40th Anniversary Of Ziggy Stardust Celebrated Today In London
The Crown Estate today unveiled a commemorative plaque to David Bowie’s iconic creation, Ziggy Stardust, marking the 40th anniversary of his album, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. The plaque was unveiled at 23 Heddon Street, just off Regent Street, London, W1, where the photograph on the front cover of the album was taken–a fact little known until now.
David Shaw, Head of the Regent Street Portfolio at The Crown Estate, said:
“Regent Street is famous for many cultural firsts. Not only was the first British cinema opened in Regent Street but the seminal album that launched Ziggy Stardust’s arrival on planet earth had its spiritual home in Heddon Street which is now the food quarter to Regent Street. Regent Street is proud of the association with David Bowie, a true British cultural icon.”
Unveiling the plaque, Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet) said: “Ziggy was the ultimate messianic rock star, and with him David Bowie successfully blurred the lines not just between boys and girls, but himself and his creation. Bowie was Ziggy come to save us–and I bought him hook, eyeliner and haircut. It seems right that it should be the job of a fan boy and I am very honored.”
Attending the VIP breakfast were Mick Woodmansey and Trevor Bolder, original members of the band Spiders From Mars; illustrator Terry Pastor, who created the iconic album cover; and record producer Ken Scott, who came from his home in Los Angeles.
Part of The Crown Estate’s ongoing vision for the development of Regent Street and surrounding areas, Heddon Street today is completely different from that of 1972, when the album cover was created. Now one of Regent Street’s main Food Quarters, it has been transformed into a pedestrianised courtyard ideal for al fresco dining with restaurants including Momo, Aubaine, Below Zero, The Ice Bar, Strada, Piccolino’s, Strawberry Moons and The Living Room.
Back in 1972, the Bowie album depicts ‘Ziggy’ outside on a cold wet January night with his foot resting on a step outside 23 Heddon Street. The late Brian Ward had rented a space upstairs in the building as a makeshift photographic studio, and had already shot 17 pictures when he persuaded Bowie to step outside onto Heddon Street. The other band members thought it too cold and declined to join him for the picture. Wearing the green jumpsuit that he later wore on the BBC 2 TV show “The Old Grey Whistle Test,” Bowie posed for the photograph. The images were shot using Royal –X – Pan black and white film and then lovingly hand colored by artist Terry Pastor. In the finished image, Ziggy’s jumpsuit is colored blue.
“It was cold and it rained and I felt like an actor,” Bowie recollected. “We did the photographs outside on a rainy night and then upstairs in the studio we did the Clockwork Orange look-a-likes that became the inner album sleeve.”
The iconic image cover catapulted David Bowie to international stardom, creating an army of pop stars with spikey hair and edgy alter egos, a trend which later evolved into the glam rock movement for which Ziggy was the poster boy. This plaque pays homage to an enduring iconic creation of British Pop, meaning fans from all over the world can visit the place where the dynamic character of Ziggy was immortalized on camera.