Beaten Up For Rock n’ Roll – David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust

Happy Birthday to my brother Dan and college friend, Ty… Wow, we have known each other for a long time!!!  This one is for you.

So I asked my brother yesterday what he wanted me to blog about and he suggested a few things which I have already done… Uh oh, does that mean my own brother is not a daily reader?  How could that be?  Or is it possible that since I have now done 248 albums he just cannot remember all of the genius?  We’ll go with that one.

Aside from Bruce, My Morning Jacket and Tom Waits, he said that he had been listening to Ziggy Stardust a lot lately and was loving it all over.  I joked about it with him… made fun of him a little bit.  I mean, I have no pre-conceived notions about Bowie or those who listen to him.  I was being a total wise ass.  I love David Bowie… but then I realized that my Bowie experience has been severely limited.  “Space Oddity” of course… but then a gap until Young Americans in 1975… and oddly… the only Bowie album I own is Changesbowie, the compilation which came out in 1990.  WTF?  The man is SO much more than a greatest hits package.

Okay, I an not much of a glam rocker, but how could this be?  I also had the uncomfortable realization that I have NEVER listened to this one from start to finish.

David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars

The one thing I am in this blog is honest.  I will tell you like it is.  I won’t say I’m ashamed, but I am shocked at the number of albums I never heard or blew off.  It is a bit mind bowing, just like this record… the 35th greatest album ever made according to Rolling Stone!!!  It’s similar to the realization that there are hundreds of classic novels I have never read, and if I don’t get off my ass soon, time will most definitely limit that…

The lesson for today kids, is read all those classics in college and high school… Just do it!  And listen to records… lots of records… for heaven’s sake.

For further proof that we are all interconnected as humans, and certainly connected by music, I take you to the Hammer Museum last night, where Stew and Heidi (winners of the Tony for the Broadway musical and Spike Lee film, Passing Strange) discussed art and music with moderator, their friend, radio DJ and fellow musician Barry Smolin.  The evening was revealing and honest and just amazing.

Stew, a chubby black kid growing up in LA in the ’60s talked about getting beaten up for listening to Rock music!  He told the story of how he lent his friend a copy of his Ziggy Stardust album and while they were getting on the bus, a couple of Crips grabbed the record and starting hassling them.

“What are you gay?”   Why are you listening to this shit?”  They were about to get their asses kicked when a girl intervened and saved the day… But apparently this was the norm.  Young black kids did NOT listen to Rock in LA back then.

After hearing Stew’s story and my brother’s declaration of love for the Bowie… my thoughts that we are all basically the same were reinvigorated… and while music is not the only great equalizer… I would say being a decent and kind human being is the main one for that… music is a pretty damn good equalizer and a way to share and connect.  Music and art is the shit!  You hear me public schools???  You hear me in DC???

This 1972 concept album is amazing and mind-blowing.  Of course I have heard a number of the tracks… but to listen to it uninterrupted from start to finish is the way an album should be listened to.  At least the ones that are thought out and planned by the artist… the ones that are designed as a complete piece of art and not just a delivery platform for a hit or two!

I say bring back listening parties.  Seriously.  I am going to talk to some record companies about setting up Marc’s Muse Listening Parties!!!  Meditations with music… An evening of just being comfortable and together and listening… We SO need this now, more than ever!

It is “the story of a rock and roll character called “Ziggy Stardust”.  Ziggy is the human manifestation of an alien being who is attempting to present humanity with a message of hope in the last five years of its existence. Ziggy Stardust is the definitive rock star: sexually promiscuous, wild in drug intake and with a message, ultimately, of peace and love; but he is destroyed both by his own excesses of drugs and sex, and by the fans he inspired

Thanks, Dan… Thanks, Stew… Proof that it is never too late to go back and discover or re-discover almost anything.  This one brought me a lot of joy today… I wish you the same joy… and bliss… and continual, beautiful musical journey.

1 Comment

Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

One response to “Beaten Up For Rock n’ Roll – David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust

  1. Dan

    Thanks for the birthday blog. Start listening to all of Bowie’s old albums. they are all amazing.

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