David Bowie and the importance of the 1972 “Starman” single release to his career

The iconic song was almost left out of the upcoming “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” album

David Bowie and the importance of the 1972 “Starman” single release to his career

In 1972, David Bowie was finally beginning to establish himself as one of the most promising and famous Rock stars in the world. With his newly created persona Ziggy Stardust, he took over the lead of the Glam Rock movement. But still, at the time, despite already having released several albums, he hadn’t scored yet a hit since 1969 “Space Oddity”. Two months before the release of the album that would change everything for Bowie, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”, on April 14, he released one of his most iconic songs, “Starman”, backed with “Suffragette City”. Though it didn’t peaked to No.1, “Starman” was almost an instant hit to Bowie, not only in the U.K but worldwide. The lyrics describe Ziggy Stardust bringing a message of hope to Earth’s youth through the radio, salvation by an alien “Starman” and according to a Bowie’s interview for Rolling Stone magazine in 1973, Ziggy Stardust is not the Starman but merely his earthly messenger The chorus is loosely based on Harold Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow” from the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz”, alluding to the “Starman”‘s extraterrestrial origins “over the rainbow”. Historically,”Starman” it’s a turning point on Bowie’s career, specially when he scored a place on Top of the Pops in July 1972 and sang “Starman”. That television performance with the Spiders became famous and “Many fans date their conversion to all things Bowie to this Top of the Pops appearance”, also embedding Ziggy Stardust in the nation’s consciousness, helping to push “Starman” to No. 10 and the album, released the previous month, to No. 5.  However, “Starman” was not originally recorded to be included on the iconic “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” album. The song was a late addition included at the insistence of RCA’s Dennis Katz, who heard a demo and loved the track, believing it would make a great single, replacing the Chuck Berry cover “Round and Round”.

Watch David Bowie and The Spiders From Mars historical performance of “Starman” on Top Of The Pops in 1972



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