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 Ziggy bows out

July 1973 (continued)


Jul-5th 1973

Bowie and Angie attend the royal premiere of "Live and Let Die".

Jul-7th 1973

While the musical press claim "Bowie Quits" - it later transpires that he is only retiring his Ziggy Stardust persona - but it will take weeks for this fact to be clarified. The scheduled US dates are all cancelled. Bowie is voted "World's Best Male Singer" in Music Scene.

Jul-9th 1973

Bowie leaves Victoria Station to travel to Paris to record PINUPS (1973) - a sixties tribute album - at the Chateau d'Herouville (Strawberry Studios), France. Lulu was also flown in for 2-3 days to record "The Man Who Sold The World".

Jul-14th 1973

Interview on Radio Luxembourg with Kid Jenson. In a Melody Maker article titled "Is Bowie Really Quitting" journalist Roy Hollingworth says "Don't worry kids, its just tactics"

Jul-23rd 1973

All five of Bowie's LPs are in the Top 40, three of them are in the Top 15 and one - ALADDIN SANE (1973) is at #1 - a situation previously unheard of for a single British recording artist.



September 1973

Bowie and Ken Scott mix PINUPS (1973) in London. Bowie denies he will be touring in the near future.

"Unbelievable but a fact - David Bowie takes five places in the Top Fifty album charts for ten whole weeks - a music achievement unique in our time. And now, the man who made Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars and Aladdin Sane is putting a new album into orbit. It's called PIN-UPS and will be released in mid-October. Make sure of your copy by ordering now at your local record shop." - RCA Records and Tapes

Sep-8th 1973

"The Laughing Gnome" 7" single re-released by Derram (to Bowie's embarrassment) to capitalise on the Ziggy phenomenon and reaches #4 on the UK charts selling over 250,000 copies.

"The Laughing Gnome/The Gospel According to Tony Day" Deram DM 123 UK. Highest chart position = #6



October 1973

Oct-12th 1973

"Sorrow" 7" single released in the UK and Spain. It was originally intended to be released on 28 September 1973, but RCA delayed its introduction due to Derram's re-release of "The Laughing Gnome."

"Sorrow/Port of Amsterdam" RCA 2424 UK. Highest chart position = #3.  In US as APBO - 0160.

"Sorrow/Lady Grinning Soul" RCA APBO 9056 Spain

The 1980 Floor Show

Oct-18th 1973

FEATURED CONCERT: The Marquee, London.

Filming begins of a spectacular Bowie stage production called the 1980 Floor Show specially created for an American NBC TV show called The Midnight Special. Bowie fan club members, staff of The Marquee and selected musical press are the participating audience. The show includes Marianne Faithfull, The Troggs and a vocal group called Carmen and takes three days to shoot. It is the last time that Mick Ronson and Trevor Bolder play with Bowie as Spiders.

Bowie songs at the show are:

You Didn't Hear It From Me (Dodo) / Sorrow / Everything's Alright / Space Oddity / I Can't Explain / The Jean Genie / Time / Rock n Roll Suicide / I Got You Babe (duetting with Marianne Faithfull).

Disc features a special history of David Bowie.

Oct-19th 1973

Filming: The Marquee, London. Day Two of filming.

PINUPS (1973) is released to advance orders of over 150,000.

Side One: Rosalyn / Here Comes The Night / I Wish You Would / See Emily Play /Everything's Alright / I Can't Explain
Side Two: Friday On My Mind / Sorrow / Don't Bring Me Down / Shapes of Things / Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere / Where Have All The Good Times Gone

It is his Bowie's last album featuring Mick Ronson as main guitarist and the last with producer Ken Scott. Bowie uses Aynsley Dunbar on drums, instead of Mick Woodmansey (who had returned to Hull following "The Retirement Gig") and while originally intending to have Jack Bruce of Cream on bass, retained the services of Trevor Bolder for his last Bowie album when Bruce cannot make the French sessions.

Oct-20th 1973

Filming: The Marquee, London. Final day of filming.



November 1973 - February 1974

Nov-16th 1973

NBC broadcast The 1980 Floor Show in the US. However, apart from segments for Top of the Pops it has never been screened in the UK.

In this month the music press is told that Bowie will play the lead role of Winston in a stage adaptation of George Orwell's 1984 in March 1974 (during the recording of the song 1984 for the 1980 Floor Show Bowie told the audience that "This is for next March") and that the Ziggy Stardust Show will be launched on Broadway in 1974 - but ultimately neither of these plans will come to fruition. The stage adaptation of 1984 is cancelled when Orwell's widow refuses the rights to Bowie for the show.  Rumours also circulate that Bowie would make his film debut in Robert A Heinein's "Stranger in a Strange Land, and a film will be made with Amada Lear called "Octobriana" but these never happen.

For 1984, it is rumoured that Bowie had five extra songs written for this show, in addition to those already on THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS (1972). Two were "Rock n Roll with Me" and "Rebel Rebel" and the names and background to the other three are unknown. See an interview between Bowie and William Burroughs in which he outlines his plans for the stage show.

"I'm going to play a character called Ziggy Stardust. We're going to do it as a stage show. We may even do it in the West End. When I'm tired of playing Ziggy I can step out and someone else can take over for me." - Bowie (August 1971)

Instead Bowie commences work on Diamond Dogs - the last Bowie album to feature a Ziggy-like visage. In many ways the ideas behind Diamond Dogs were really to be an extension of the disaster and saviour themes from Ziggy Stardust.

December 1973

RCA luncheon in honour of the fact that Bowie had five different LPs on the charts for 19 weeks.

Feb-6th 1974

Bowie's final fling with Ziggy Stardust was when he returned to Holland (having recorded material for Diamond Dogs there) to receive the Dutch Edison Award for the Ziggy Stardust album. The Awards ceremony was broadcast live and while everyone was in formal evening wear Bowie appeared in a Ziggy-like pirate chic costume - the eyepatch a necessity because of conjunctivitis.


The Diamond Dogs single "Rebel Rebel" was released on 15 February 1974 and was immediately bought up large by Ziggy Stardust fans as an anthem for the now all but defunct glitter movement.  It reached No 5 on the UK charts.  The promo film featured Bowie as above. The final Ziggy moment occurred when "Rock n Roll Suicide" was released later that year on 11 April 1974.  It reached #22 on the UK charts.

"I really wanted to write musicals. That's what I wanted to do more than anything else - because I liked rock music, I kind of moved into that sphere, somehow thinking that somewhere along the line I'd be able to put the two together. And I suppose I very nearly did with the Ziggy character. But I had such short attention span and got disinterested so quickly after I created some kind of project that I wanted to move on. And I never really got the book together for the thing, so I had all the songs and the characters. But by the time we'd gotten it on the road and I'd been doing it for 18 months, oh God, I couldn't wait to move on to something else.
 I wanted to rewrite how rock music was perceived.  I would love to have handed it on to somebody else. And I guess Ziggy would have been the perfect vehicle to have done with. I don't know why, to this day, I didn't find some other kid, after I'd done it for like six months, and said, here you are. Put the wig on and send him out and do the gigs, you know. I mean, it would have been much the best thing to do. And then I could have moved on quicker to something else. But that comes back to what I was saying. I needed to sing because nobody else was singing my songs. So I had to do it myself."
Bowie (2002)


---This page last modified: 16 Jan 2019---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)