David Bowie

Ziggy Stardust

Composed by David Bowie

Song Review by

The height of David Bowie's astonishing reinvention as a mythical rock & roll messiah, "Ziggy Stardust," taken from his still famous 1972 breakthrough album, has been cloned, redone, borrowed from, and revisited so many times now that trying to describe its impact becomes nearly impossible. What's interesting, though, in comparison to later efforts from others -- notably Bauhaus' nuclear-strength take on it ten years later -- is how relatively restrained it is in ways. Rather than being one of the album's quick, stone-cold rockers, it's measured, takes its time, is as acoustic as it is electric. The band's performance itself, though, is nothing less than crisp and explosive, Mick Ronson's distorted guitar work and interpretation of the weird, jerky riffs that make up the song as much a signal for where rock could go as any of Hendrix's big hits. Bowie himself subverts and transcends the whole thing brilliantly, bitchily high-pitched singing and a searing series of lyrics touching on everything from sex and death to grubby egomania just so. All it takes is that concluding "Ziggy played...guitar!" and the final notes to put the seal on a total classic.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars 1972 Rhino
No Image 1973 3:23
Changesonebowie 1976 Parlophone / Warner Music 3:14
Stage 1978 EMI Digital / Parlophone / Warner Music 3:27
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars [The Motion Picture Soundtrack] 1982 Atlantic / Elektra / Rhino / Warner Music
No Image 1985 Polygram
Sound + Vision 1989 Rykodisc 3:16
Changesbowie 1990 EMI Digital / Parlophone 3:14
No Image 1991 Ryko Distribution
The Singles: 1969-1993 1993 Rykodisc 3:13
The Singles Collection 1993 Parlophone 3:14
Rarest One Bowie 1995 Trident Music International 3:21
The Best of David Bowie 1969-1974 1997 EMI Digital / Parlophone / Warner Music 3:18
The Singles Collection 1 2000 EMI Music Distribution 3:15
Bowie at the Beeb: The Best of the BBC Radio Sessions 68-72 2000 Virgin 3:24
Best of Bowie 2002 EMI Digital / Parlophone 3:13
The Best of Bowie [DVD] 2002 Virgin 4:14
A Reality Tour 2004 Friday Music
The Platinum Collection 2006 Parlophone 3:18
David Bowie: Music in Review 2007 Classic Rock Legends / Ultimate Review
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Polystar / Universal
Playlist: Rock 2008
Various Artists
EMD Int'l 3:14
Live in Santa Monica '72 2008 Atlantic / Elektra / Rhino / Warner Music
Nothing Has Changed 2014 Parlophone 3:13
Five Years 1969-1973 2015 Rhino 3:19
No Image 2016 Sony Music 3:12
25 Years Of Chrysalis Music
Various Artists
Sony CMG
Absolute Rock Anthems II
Various Artists
2009 Eva / Eva 3:14
Ziggy & the Spiders: Cleveland Music Hall Gold Standard Laboratories 3:21
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