers was Vice-president and Cherry Vanilla was Press Secretary.   Mainman was unsual in that none of these people had any previous record company experience.

Sep-1st 1972

Concert: Top Rank Suite, Doncaster. The concerts in the first week of September are shortened one-hour shows quickly added due to the success of the Rainbow Concert and as "warm-ups" for his forthcoming American tour.

US release of "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars"

Sep-2nd 1972

Concert: Hard Rock, Manchester. Shortened one-hour show. This 3,500 seat stadium was purpose built for rock concerts and Bowie is the first to perform there.

Sep-3rd 1972

Concert: Hard Rock, Manchester. Shortened one-hour show. Bowie and The Spiders From Mars play in jeans and T-shirts due to their glitter costumes being cleaned.

Ziggy '72: A catalogue of lost objects by Harvey Molloy is one fan's experience and memories surrounding this concert.

Sep-4th 1972

Concert: Top Rank Suite, Liverpool. Shortened one-hour show.

Sep-5th 1972

Concert: Top Rank Suite, Sunderland. Shortened one-hour show.

Sep-6th 1972

Concert: Top Rank Suite, Sheffield. Shortened one-hour show.

Sep-7th 1972

Concert: Top Rank Suite, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Shortened one-hour show and the last date on the 1st UK Tour. The management invent a Ziggy Stardust Cocktail - which is coloured bright green - especially for the occasion.

"John, I'm Only Dancing" 7" single is released in the UK and Europe only. The single makes No.12 in the UK charts. It is not released in the US (until 1976) because RCA were concerned about adverse reaction to its content. Produced by Ken Scott and David Bowie.

Sep-8th 1972

Mott the Hoople album ALL THE YOUNG DUDES (1972) is released.

This classic album is produced by Bowie (he attended 20 recording sessions). Bowie can be heard on the second track of the album "Momma's Little Jewel" urging the group to continue a missed take "No - don't stop - carry on."


Ziggy in America: 1st short US Tour
September 1972 - December 1972

---This page last modified: 19 Jan 2019---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)