The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (often shortened to Ziggy Stardust) is the fifth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 16 June 1972 in the UK by RCA Records. It was co-produced by Bowie and Ken Scott and features Bowie’s backing band the Spiders from Mars, comprising Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey. Most of the songs were written around the same time as Bowie’s previous album Hunky Dory (1971). After that album was completed, recording for Ziggy Stardust commenced in November 1971 at Trident Studios in London, with further sessions in early February 1972. The album has been reissued several times and was remastered in 2012 for its 40th anniversary. In 2017, it was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry, being deemed “culturally, historically, or artistically significant” by the Library of Congress. Here are all of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars songs ranked.
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11. Soul Love
“More melodic and smooth than the previous one, with a marked percussion and a more positive air than the rest of the songs on the album. The final sax solo performed by Bowie himself stands out. After the initial chaos, it is time to harangue the masses to take advantage of the time left to save their souls. The Earth is ephemeral as are the hours of dawn, and we must take advantage of the time that remains trusting in love as a lifeline.”
10. It Ain’t Easy
“The peculiarity of this song is that it is the only one that is not written by Bowie, it is a version of an American singer named Ron Davis, and it is also a song that was previously recorded and that finally did not enter the previous album, the also brilliant “Hunky Dory”.
“Ziggy is already a rock star, thanks to his magnetism brought from other corners of the universe. The lyrics seem to describe what Ziggy fans do during the planet’s five years of life, in keeping with their initial message. People who go to fight or stay at home, who decide to go around the world or imitate Ziggy’s transformation into a rock star.”
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8. Hang on to Yourself
“The song in which the Sex Pistols were inspired for the riff of “God Save the Queen”, is in turn inspired by “Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran. Rhythmic and lively with a touch of classic rock and roll, a cross between glam and punk. Once at the top, Ziggy begins the decadent descent caused by the excesses of rock and roll life. Sex, alcohol and drugs are trapping Ziggy Stardust and taking him away from his goal to bring him closer to his downfall.”
7. Lady Stardust
“A piano-dominated piece, it works like a ballad because of the intensity of Bowie’s vocal performance, but is actually created as a tribute to his friend Marc Bolan and the lyrics focus on the heyday of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders, remembering how she shone on stage with her makeup and the whole band together playing.”
6. Suffragette City
“Ronson’s abrasive guitars for a cool, fast-paced, rock and roll-based theme, with the frenzied piano and the pounding guitar, as Bowie sings and throws in wild backing vocals. Another of the star songs on the album, which when it seems that it is dying and is going to leave you wanting more, suddenly returns with the same force in a wink to the listener as an encore. Here Bowie’s sax appears again to”
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5. Five Years
“The album begins in a big way and with mystery, with that battery that gradually increases in volume as if indeed Ziggy’s spaceship were approaching. The alien’s message is clear, the Earth has 5 years left before its complete destruction, and the chaos produced by the news is detailed through the situations of different characters: mothers crying, reporters giving the news, a soldier with the broken arm, a policeman, a priest, a crazed girl beating up some children, all fleeing the newly revealed destruction. finish giving the magic touch to the mix.”
4. Moonage Daydream
“The calm does not last long in the epic of Ziggy Stardust on Earth. In this song, one of the flags of the album, the character of Ziggy is described in the first person, while he talks to a girl he is conquering, with phrases such as “I’m an invader from space, baby keep your electrifying gaze on me, stick your spatial face to mine and stimulate yourself “.
3. Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide
“The record ends in style with a Bowie songbook masterpiece, and Ziggy’s epic can only end in what a tragedy for the “rock and roll suicide.” The lyrics are Bowie tuting Ziggy, detailing his last steps through a song structure that grows from less to more in intensity and instrumentation.”
2. Ziggy Stardust
“The beginning of the end of this epic comes when a disoriented Ziggy decides to break up with the gang. One of the best Bowie songs, with a legendary guitar riff by Mick Ronson, in addition to having the peculiarity of singing for Bowie but the lyrics tell the story from the perspective of the musicians, who describe what life was like within the band and how the moment came when its leader dissolved the group.”
“Well-known theme that perfectly sums up both the spatial theme of the album and its acoustic-electric-classic sound strategy. This song was added to the album at the last moment because of its commercial potential as a single. It’s the great cosmic song the album needed to get off the charts.”