Category: glam rock

On this day in music history: July 3, 1973 – D…

On this day in music history: July 3, 1973 – David Bowie announces that he is retiring his musical alter ego “Ziggy Stardust”. The previous year, Bowie takes on the persona of the enigmatic and androgynous “rock star alien”, for the landmark album “The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars”. It is during the UK tour for the follow up album “Aladdin Sane”, that Bowie tells his manager Tony DeFries and guitarist Mick Ronson that has taken “Ziggy” as far as he can. The last show of the UK dates takes place at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, which are filmed for a documentary by filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker (“Don’t Look Back”, “Monterey Pop”). Turning in an electrifying performance that evening, it is near the end of the show that the singer announces. “Of all the shows on this tour, this particular show will remain with us the longest, because not only is it the last show of the tour, but it’s the last show that we’ll ever do.” With that statement, Bowie and his band launch into the final song “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide”, also the final track on the “Ziggy Stardust” album. At the time, fans misunderstand Bowie’s statement, believing that he is retiring from music altogether, and not just doing away with his “Ziggy” persona. Many years are spent piecing together all of the film footage shot for the documentary, due largely to technical and lighting issues. Bowie’s own lack of interest in participating in the post-production, hinders progress of the completing the project. A shortened version of the concert that also features an appearance by guitarist Jeff Beck, airs on the ABC series “In Concert” on October 25, 1974. At Beck’s request, his performance is removed from the longer cut of the concert footage. The final cut of the film makes its long awaited debut on August 31, 1979 at the Edinburgh Film Festival in Scotland. Well received upon its public screening, David Bowie changes his mind about the film, and sets about to improve the soundtrack portion of it. Collaborating with producer Tony Visconti, they remix the audio portion to give the documentary a true stereo soundtrack for both an album and theatrical re-release. With Bowie in the middle of a huge comeback with the album “Let’s Dance”, the film “Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars: The Motion Picture” is released through 20th Century Fox on December 23, 1983. Bowie’s former label RCA Records issues an accompanying double LP soundtrack album of the same name. It is released on home video by MGM/UA Columbia in 1984, with reissues in 1998 and 2003. Long out of print on vinyl and CD, the soundtrack album is remastered and reissued in 2015, as part of David Bowie’s “Five Years: 1969 – 1973” box set, and as a stand alone release in 2016.

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On this day in music history: July 2, 1971 -…

On this day in music history: July 2, 1971 – “Get It On” by T.Rex is released. Written by Marc Bolan, it is the ninth UK and fourth US single release for the glam rock band from London, UK fronted by musician Marc Bolan. One of the pivotal figures and icons of the glam rock movement of the 70’s, like his friend and some time rival David Bowie, Marc Bolan finds himself going through numerous musical transformations before achieving stardom. Born Mark Feld in Stoke Newington in the North East London borough of Hackney in 1947, Marc becomes infatuated by the first wave of rock & roll while still a school boy. By the 60’s, he moves toward making his dreams of becoming a rock star come true. However, there are numerous set backs and stumbling blocks along the way. Changing his name to Marc Bolan, he forms the band Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1967, at first creating a hybrid of psychedelic folk rock, before evolving into their trademark glam rock sound. In 1970, after shortening their name to T.Rex, Bolan finally makes his major breakthrough with the single “Ride A White Swan” which hits #1 on the UK singles chart in January of 1971. While writing songs for T.Rex’s second album, Bolan takes inspiration from another one of his early rock & roll heroes, Chuck Berry. The initial idea for what becomes “Get It On”, comes when Bolan initially intends to record of cover of Berry’s song “Little Queenie”. Eventually, he changes his mind and writes a new song with that same feel, finishing off “Get It On” quickly. Paying further tribute to Berry, Bolan quotes the lyric “meanwhile, I’m still thinking” (from “Little Queenie”) at the end of “Get It On”. The track is recorded at Wally Heider Studios in Hollywood, CA and Trident Studios in London with producer Tony Visconti (David Bowie), and features T.Rex members Steve Currie (bass) and Bill Legend (drums) and Mickey Finn (congas). Also on the song are Blue Weaver (Bee Gees) (piano), King Crimson saxophonist Ian McDonald and former Turtles members Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman (aka “Flo & Eddie”) on backing vocals. The single is an immediate smash in the UK and rockets to the top on July 24, 1971, spending four weeks at the top. In the US, the record does not have such a fast trajectory. Re-titled “Bang A Gong (Get It On)”, it languishes for five long months before finally charting. Entering the Hot 100 at #87 on January 1, 1972, it peaks at #10 on March 4, 1972. Along with the album “Electric Warrior”, “Get It On” turns Marc Bolan into a glam rock icon, and becomes one of the definitive songs of the movement. The song has a long life after its run on the charts. In 1985, The Power Station cover “Get It On”, with their version peaking at #9 on the Hot 100 in August of 1985, one position higher than T.Rex’s original.

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twixnmix: Marc Bolan (1947-1977) of T-Rex wit…


Marc Bolan (1947-1977) of T-Rex with his girlfriend Gloria Jones in London on June 18, 1976. 

Photos by Michael Putland

twixnmix: David Bowie with his wife Angie and…


David Bowie with his wife Angie and their son Zowie (Duncan Jones) at the Amstel Hotel in

Amsterdam, February 1974. 

On this day in music history: June 12, 1972 – …

On this day in music history: June 12, 1972 – “School’s Out”, the fifth album by Alice Cooper is released. Produced by Bob Ezrin, it is recorded at The Record Plant in New York City and the Alice Cooper Mansion in Greenwich, CT from February – April 1972. Having finally found their sound with the albums “Love It To Death” and “Killer”, Alice Cooper are at last ready for their close up. Their third release with producer Bob Ezrin, Alice Cooper’s manager moves them into a rented mansion, to live, rehearse and record in. The project evolves into a concept album about “lost youth after leaving school”. The title track “School’s Out” (#7 Pop) becomes the lynch pin for the album. Inspired in part by a line from a Bowery Boys movie, the song brilliantly captures the anticipation of watching the clock wind down to the end of the school year. The feeling is brilliantly projected in the sing-a-long chorus of “School’s out for Summer… School’s out forever…”. Then to drive the point home, the track ends with the sound of a school bell ringing, and creating the eerie and jarring effect of it slowing down and abruptly stopping, by grabbing the tape reels on the machine manipulating them by hand. Released as a single in late April of 1972, “School’s Out” is an instant classic, becoming Alice Cooper’s lone top ten pop hit. The single (issued in mono), differs noticeably from the stereo album mix, in that it does not feature the same school bell effect, ending on a fade rather than a dead stop like the stereo version. The concept is also incorporated into the album packaging. Including a calendar in the artwork of “Killer”, they decide on something even more elaborate for “School’s Out”. The band hire graphic artist Craig Braun, famous for helping create the iconic cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” (with a working zipper in front). The Alice Cooper LP features a cover shot of a vintage wooden school desk, with the band members having carved their names and initials into the desk top. The package is designed to open like a desk, revealing the record itself housed in a plastic inner sleeve, and wrapped in a pair of girl’s panties (made of paper and colored either pink, white, yellow or blue). It becomes instantly iconic, earning a Grammy nomination for Best Album Cover in 1973. The panties are discontinued after the initial pressing, when they’re found to be a fire hazard. The original desk, is on display at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.Originally released on CD in 1988, it is most recently remastered and reissued as an SHM-CD by Warner Japan in 2011. Out of print on vinyl for many years, it is reissued as a 180 gram LP by Friday Music in 2010, packaged in a standard gatefold sleeve. “School’s Out” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: June 6, 1972 – &…

On this day in music history: June 6, 1972 – “The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars”, the fifth studio album by David Bowie is released (UK release date is on June 16, 1972). Produced by David Bowie and Ken Scott, it is recorded at Trident Studios in London from September 7, 1971, November 1971, and January 12 – 18, 1972. Even before his fourth album “Hunky Dory” is released, David Bowie begins working on the follow up release. Never willing to stand still musically or image wise, Bowie makes himself over as something otherworldly. Dyeing his sandy brown hair a striking shade of reddish brown, and dressing in flamboyant futuristic costumes, Bowie adapts the persona of Ziggy Stardust. The albums concept centers around the fictional alien rock star, coming to earth to present humanity with a message of hope during its last days. But in the end, Ziggy is consumed by his hedonistic lifestyle and his fans. The album is a major critical and commercial success in the UK upon its release, and begins Bowie’s rise to success in the US. In time, it is regarded as one the most important and influential rock albums of all time. With his “Ziggy Stardust” persona, Bowie becomes a central figure in the glam rock movement sweeping the UK, setting him on the path to becoming a worldwide star. Bowie eventually retires his alter ego just over a year later in July of 1973. His final live performance as Ziggy is captured in the D.A. Pennebaker (“Monterey Pop”) directed film “Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars”, which is screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival on August 31, 1979. The film is finally released along with an accompanying soundtrack album on December 23, 1983. Reissued and remastered several times since its original mid 80’s CD release, the original album is remixed by co-producer and engineer Ken Scott in 2003. This remixed version along with the original mix are remastered and reissued in 2015, and are included in the box set “David Bowie – Five Years 1969 – 1973” on CD and 180 gram vinyl LP’s. “The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars” peaks at number five on the UK album chart, number seventy five on the Billboard Top 200, is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999, and is selected for preservation by the National Recording Registry of The Library Of Congress in 2017.

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Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn of T-Rex photog…

Marc Bolan and

Mickey Finn of T-Rex photographed by Gijsbert Hanekroot in 

Amsterdam, 1972. 

On this day in music history: May 20, 1976 – &…

On this day in music history: May 20, 1976 – “Changesonebowie”, the eleventh album by David Bowie is released. It is the first compilation of Bowie’s hits on RCA Records from 1969 to 1976. The album also marks the first appearance of the track “John I’m Only Dancing” on an album. The song had been previously issued as a stand alone single in September of 1972. The first 1,000 copies of the UK LP have the “sax version” of the song, a re-recorded version cut in January of 1973. It issued as a single in the UK in April of 1973, using the same catalog number as the first pressing. The compilation subsequently switches out the “sax version” with the original release on future pressings. “Ziggy Stardust” is also issued as a single A-side in tandem with the compilations release to help promote it. “Changesone” is also briefly reissued on CD in 1985 by RCA, but is quickly withdrawn after Bowie acquires the rights to his master recordings. The album also spawns a sequel compilation titled “Changestwobowie” released in November of 1981. After both titles are deleted, another Bowie hits album titled “Changesbowie” featuring tracks from both albums with songs from the “Let’s Dance” and “Tonight” albums (originally released on EMI-America Records) is released in 1990, while Bowie’s catalog is distributed by Rykodisc. It too is deleted when the Bowie’s catalog is licensed to EMI Records worldwide. On May 20, 2016, the album is reissued on vinyl for the first time in over two decades, to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of its original release. Parlophone/WMG presses the new reissue on black and limited edition clear 180 gram vinyl. “Changesonebowie” peaks at number two on the UK album chart, number ten on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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twixnmix: David Bowie and his wife Angie B…


David Bowie and his wife Angie Bowie photographed by Terry O’Neill, circa 1973.

Did you know that rock star wife Angela Bowi…

Did you know that rock star wife Angela Bowie – also known as “Jipp Jones” – once auditioned for the lead role in Wonder Woman? Although her own reports claim that Lynda Carter got the role, timing and historical fact-checking show that Bowie actually auditioned for the first Wonder Woman telefilm, which starred Cathy Lee Crosby.

Bowie’s first public discussion of the Wonder Woman audition was on The Tonight Show, in an episode originally aired on 11-16-1973, with the guests Dinah Shore, Joan Rivers, Angela Bowie, and Ashley Montagu. According to the official Johnny Carson website, Bowie discussed “Loving America, being the wife of rock star David Bowie, the Royal Wedding being boring, and their Zowie.”

In addition to her appearance on The Tonight Show, Bowie’s audition was mentioned in the Feb. 11, 1974 issue of Newsweek, in which it was reported that Angela Bowie had been considered for the role of Wonder Woman for an upcoming ABC-TV movie but lost the part for her refusal to wear a bra.

The rock magazine Rock Scene (May-June 1974, pg 37) also did a one-page photo spread.

Source: Wonder Woman Museum