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  • Ziggy Stardust

    Ziggy Stardust

    Artist: David Bowie

    In summer 1972, Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona had yet to develop into the iconic red-mulleted alien that would soon engulf him, yet The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars is the album that won him life-long acolytes and sent his career into the stratosphere. Though his spiky haircut was short, and the costume (a jumpsuit designed, like most of the Ziggy costumes, by friend and designer Freddie Buretti) far from his most outlandish, Bowie’s appearance on the Ziggy Stardust sleeve was suitably otherworldly for fans to wholly buy into this most enduring of his characters. The artwork depicts Bowie/Ziggy seemingly having been beamed from space into a seedy back alley – a suitable location for the anything-goes pansexuality that Ziggy Stardust brought to the world in the early 70s. Bowie’s fanbase would later scour the image for hidden messages, claiming that the K West sign above him referred to some sort of “quest” that their idol had embarked upon – though it was merely the name of the furrier that was then situated at 23 Heddon Street, around the corner from London’s Piccadilly Circus, where the photo was taken. (The sign has long since gone, but in 2012 a plaque marking the location’s cultural importance was unveiled in its place; the street is now home to a number of bars and restaurants.) Artist George Underwood took the photograph, and also goes down in Bowie lore for being the school friend who, when punching Bowie in the left eye during an argument over a girl, accidentally scratched his eyeball, leaving him with irreparable damage – Bowie’s distinctive permanently dilated pupil. Bowie eventually forgave his friend, feeling that it contributed to his alien image.

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    • Ziggy Stardust
    • Ziggy Stardust