How David Bowie Created Ziggy Stardust


Outlandish, confronting and musically gifted, the character of Ziggy Stardust signaled the arrival of David Bowie as a rock star capable of transcending musical genres and inverting the common perception of how a performer should look and behave. Though he would abruptly shed the persona when much of the world was only just discovering Stardust’s appeal, Bowie’s creation would continue to inform his own music and that of other famous rockers throughout his career and beyond his death in 2016 at age 69.

“What I did with my Ziggy Stardust was package a totally credible, plastic rock ‘n’ roll singer — much better than the Monkees could ever fabricate,” Bowie told Rolling Stone of the fictional, gender-fluid, alien rock star. “I mean, my plastic rock & roller was much more plastic than anybody’s. And that was what was needed at the time.”

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Ziggy Stardust was Bowie’s way of rebelling against the norm

Bowie’s alter-ego creation erupted onto the music scene in 1972 with the release of his fifth studio album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Stardust was a bisexual rock star from another planet sent to Earth ahead of an impending apocalyptic disaster to deliver a message of hope, according to the album narrative. Hailed as a messiah, Stardust succumbs to the attractions of fame and fortune, ultimately dying at the end of Bowie’s rock opera concept album.

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