Readings: The Ziggy Stardust Companion and Bowie Golden Years

When I was researching my posts on the ways Bowie traveled when he didn’t fly, two sites were indispensable: The Ziggy Stardust Companion and Bowie Golden Years.

I’m humbled when I come across such thoroughly researched and valuable sites and grateful for their creators’ generosity.

The Ziggy Stardust Companion

Mike Harvey of Wellington, New Zealand, is the mastermind of this site, which has two main purposes:

  1. To celebrate a magnificent accomplishment in rock music and
  2. To provide detailed information to those wanting to know more about David Bowie’s 1972 masterpiece: “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars.”

Start at the Site Layout and Guide. You’ll discover that there are two packed pages of comments about Ziggy, primarily by Bowie but including those by the Spiders as well (“In Their Own Words”).  “In Other Words” adds observations by those around when Ziggy ruled. A history of the Spiders has a lot of info on Mick Ronson, but doesn’t neglect Woody Woodmansey and Trevor Bolder. There’s a FAQ (where did the name come from, for example) and a discography, song lyrics, and album artwork.

An index and encyclopedia make it easy for you to find  answers to particular questions.

My favorite sections of the site are the timelines. There is a timeline contents page with links to specific timelines for February 1971 through October 20, 1973. These 15 sections cover albums, for example Hunky Dory and Pin-Ups; tours — 3 UK, 2 US, 1 Japanese;  the retirement gig, 1980 floor show, and other events.

Within these chronologies are photos, reviews, and links to longer pieces. For example, “Ziggy in Japan” has links to two long articles on Bowie’s journey on the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Don’t neglect to return to the home page. Once there, scroll to the bottom half of the page to find your way to a long lists of links, “Reviews, Interviews, and Articles.” Most are from 1971-1973, but about twenty are more recent retrospectives.

There are a number of other intriguing pages on the site, including one that discusses the rumored 2002 Ziggy 30th anniversary projects that never materialized. But who knows? 2012 is coming right up.

Bowie Golden Years

Like The Ziggy Stardust Companion, this site, Roger Griffin’s gift to Bowiephiles, also features timelines, but here they are by year, beginning with  April 11, 1974 when the SS France docks in NYC, and ending on December 15, 1980. Tour personnel and venues, summaries of major events, pictures, and links to articles feature in the timelines.

There’s also a page listing article links, many to otherwise very difficult-to-find sources, and another which presents TV appearances for 1974-1980.  Bowie’s six albums of the period, as well as David Live, each has its page with album notes, photos, and articles about its recording. The page for Low, as an example, has Uncut magazine’s 1999 interview with Tony Visconti about its recording.

The documentary Cracked Actor and Bowie’s two movies of the period, The Man Who Fell to Earth and Just a Gigolo, have pages, and there is extensive material on The Elephant Man, well illustrated with a number of stills.

2 thoughts on “Readings: The Ziggy Stardust Companion and Bowie Golden Years

  1. I’m very happy to tell you that Omnibus commissioned Roger Griffin to turn into a book. Over a decade of research has finally resulted in a truly brilliant, encyclopaedic document of David Bowie during the most creative decade of his career 1970-1980. Lush, large format hardback and over 400 pages, Roger Griffin’s David Bowie: The Golden Years will be available October 2016. David Bowie: The Golden Years chronicles Bowie’s creative life during the 1970s, a decade that defined his career. This deep dive looks at the superstar’s life and work in a year by year, month by month, day by day format, placing his works in their historical, personal and creative contexts. The Golden Years accounts for every live performance: when and where and who played with him. It was Omnibus’ most in demand lead title at this year’s London book fair and those of us who have been waiting are beyond excited! Please excuse my squee- I’m pretty excited 😀

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