Principally recorded at Trident Studios, London, England.
Every track on ZIGGY STARDUST & THE SPIDERS FROM MARS sounds like it was pulled from the rock 'n' roll bible. The album created a mythology that reached beyond the Chuck Berry folklorisms of the everyday rocker to create a new type of rock star. With ZIGGY, Bowie created a viable alter-ego to descend onto the planet and wreak havoc on rock's fertile soil. In doing so, he created the most original rock creation since the music's inception 20 years before.
Musically, the album was as inspired as Ziggy's persona. Mick Ronson's snarling guitar evoked the triumphant power of the late '60s guitar heroes, but added a flash so dynamic fans knew why the Spiders were labelled "glitter rockers." As an album, ZIGGY STARDUST told the story of rock through the eyes of Ziggy, an alien--with a narrative that was equally sensational and intimate.
Any doubts as to Bowie's intentions to take over rock were displaced on a closer listen to "Star." At the end of the song Bowie (as Ziggy) whispers, "just watch me now," and his determination is eerily obvious. Combining skills as a mime artist and top-rate vocal dramatist, Bowie created Ziggy, the bisexual space man, who sang "songs of darkness and disgrace." The planet was dying, something made evident on the first track "Five Years," and the only way to survive was to "Hang On To Yourself."
In the end, "they had to break up the band," according to the tale told in ZIGGY STARDUST, but the inevitably tragic strains of this "Rock 'N' Roll Suicide" had left their mark on the dying planet. They are still being felt today.
Rolling Stone (7/20/72, p.54) - "...David Bowie has pulled off his complex task with consummate style, with some great rock & roll...with all the wit and passion required to give it sufficient dimension and with a deep sense of humanity that regularly emerges from behind the star facade...I'd give it at least a 99."
Q (p.108) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "[E]ach immortally sculpted tune carries a mood of its own."
Q (1/03, p.69) - Included in Q Magazine's "100 Greatest Albums Ever"
Q (5/97, pp.135-6) - 5 Stars (out of 5) - "...Bowie's one true complete masterwork....arguably changed more people's lives in one fell swoop than any before or since."
Q (6/00, p.76) - Ranked #25 in Q's "100 Greatest British Albums" - "...Turned the rock world upside down, a sci-fi psychodrama garnished with the scattergun glam guitar of Bowie's silver-haired foil and sidekick, Mick Ronson....Made in Britain, but concieved in a galaxy far away."
Q (11/99, pp.140-1) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...sealed Bowie's fate, book-ended by 2 of his finest slowburners, 'Five Years' and 'Rock'n'Roll Suicide'..."
Uncut (8/02, p.98) - 5 out of 5 - "...redefined not just how pop could sound, but how it could think..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.100) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "ZIGGY...remains a pivotal work....With Bowie fired up by a hunger for recognition and sidekick Mick Ronson at his most inspired."
Mojo (Publisher) (2/02, p.84) - "...Besides the dazzling conceptual framework - rock'n'roll with such a sense of otherness that it was actually extra-terrestrial - there are somne great songs too..."
NME (Magazine) (10/2/93, p.29) - Ranked #40 in NME's list of the 'Greatest Albums Of All Time.'
NME (Magazine) (9/18/93, p.18) - Ranked # 7 in NME's list of the 'Greatest Albums Of The '70s' - "...A gloriously manufactured, futuristic rock opera which heads toward its inevitably tragic finale on Mick Ronson's mighty power chords..."