A LEGACY BEYOND MUSIC
When David Bowie unveiled Ziggy Stardust, he didn't just change music ... he changed lives. Here, we take a look at the legacy that Ziggy left, and how he continues to inspire generations to be brave, be bold and be themselves.
It’s more than a bit of glitter - Ziggy was Bowie’s “most complete concept”. As author Danny Lewis writes in his book ‘David Bowie Style’: “The look, the music, the story - everything worked together brilliantly to create one of the most striking and iconoclastic characters in rock & roll." A multicoloured jumpsuit, red silk knee-high boots, purple eyeshadow and white nail polish, Ziggy was a collision of styles and influences. In creating Ziggy, Bowie empowered himself - and in turn millions of others - the freedom to meld fashions, flirtations and designs in wild abandon.
For many, Bowie’s performance as Ziggy on UK music show Top of the Pops in June 1972, (four months after the Toby Jug gig) was a watershed moment. Ziggy had moved from wowing the lucky few in Tolworth and on to the nations’ TV sets. As journalist Michael Aston recalls: “Bowie that evening was a lightning bolt, the door blown open.” Viewers had never seen anything like it. An asexual alien, a pop star who was neither man nor woman, dressing up to help the kids get down … for many viewers it was a lightbulb moment that enabled them to understand “gender and sexuality could be liberating rather than suffocating”.
“What I did with my Ziggy Stardust was package a totally credible, plastic rock & roll singer – much better than the Monkees could ever fabricate,” David Bowie later said of his definitive alter ego. “I mean, my plastic rock & roller was much more plastic than anybody’s. And that was what was needed at the time.” In fact, what Bowie concocted on 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars was more than just a fresh, clever concept. Ziggy was a tight and cohesive song cycle that laid out a visionary direction for pop music, setting a new standard for rock & roll theatricality while delivering his synthetic ideal with campy sex appeal and raw power. (Rolling Stone)
"David Bowie often gets described as a chameleon – able to change personas as he changes clothes, yet always distinctly himself while doing so ... Ziggy Stardust was intended as a creature from another world, coming to Earth to bring a hopeful message while the planet is in the final stages of its existence. A persona, and story, made most visible through its outfits – shining and extravagant pieces transporting the audience right into another dimension." (by Trisha Balster, from Indie Mag)