Lady Stardust – David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars, 1972)
A deep cut of Bowie’s from maybe his most well-known, if not regarded as well, album, Ziggy Stardust, “Lady Stardust” is a piano ballad of the highest order. Word on the street is this track was written in honor of his glam rock contemporary Marc Bolan of T-Rex. If there was a rivalry between Bowie and Bolan the tone of the song belies that as it seems as if he’s trying to pay him an homage, more or less.
“People stared at the make-up on his face
Laughed at his long, black hair his animal grace
The boy in the bright blue jeans jumped up on the stage
Lady stardust sang us songs of darkness and disgrace”
Listening to the track it’s almost Elton John-like in approach, but for some reason the way Bowie approaches the song it’s whimsical and winning. I’ve always enjoyed the simplicity of the piano lines and how he explodes into the first verse in particular. His vocal performance is also really heartfelt and in my opinion great.
The chorus is also a winner.
“And it was alright, the band was altogether
Yes he was alright, his song when on forever
And he was up all night, really quite paradise
He sang all night long!”
When I first got Rykodisc’s release of this album around 1991 or 1992 the album version, much more than the original demo, really struck me as one of my favorite cuts on the record. Yet in the YouTube age I can’t find any live performances, other than a BBC session from the Ziggy era. It’s really crazy to me this song has been lost to time compared to so much of his work, even by David Bowie himself. Give it a listen and see how you feel about this somewhat lost classic.