ziggy stardust

There’s a popular BBC Radio 4 programme called ‘I’ve Never Seen Star Wars,’

Its raison d’etre is that there are moments in popular culture which have passed some people by, and it uses this to generally poke fun at the world.

If I went on the show, I would hand-on-heart be able to say: ‘I’ve never heard “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.”‘

Unbelievable, I know, for someone who purports to be interested in music, but it’s true.

In fact, I don’t have a Bowie album in my collection, preferring instead his singles and ‘hits.’

Tonight on BBC4, I can see what I’ve been missing all these years when the 2100 documentary slot gives us, with tell-it-as-it-is directness, ‘David Bowie and the Story Of Ziggy Stardust.’

I do know I saw the start of the phenomenon when Bowie appeared on ‘Top of the Pops’ in July 1972 singing ‘Starman,’ a track from the album.

This moment has taken on a mythical status in the history of popular music in the UK.

But in the case of ‘Starman,’ millions of us kids were watching our favourite weekly tv show, so it was there – in your front room.

I do remember how my father reacted to Bowie, wearing make-up, putting his arm around guitarist Mick Ronson.

He wasn’t impressed.

And I’m pretty sure that men of his generation must have found the whole spectacle quite alarming.

I on the other hand, just turned 14, thought it was great.

As we didn’t have a colour tv in 1972, my memory is ‘colourised’ by seeing the clip in more recent times.

But even in black and white, it was breathtaking.

EMI/Virgin have just released a 40th anniversary special edition of the album, so perhaps it isn’t too late for me to hear it for the first time.

David Bowie – Starman

David Bowie and the Story of Ziggy Stardust – BBC iPlayer

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