One year ago today we tragically lost David Bowie. In memory of such an illustrious career it would be an outright tragedy not to talk about what (in my opinion) is Bowie’s greatest piece of work, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
This album is often viewed as the pinnacle of glam rock and rightly so, every track is near perfect but there are a couple which particularly stand out. Moonage Daydream is a psychedelic joy to behold as Bowie’s powerful vocals are perfectly complemented by Mick Ronson on lead guitar, who is fantastic throughout the album but particularly shines on this track with his guitar solo passage. 5 years is another track which stands out on the album as Bowie eerily paints a picture of a dystopian earth with only 5 years left to live, beginning with an elegant piano which, along with Bowie’s voice, gradually becomes more chaotic as the song progresses.
Other than every song being near perfect, what I specifically love about this album is Bowie’s portrayal of fame through the persona of Ziggy Stardust, an alien sent to save the dying earth. These jabs at fame are particularly prominent in songs like Star as Bowie suggests that a rock star is a worldly being that you transform into and happiness will only come if he makes this transformation. However, when we reach the track Ziggy Stardust, it is apparent that Ziggy has been consumed by fame that he has achieved as he is sucked up by his ego, as he ‘took it all too far’, leading to his onstage death in Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide.
This album is a testament to the genius that Bowie was. The theatrical nature of the album only adds to the enjoyment as we get to experience the ‘Rise’ and ‘Fall’ along with Ziggy as we witness the dangers that come with fame. If you haven’t heard this album yet I would highly recommend you do so as it is a one of a kind album by a one of a kind artist.