Home ¦ Index ¦ FAQ ¦ Encyclopaedia ¦ Timeline ¦ Songs ¦ Gallery ¦ E-mail
Side One: Five Years / Soul Love / Moonage Daydream / Starman / It Ain't Easy
Side Two: Lady Stardust / Star / Hang On To Yourself / Ziggy Stardust / Suffragette City / Rock n Roll Suicide
Albums: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars (1972), Stage (1978)
Video credit: Ommar Guiterrez
1972 Ziggy Stardust live performances; audio from the Ziggy Stardust album.
"Star" is the second song on the second side of THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS (1972). The Ziggy Stardust version was recorded in November 1971 at Trident Studios. It was originally titled "Rock n Roll Star" and is often mistakenly referred to this way on bootlegs!
Interestingly "Star" was not performed live at any Ziggy Stardust concerts but featured in the 1978 Stage tour and opened the 1984 Serious Moonlight tours following a short intro of "The Jean Genie". At the end of Star on the Serious Moonlight Tour Bowie would often add the (incorrect for this song) line "Ziggy Played Guitar........!"
Prior to its inclusion on the Ziggy Stardust album, "Star" was offered by Bowie in early 1971 to a little known UK Princes Risborough group called Chameleon (whose lead singer was Les Payne). A demo tape of "Star" was recorded by Bowie at the Radio Luxembourg Studios, in Hereford Street, London and sent to Payne. While Payne wanted Bowie to produce "Star" for them, the band's label Chrysalis required a "proper" producer instead, hence "Star" was never released by Chameleon.
In September 2000, listed among rock n roll items for sale at Christies Auction House, Kensington, was the original ½ inch reel-to-reel studio tape demo recording that Bowie sent to Payne. The demo is reported to be quite different in both style and content to that on the Ziggy Stardust album, as were the early versions of "Hang Onto Yourself" and "Moonage Daydream".
Comparing the final version of "Star" to the demo shows that the opening lines "Tony went to fight in Belfast, Rudi stayed at home to starve" were originally written: "If someone had the sense to hear me, if someone had the time to see". And in the chorus the lyrics: "I could make it all worthwhile as a rock 'n 'roll star" and "I could make a transformation as a rock n roll star" were originally "I could make a big time noise as a rock 'n' roll star".
On 26th September 2000 the "Star" demo tape sold for £1,527.
"Just another straightfoward rocker. The thing that strikes me is that all of David's backing vocals are actually performed where they are meant to be. Completely unlike today, wherein they are sung once and then flown/pasted in all the other places" - Ken Scott.
* Bowie has stated that he borrowed the backing vocal line from Beatles's 'Lovely Rita' (from The Sgt. Peppers album) and incorporated it into 'Star'.
Tony went to fight in Belfast
---This page last modified: 03 Jan 2019---