David Bowie, the “gay” of glam rock

Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders from Mars was released on June 6, 1972, as David Bowie’s tour slipped from clubs and universities to civic venues with over a thousand seats. This future rock classic sold 8,000 copies in its first week, a figure that none of the three previous albums by the British musician had reached over time. All that’s missing is the spark that would allow him to become a national star, which only television can provide. The occasion presented itself on July 6, 1972: the four Martians performed Starman for the BBC music program ‘Top of the Pops’. Twenty million viewers will hear – and more importantly see – a radiant Bowie in his reptilian gold, red and blue jumpsuit. And they will never forget it.

The list of British musicians who will later evoke these three minutes and a few is impressive. They often aroused vocations and made it possible to measure the impact of Bowie on the scenes to come. There are new wave personalities such as Robert Smith (The Cure), Ian McCulloch (Echo & The Bunnymen) or Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), gothic rock like Siouxsie Sioux or Bauhaus – who will cover the song Ziggy Stardust in 1982 – others from the New Romantic movement (Boy George, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet), of which Bowie would be considered the tutelary figure. Without forgetting Bono (U2), Morrissey (The Smiths) or Noel Gallagher (Oasis).

Narcissism is the rule, breaking with the collective values ​​of hippies

After this retransmission, nothing will be like before. Ziggy Stardust takes off in the rankings to be gold record (100,000 copies) at the end of the year. ” A star Is Born “, unoriginal title – but appropriately – the weekly MelodyMakerwhen its competitor, the New Musical Express, greet him “high priest of the camp” who had the audacity to play on his androgyny at a prime time. Bowie’s tour therefore becomes an event where a dissident youth rushes. Like Ziggy, we color our hair and don’t skimp on makeup. Each and everyone is offered the possibility of being a star, of temporarily escaping the economic crisis. Narcissism is the rule, breaking with the collective values ​​of the hippies. It’s all in the song Star : “I could play the crazy mutation of a rock ‘n’ roll star/I’d do it with the money/I’m so tired of life the way it is”. And star, Bowie is now fully, with his two bodyguards.

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