Ziggy Stardust (song)

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"Ziggy Stardust"
Ziggy Stardust 1994 single.jpg
Cover to Bowie's 1994 single of live version
Song by David Bowie
from the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  • 16 June 1972 (1972-06-16)[1]
  • 11 June 1990 (Rykodisc reissue)
Recorded November 1971
Genre Glam rock
Length 3:13
Label RCA
Songwriter(s) David Bowie
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars track listing
11 tracks
Side one
  1. "Five Years"
  2. "Soul Love"
  3. "Moonage Daydream"
  4. "Starman"
  5. "It Ain't Easy"
Side two
  1. "Lady Stardust"
  2. "Star"
  3. "Hang On to Yourself"
  4. "Ziggy Stardust"
  5. "Suffragette City"
  6. "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide"
Music video
"Ziggy Stardust" (from the film) on YouTube

"Ziggy Stardust" is a song written and recorded by David Bowie for his 1972 concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The song describes Bowie's alter ego Ziggy Stardust, a rock star who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings.[2] In 2010 the song ranked at No. 282 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". The song is one of four of Bowie's songs included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.[3]

The character was inspired by British rock 'n' roll singer Vince Taylor, whom David Bowie met after Taylor had a breakdown and believed himself to be a cross between a god and an alien,[4][5] though Taylor was only part of the blueprint for the character.[6] Other influences included the Legendary Stardust Cowboy[7] and Kansai Yamamoto, who designed the costumes Bowie wore during the tour.[8] The Ziggy Stardust name came partly from the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, and partly, as Bowie told Rolling Stone, because Ziggy was "one of the few Christian names I could find beginning with the letter 'Z'".[9] He later explained in a 1990 interview for Q magazine that the Ziggy part came from a tailor's shop called Ziggy's that he passed on a train, and he liked it because it had "that Iggy [Pop] connotation but it was a tailor's shop, and I thought, Well, this whole thing is gonna be about clothes, so it was my own little joke calling him Ziggy. So Ziggy Stardust was a real compilation of things."[10][11]

The original demo version of the song, recorded in February 1971, was released as a bonus track on the Rykodisc CD release of Ziggy Stardust in 1990.[12] The demo also appeared on the Ziggy Stardust - 30th Anniversary Reissue bonus disc in 2002. The album version of the song was recorded in November 1971.[13][14]

Live versions

  • Bowie recorded the song for the BBC radio programme "Sounds of the 70s: Bob Harris" on 18 January 1972. This was broadcast on 7 February 1972. On 16 May 1972 Bowie again played the song at "Sounds of the 70s: John Peel", and this was broadcast on 23 May 1972. Both of these versions were released on the Bowie at the Beeb album in 2000.
  • A live version recorded at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 20 October 1972 was released on Santa Monica '72 and Live Santa Monica '72. This version also appeared on the Japanese release of RarestOneBowie. It was also released as a single in France and the United States in 1994–95.[15]
  • The version played at the famous concert at the Hammersmith Odeon, London on 3 July 1973 was released on Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture.
  • A spring 1978 performance from the "Heroes" tour was released on Stage and as the B-side of the live single "Breaking Glass" in 1978. A summer 1978 performance was included on Welcome to the Blackout, released in 2018.
  • A November 2003 live performance from the A Reality Tour was released on the A Reality Tour DVD in 2004, and is included on the A Reality Tour album, released in 2010.



Chart (2016) Peak
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[16] 75
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[17] 17

In popular culture

  • Cover version with an added guitar solo is featured in Guitar Hero.
  • It is featured in The Heartbreak Kid.
  • It is featured in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
  • It was made available to download on 25 January 2011 for use in the Rock Band 3 music gaming platform in both Basic rhythm, and PRO mode which utilizes real guitar / bass guitar, and MIDI compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards in addition to vocals.
  • It is featured in the 2012 film Chronicle.
  • The song "Captain Crash & the Beauty Queen from Mars" by the American rock band Bon Jovi from their album Crush is a homage to Ziggy Stardust.[citation needed]
  • The album is prominently referenced in Israfel Sivad's novel Crossroads Blues and is more subtly referenced in many of Sivad's poems.[18]
  • The song appears in a scene in Kong: Skull Island.
  • The Metallica song "Leper Messiah" takes its title from a lyric of the song.

Cover versions


"Ziggy Stardust"
Bauhaus ziggy stardust.jpg
Single by Bauhaus
Released September 1982
Label Beggars Banquet
Songwriter(s) David Bowie
Bauhaus singles chronology
"Ziggy Stardust"
"Lagartija Nick"

The British gothic rock band Bauhaus recorded a version of "Ziggy Stardust" as their eighth single. The single was released in October 1982 through Beggars Banquet Records and reached number fifteen on the UK Singles Chart.[19] The B-side is a Brian Eno cover. It was released in 7" and 12" format on the Beggars Banquet label. The 12" additional live track "I'm Waiting for the Man" is a Velvet Underground cover.

Track listings

  1. "Ziggy Stardust" (Bowie) – 3:08
  2. "Third Uncle" (Eno) – 5:11
  1. "Ziggy Stardust" (Bowie) – 3:08
  2. "Party of the First Part" (Bauhaus) – 5:22
  3. "Third Uncle" (Eno) – 5:11
  4. "Waiting for the Man" (live) (Reed) – 5:31


  1. ^ "Happy 43rd Birthday to Ziggy Stardust". Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie". allmusic.com. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 March 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  4. ^ "BBC – BBC Radio 4 Programmes – Ziggy Stardust Came from Isleworth". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  5. ^ "The Leper Messiah : Vince Taylor". davidbowie.com. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  6. ^ Mahoney, Elisabeth (20 August 2010). "Ziggy Stardust Came from Isleworth – review". London: guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  7. ^ Scott Schinder, Andy Schwartz (2008). Icons of Rock. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 448. ISBN 0-313-33846-9. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  8. ^ Shelton Waldrep (2004). The aesthetics of self-invention: Oscar Wilde to David Bowie. U of Minnesota Press. pp. 111–112. ISBN 0-8166-3418-1. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  9. ^ "the album review site: La Roux Gets Sidetracked". album-review.co.uk. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  10. ^ Michael Campbell (2005). Popular music in America: the beat goes on. Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. ISBN 0-534-55534-9.
  11. ^ "David Bowie interview by Paul Du Noyer 1990". Pauldunoyer.com. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  12. ^ Kevin Cann (2010). Any Day Now - David Bowie: The London Years: 1947-1974: p.255
  13. ^ "ziggy stardust - Search Results - Pushing Ahead of the Dame".
  14. ^ Peter Doggett (2011). The Man Who Sold The World - David Bowie and the 1970s: p.107
  15. ^ Ruud Altenburg. "David Bowie - Illustrated db Discography > Ziggy Stardust CD-single".
  16. ^ "David Bowie Chart History (Japan Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  17. ^ "David Bowie Chart History (Hot Rock Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  18. ^ Sivad, Israfel (2012-07-29). Crossroads Blues. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 9781478328704.
  19. ^ Roberts, David, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: HiT Entertainment. p. 45. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links

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