Wednesday, July 13, 2022

David Bowie shares landmark 1972 UK TV performance of Starman

David Bowie’s team is sharing video footage from a landmark 1972 UK television performance of “Starman” as part of the ongoing 50th anniversary celebrations of his album, “The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.”

The July 6 broadcast on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops was recorded a day earlier at the BBC Television Centre in White City. Considered one of the most essential pieces of music television ever broadcast, the appearance influenced generations of musicians, artists and writers who saw it at the time and countless others who have since seen it over the decades, from bootleg VHS copies to YouTube clips.

The performance launched Bowie to stardom. Thursday 6th July, 1972, is said to be 'the day that invented the 80’s’ as so many musicians who went on to be household names saw the performance and it changed their lives. Those watching that night included U2’s Bono, The Cure’s Robert Smith, Boy George, Adam Ant, Mick Jones of the Clash, Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet, Morrissey and Johnny Marr of the Smiths, Siouxsie Sioux, Toyah Willcox, John Taylor and Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran, Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode and many more.

“There's no doubt that Bowie's appearance on Top Of The Pops was a pivotal moment in British musical history,” says BBC 6Music broadcaster Marc Riley. “Like the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester in '76, his performance lit the touchpaper for thousands of kids who up till then had struggled to find a catalyst in their lives.”

Appearing in a brightly-coloured rainbow jumpsuit and dyed bright red hair, Bowie wrapped his arm around Mick Ronson's shoulder, revealing his white-coloured fingernails and upon singing the line "I had to phone someone, so I picked on you ooh ooh”, he pointed at the camera, singing to the audience directly.

Top Of The Pops was not the first performance of “Starman” on television: the first took place on the Granada Television regional children’s music show Lift Off With Ayshea, presented by Ayshea Brough. Recorded on June 15th and broadcast on the 21st, no viewable copy of this performance has been found to exist.

“The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars” is available as a limited edition 50th anniversary half speed mastered LP and a picture disc, featuring the same master and a replica promotional poster for the album.

See also:

David Bowie revisits 1972 UK TV performance for Ziggy Stardust 50th anniversary
David Bowie celebrates Ziggy Stardust 50th anniversary with Starman remix
David Bowie to release Ziggy Stardust 50th anniversary vinyl editions
David Bowie streams teaser trailer for Moonage Daydream documentary
Search David Bowie at hennemusic