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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), David Live (1974), Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture (1983), Santa Monica '72 (1994),

Singles: Suffragette City

Time: 3:25

Background

Penultimate song on THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS (1972) and one of Bowie's all time personal favourites.  It was recorded at London's Trident Studios sometime between 12-18 January 1972. It was performed live on all Ziggy Stardust Tours and later on the Dimaond Dogs, Station to Station, Stage & Sound + Vision Tours.

A demo of "Suffragette City" was first offered to Mott the Hoople in 1971 by Bowie as a way of helping them out their financial problems but they never used it although a Mott the Hoople version is rumoured to exist.

Special recordings of this song were broadcast on Top Gear (Broadcast: 23 May 1972) and Top Gear (Broadcast: 25 July 1972).

Of note is the fact that Bowie used the end of "Suffragette City" in live performances for his now classic mock fellatio stage scene with Mick Ronson's guitar (see image above).  The lyrics also show the strong influence of the film A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) with mention made of a "droog" (...droogie don't crash here...) which was the term for a futuristic thug in that movie.

It has since been covered by many artists including U2, Boy George, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and others.  In 1999 Suffragette City was used as the title of a novel by Kate Muir.

Recording notes

* The heavy backing saxophone sound on "Suffragette City" was not created by a saxophone(s) - but by an ARP synthesizer. 

"David had this idea for a big sax sound, bigger than anything he could play, so we hooked up this huge synth, fiddled around until we got the closest sound to a sax as possible and left Mick Ronson to play the right notes" - Ken Scott

* A strong case could be made for "Suffragette City" being out of sequence on Side Two.   From a conceptual point of view it would have made more sense for it to have occurred before "Ziggy Stardust" (where the idea of Ziggy’s downfall is introduced).

* The famous "Wham Bam Thank-you Ma'am" lyric was the title of one of the tracks on Charles Mingus's popular 1961 'Oh Yeah' album (according to Mingus it was also a phrase that his drummer Max Roach used when he was "unable to express his inner feelings") and probably one which Bowie was aware of being a jazz lover himself.

 

Suffragette City (Bowie)

Hey man, oh leave me alone, you know
Hey man, oh Henry, get off the phone, I gotta
Hey man, I gotta straighten my face
This mellow-thighed chick just put my spine out of place

Hey man, my schooldays insane
Hey man, my work's down the drain
Hey man, well she's a total blam-blam
She said she had to squeeze it, but she, and then she...

Oh don't lean on me man, cause you can't afford the ticket
Back from Suffragette City
Oh don't lean on me man
Cause you ain't got time to check it
You know my Suffragette City
Is outta sight...she's all right

Hey man, oh Henry, don't be unkind, go away
Hey man, I can't take you this time, no way
Hey man, droogie don't crash here
There's only room for one and here she comes, here she comes

Oh don't lean on me man, cause you can't afford the ticket
Back from Suffragette City
Oh don't lean on me man
Cause you ain't got time to check it
You know my Suffragette City
Is outta sight...she's all right

Oh hit me!

Oh don't lean on me man, cause you can't afford the ticket
Back from Suffragette City
Oh don't lean on me man
Cause you ain't got time to check it
No my Suffragette City
Don't lean on me man, cause you can't afford the ticket
Back from Suffragette City
Oh don't lean on me man
Cause you ain't got time to check it

You know my Suffragette City
Is outta sight...she's all right

My Suffragette City, my Suffragette City
I'm back on Suffragette City, I'm back on Suffragette City
Oooh, my Suffragette city, oooh my Suffragette City
Oooh-how, my Suffragette City, oooh-how, my Suffragette
Ohhh, wham bam thank you ma'am!

My Suffragette City, my Suffragette City
Quite all right
Suffragette City
Too fine
Suffragette City, ooh my Suffragette City
Oh, my Suffragette City, oh my Suffragette City
Oh, Suffragette..
Suffragette!

 

---This page last modified: 05 Feb 2007---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)