June 1972 saw the release of David Bowie’s album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars which propelled the South London singer to stardom.
Bowie’s creation of the Ziggy Stardust persona was more than just a whimsical costume change, the whole concept had a meticulously planned gestation period and evolved many facets of his creativity.
In a Melody Maker interview in January 1972, a few months before the album’s release, Bowie openly discussed his bisexuality. Back then, it was a radical and potentially career harming gesture, but it became a defining moment for many gay people around the world.
In this Archive on 4, Tris Penna, who worked alongside Bowie at EMI Records, assesses the origins of the album, artists Michael Weller and George Underwood discuss their schooldays and early friendship with Bowie, and Ziggy Stardust co-producer Ken Scott recalls the studio experience.
“Young dude” Wendy Kirby, record plugger Anya Wilson, and former music exec Laurence Myers remember their time with “Ziggy” and singer Marc Almond talks movingly about the profound impact of Ziggy on his life.
Singer and actor Toyah Wilcox talks about the creative inspiration Bowie has had for her since the age of 12, and brings the reviews of the time alive.
The programme also includes rare archive material including a lost Bowie interview (as Ziggy) recorded in the Top of the Pops dressing room, a 1972 press conference, and insightful reflections from former band members Mick Ronson and Trevor Bolder.
We also hear studio outtakes – as well as a lost BBC session version of the title song.