David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust Meaning
Song Released: 1994
Ziggy Stardust Lyrics
The spiders from Mars, he played it left hand
But made it too far
Became the special man, then we were Ziggy's band
Ziggy really sang, screwed up eyes and screwed down hairdo
Ziggy Stardust is a character Bowie created with the help of his wife, Angela. He performed as Ziggy for about a year. Iggy Pop (note the name: zIGGY), Lou Reed, Marc Bolan and Jimi Hendrix ("He played it left hand, but made it too far"), were all likely influences on the character Ziggy Stardust, but the only musician Bowie admits was a direct influence is Vince Taylor, an English singer who took the Rock Star persona to the extreme, calling himself Mateus and declaring himself the son of God (lepper Messiah). Bowie met him in 1966, after his popularity had faded.
Bowie based the clothes, hair, and makeup of Ziggy Stardust on the Malcom McDowell character in A Clockwork Orange, and on William Burroughs book Wild Boys.
Bowie said: "About the ultimate rock superstar destroyed by the fanaticism he creates."
"Weird and Gilly" were 2 of Bowie's band mates in The Spiders From Mars: bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Woody Woodmansey.
This song was a major influence on "Glam Rock" bands like T-Rex and Suede. "Glam Rock" was characterized by outrageous costumes, flamboyant stage antics, and sexual ambiguity.
For years Bowie would not look at tapes of himself performing as Ziggy Stardust. When he finally did, he thought they were hilarious.
The album showed Bowie on the cover as Ziggy Stardust with one foot in a dustbin outside a building. Fans used to send him pictures of themselves recreating the scene at the spot where it was photographed.
While doing an interview in character as Ziggy Stardust, Bowie admitted he was gay. This gave him a great deal of publicity, even though it was not entirely true. Bowie is married to model Iman.
On July 3, 1973, Bowie did his last show as Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. The show was made into a movie directed by D.A. Pennebaker called Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars. It was released on DVD in 2003.
Bauhaus recorded a version of this song in 1982 that hit #15 in the UK. The song has also been recorded by Def Leppard, Nina Hagen and Hootie And The Blowfish.
A live version was left off some copies of his 3-CD set Bowie At The Beeb due to a production error. Bowie made the track available for download to fans who did not get it on the album.
This never charted because it was not released as a single.
There is a plaque outside the pub in London where Bowie created the Ziggy Stardust character. Bowie performed there when it was The Three Tuns. It is now called The Rat And Parrot.
Finally, David Jones AKA David Bowie, derived his stage name from Dave Bowman (main character on "2001: A Space Odyssey") David Bowie, Space Oddity, get it?
anonymous Oct 23rd, 2017 10:52am report
This song is about a monkey in the zoo who decides to become a race car driver and President of the United States.
It is a proven fact that this is the correct interpretation.
anonymous Mar 9th, 2017 3:48pm report
I think ziggy is Mick Ronson he jammed with Weird and Gilly [bass player and drummer] became the special man and the band was complete
anonymous Jan 13th, 2016 1:47pm report
I know it was released before it happened, but the story of the lead singer of a band becoming bigger than the rest of the band and becoming the center of attention and breaking up the band is almost verbatim what happened to The Alice Cooper Group. Alice relied heavily on his band mates that he had known since school and then broke up with them and went solo, leaving the rest of the group aimless and floundering after "Muscle of Love". I know it's not the meaning of it, but it's just so weird how many similarities a song 3 years old at the time had with real life. (The description of Ziggy, minus the guitar playing, is also very similar to Alice Cooper from the late 60's/early 70's until the mid 80's, too)
anonymous Nov 23rd, 2012 11:05pm report
Bowie has himself said that Ziggy Stardust was based upon Vince Taylor, an English rock'n'roller, but some other clues including the name Ziggy suggest that Iggy Pop may have also inspired the character. Iggy Pop started playing drums in the Iguanas but when he picks up a guitar plays it left-handed like the character Ziggy, unlike Bowie who although left-handed plays the guitar right-handed.
Unlike Ziggy, both Iggy Pop and Vince Taylor, survived their self-destructive habits although Vince Taylor died of cancer in 1991.
anonymous Jun 23rd, 2011 6:24am report
I thought it was Paul McCartney and how his ego broke up the Beatles they say after their manager died he took over and was very controlling
anonymous Apr 30th, 2009 4:09am report
I just always assumed it was about Hendrix... and that Ziggy was a homage to him, given that 'Changes' was released the year after Hendrix died... and of course Hendrix was the most famous left-handed guitar player of the time.
But the previous interpretation has opened up a world of other possibilities!
anonymous Feb 3rd, 2009 2:54pm report
It sounds like it might actually be about David Bowie. What gave me that hint was that he's left handed.
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
More David Bowie song meanings »
Submit Your Interpretation
Related Blog Posts
|Boys Will Be Bugs||anonymous|
|Just Add Water||anonymous|
|Things That Make It Warm||anonymous|
|A Walk Through Hell||anonymous|
|When You Look Me in the Eyes||anonymous|
|This Is What You Came For||anonymous|
|Beware of Darkness||anonymous|
|If You Leave Me Now||anonymous|