June will mark 45 years since the release of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – an album that tells the story of arguably the most beloved of David Bowie’s many alter-egos. Although Ziggy has some strong competition; After All, Bowie went through many Changes in his career, so It Ain’t Easy to decide on a favourite look (I feel obliged to here give fair warning that I’m starting with the Bowie song/album puns as I mean to go on, if that’s not Hunky Dory, best stop reading now).
Here are five of his best, as featured in David Bowie: Starman:
The character: a bisexual rock star alien sent to earth to warn us of the coming apocalypse. The look: skin-tight pantsuit, cherry platform boots, heavy make-up, thin as a rake. Rock 'n' Roll Suicide, surely? Well, only in so far as in that Ziggy completely redefined an entire era of music, with his androgynous appearance as much as with his music.
Technically, I’m cheating here; Major Tom was a recurring character in Bowie’s songs, rather than an on-stage persona. But he was an awesome one; ‘Space Oddity’ is tied with ‘Moonage Daydream’ as my all-time favourite Bowie song, and though Tom is apparently dead by its end, he still manages to bounce back to feature in ‘Ashes to Ashes’, ‘Hallo Spaceboy’, and the music video to Bowie’s farewell, ‘Blackstar’.
Thin White Duke
Personally, this one has always freaked me out. Impeccably dressed in white shirt, black trousers and waistcoat, the Duke was a hollow man who sang songs of romance with an agonised intensity, yet felt nothing. In Bowie’s words, he was "a nasty character indeed", and a reflection of Bowie’s own troubles – he spent the period subsisting on a diet of peppers, milk and cocaine. Yet for all that these were certainly not Bowie’s Golden Years on a personal level, the Duke brought him more commercial success with Station to Station (1976) and remains one of his most iconic personas.
Half man, half dog; all rebel. "A real cool cat" who lives in the decaying "Hunger City", Jack was the star of Diamond Dogs, the 1974 album that, with tracks such as ‘Rebel Rebel’, cemented Bowie’s status as a Future Legend. Maintaining Ziggy’s spiked mullet but dying it a shockingly red color, Bowie donned an eye patch, platform heels, and scarves - a look that would later inspire innovators of punk rock.
Jareth, the Goblin King
Bowie also made several forays into cinema, most famously when he donned the wig of the Goblin King for his role as Jareth in the 1986 fantasy epic Labyrinth. The movie's cult status was cemented with Bowie's performance of the song ‘Magic Dance’.
David Bowie: Starman is the perfect tribute to the ultimate chameleon, featuring illustrations of Bowie’s most iconic looks for the reader to colour in themselves, alongside facts, quotes and memories of Bowie from those who knew him best. Buy it here.
Tuesday, 02 May 2017 14:19
The Five Best Faces of David BowieWritten by Cillian Dunn (Plexus Intern)
Published in We Are Live!
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