David Bowie, according to U2’s Bono, was “like a creature falling from the sky.” America may have put a man on the moon, but “we had our own British guy from space.” Bono is referring to when, in 1972, Bowie performed “Starman” on “Top of the Pops,” a seminal moment for young, inspired musicians everywhere. “Starman” was a single on Bowie’s sci-fi/apocalyptic/androgynous concept album, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” and the album propelled Bowie into the stratosphere as one of the clear giants of music. (Even if the album didn’t set the record sales world by storm.) “Ziggy Stardust” was groundbreaking, gender-bending, genre-shaking, and simply unworldly for its time. The guitar riff from the title track is as well-known a riff as you will ever hear, “Suffragette City” is a rocker worthy of Bowie best-of collections, and the other tracks help inch along a captivating narrative of kaleidoscopic proportions. But it was “Starman” that changed everything. As Bowie sings, “There’s a starman waiting in the sky / He’d like to come and meet us / But he thinks he’d blow our minds.” Bowie was the Starman, and he did, indeed, blow our minds.
June 1, 2022