Became the special man...
With the approach to the celebration of the release of 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' on June 6th, I thought it would be cool to remember some of the key moments that led up to the album's release back in 1972. It was thirty years ago today that the UK was privy to the very first sighting of Bowie's Ziggy persona and it came in the form of the front page of Melody Maker.
Under the headline of "Oh You Pretty Thing", the popular music weekly carried an interview with David, conducted by Michael Watts, that is generally considered to be the piece that really started all the glorious fuss. Apart from the shocking new look, (nobody with an ounce of cool had short hair up to that point*) the content of the interview raised the blood pressure of many a parent of teenagers in the UK, particularly with David's "I'm Gay" announcement.
Though Melody Maker made no fuss about the proclamation at the time, everybody else certainly did...here's the paragraph that did it:
"David's present image is to come on like a swishy queen, a gorgeously effeminate boy. He's as camp as a row of tents, with his limp hand and trolling vocabulary. "I'm gay," he say's, "and always have been, even when I was David Jones." But there's a sly jollity about how he says it, a secret smile at the corners of his mouth. He knows that in these times it's permissible to act like a male tart, and that to shock and outrage, which pop has always striven to do throughout it's history, is a balls-breaking process."
Hard to imagine the impact those few words had at the time, but along with the wonderful new look, a 'Single Of The Week' on Radio 1 with 'Changes', and the recent release of the critically-acclaimed 'Hunky Dory', it was clear to all that David Bowie was on his way.
Elsewhere in the paper, Lou Reed was interviewed while recording his first solo album, unaware that he himself would be working with the cover star in a matter of months, and an advert for West End screenings of 'Clockwork Orange' shared a page with a feature headlined "T. Rextacy!" about the continued success of Marc Bolan's T Rex.
If you want to read the whole transcript of this
*Adverts for Hunky Dory had run up until the week before in Melody Maker, adverts that depicted the album cover with that famous shot of David with his hair flowing over his shoulders.