Ziggy Stardust (song)

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"Ziggy Stardust"
Ziggy Stardust 1994 single.jpg
Cover to Bowie's 1994 single of live version
Song by David Bowie
from the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  • 16 June 1972 (1972-06-16)[1]
  • 11 June 1990 (Rykodisc reissue)
RecordedNovember 1971
GenreGlam rock[2]
Songwriter(s)David Bowie
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars track listing
Music video
"Ziggy Stardust" (from the film) on YouTube

"Ziggy Stardust" is a song written and recorded by David Bowie for his 1972 concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The song describes Bowie's alter ego Ziggy Stardust, a rock star who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings.[3] In 2010 the song ranked at No. 282 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". The song is one of four of Bowie's songs included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.[4]

The character was inspired by British rock 'n' roll singer Vince Taylor, whom David Bowie met after Taylor had a breakdown and believed himself to be a cross between a god and an alien,[5][6] though Taylor was only part of the blueprint for the character.[7] Other influences included the Legendary Stardust Cowboy[8] and Kansai Yamamoto, who designed the costumes Bowie wore during the tour;[9] the Ziggy Stardust name came partly from the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, and partly, as Bowie told Rolling Stone, because Ziggy was "one of the few Christian names I could find beginning with the letter 'Z'".[10] He later explained in a 1990 interview for Q magazine that the Ziggy part came from a tailor's shop called Ziggy's that he passed on a train, and he liked it because it had "that Iggy [Pop] connotation but it was a tailor's shop, and I thought, Well, this whole thing is gonna be about clothes, so it was my own little joke calling him Ziggy. So Ziggy Stardust was a real compilation of things."[11][12]

The original demo version of the song, recorded in February 1971, was released as a bonus track on the Rykodisc CD release of Ziggy Stardust in 1990;[13] the demo also appeared on the Ziggy Stardust - 30th Anniversary Reissue bonus disc in 2002. The album version of the song was recorded in November 1971.[14][15]

Live versions[edit]



Chart (2016) Peak
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[17] 75
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[18] 17

Cover versions[edit]


"Ziggy Stardust"
Bauhaus ziggy stardust.jpg
Single by Bauhaus
Released5th October 1982
LabelBeggars Banquet
Songwriter(s)David Bowie
Bauhaus singles chronology
"Ziggy Stardust"
"Lagartija Nick"

The British gothic rock band Bauhaus recorded a version of "Ziggy Stardust" as their eighth single; the single was released in October 1982 through Beggars Banquet Records and reached number fifteen on the UK Singles Chart.[19] The B-side is a Brian Eno cover, it was released in 7" and 12" format on the Beggars Banquet label. The 12" additional live track "I'm Waiting for the Man" is a Velvet Underground cover.

Track listings[edit]

  1. "Ziggy Stardust" (Bowie) – 3:08
  2. "Third Uncle" (Eno) – 5:11
  1. "Ziggy Stardust" (Bowie) – 3:08
  2. "Party of the First Part" (Bauhaus) – 5:22
  3. "Third Uncle" (Eno) – 5:11
  4. "Waiting for the Man" (live) (Reed) – 5:31

A cover of this song, featuring a solo after the second chorus, appears in the 2005 music video game Guitar Hero.


  1. ^ "Happy 43rd Birthday to Ziggy Stardust". Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  2. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo (17 March 2013). "Top 10 '70s Glam Rock Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie". allmusic.com. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 March 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "BBC – BBC Radio 4 Programmes – Ziggy Stardust Came from Isleworth". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  6. ^ "The Leper Messiah : Vince Taylor". davidbowie.com. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ Mahoney, Elisabeth (20 August 2010). "Ziggy Stardust Came from Isleworth – review". London: guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  8. ^ Scott Schinder, Andy Schwartz (2008). Icons of Rock. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 448. ISBN 0-313-33846-9. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  9. ^ Shelton Waldrep (2004). The aesthetics of self-invention: Oscar Wilde to David Bowie. U of Minnesota Press. pp. 111–112. ISBN 0-8166-3418-1. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  10. ^ "the album review site: La Roux Gets Sidetracked". album-review.co.uk. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  11. ^ Michael Campbell (2005). Popular music in America: the beat goes on. Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. ISBN 0-534-55534-9.
  12. ^ "David Bowie interview by Paul Du Noyer 1990". Pauldunoyer.com. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  13. ^ Kevin Cann (2010). Any Day Now - David Bowie: The London Years: 1947-1974: p.255
  14. ^ "ziggy stardust - Search Results - Pushing Ahead of the Dame".
  15. ^ Peter Doggett (2011). The Man Who Sold The World - David Bowie and the 1970s: p.107
  16. ^ Ruud Altenburg. "David Bowie - Illustrated db Discography > Ziggy Stardust CD-single".
  17. ^ "David Bowie Chart History (Japan Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  18. ^ "David Bowie Chart History (Hot Rock Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  19. ^ Roberts, David, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: HiT Entertainment. p. 45. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links[edit]