Happy birthday today to David Bowie. Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, and The Thin White Duke turns 65 today.
Bowie is an interesting character for a lot of reasons and has produced a lot of memorable music. Bowie wrote All The Young Dudes — the epic song from the legendary band Mott the Hoople — and his playlist includes classics like The Jean Genie, Space Oddity, Diamond Dogs, and Changes, among many others. Bowie is one of those artists who seems to leap easily from genre to genre, from hard rock to pop and back again.
To me, however, the greatest of Bowie’s many musical achievements is The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which I think is one of the very best rock albums ever made. From Five Years to the initial chords of Moonage Daydream (“I’m an alligator . . . . “) to It Ain’t Easy to the power riffs of Ziggy Stardust (“Ziggy played guitar . . . .”) to the finale of Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide (“Time takes a cigarette and puts it in your mouth . . . .”), the album is filled with stunningly good songs that are as interesting and powerful today, 40 years after they were first released, as they were back in 1972.
So Happy Birthday to you, Mr. Bowie. You have made your mark. And here’s a 1972 performance of Starman, another great song from the Ziggy Stardust album, that the rest of us can use to celebrate your big day.