Plate of Shrimp
La la la la la la dada da la la!
Harkening back to a missing lobster in a plate of shrimp.
In other news, Tanuki received some rather amusing junk mail today:
In 1970, Bowie released his third album, The Man Who Sold the World, rejecting the acoustic guitar sound of the previous album and replacing it with the heavy rock backing provided by Mick Ronson, who would be a major collaborator through to 1973. Much of the album resembles British heavy metal music of the period, but the album provided some unusual musical detours, such as the title track's use of Latin sounds and rhythms. The original UK cover of the album showed Bowie in a dress, an early example of his androgynous appearance. In the U.S., the album was originally released in a cartoonish cover that did not feature Bowie.
His next record, Hunky Dory in 1971, saw the partial return of the fey pop singer of "Space Oddity", with light fare such as the droll "Kooks". Elsewhere, the album explored more serious themes on tracks such as "Oh! You Pretty Things" (a song taken to UK #12 by Herman's Hermits' Peter Noone in 1971), the semi-autobiographical "The Bewlay Brothers", and the Buddhist-influenced "Quicksand". Lyrically, the young songwriter also paid unusually direct homage to his influences with "Song for Bob Dylan", "Andy Warhol", and "Queen Bitch", which Bowie's somewhat cryptic liner notes indicate as a Velvet Underground pastiche. As with the single "Changes", Hunky Dory was not a big hit but it laid the groundwork for the move that would shortly lift Bowie into the first rank of stars, giving him four top-ten albums and eight top ten singles in the UK in eighteen months between 1972 and 1973.
Bowie further explored his androgynous persona in June 1972 with the seminal concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which presents a world destined to end in five years and tells the story of the ultimate rock star, Ziggy Stardust. The album's sound combined the hard rock elements of The Man Who Sold the World with the lighter experimental rock of Hunky Dory and the fast-paced glam rock pioneered by Marc Bolan's T.Rex. Many of the album's songs have become rock classics, including "Ziggy Stardust," "Moonage Daydream," "Hang on to Yourself," and "Suffragette City."
The Ziggy Stardust character became the basis for Bowie's first large-scale tour beginning in 1972, where he donned his famous flaming red hair and wild outfits. The tour featured a three-piece band representing the "Spiders from Mars": Ronson on guitar, Trevor Bolder on bass, and Mick Woodmansey on drums. The album made #5 in the UK on the strength of the #10 placing of the single "Starman". Their success made Bowie a star, and soon the six-month-old Hunky Dory eclipsed Ziggy Stardust, when it peaked at #3 on the UK chart. At the same time the non-album single "John, I’m Only Dancing" (not released in the U.S. until 1979) peaked at UK #12, and "All the Young Dudes", a song he had given to, and produced for, Mott the Hoople, made UK #3.
Around the same time Bowie began promoting and producing his rock and roll heroes, two of whom he met at the popular New York hangout Max's Kansas City: former Velvet Underground singer Lou Reed, whose solo breakthrough Transformer was produced by Bowie and Ronson; and Iggy Pop, whose band, The Stooges, signed with Bowie's management, MainMan Productions, to record their third album, Raw Power. Though he was not present for the tracking of the album, Bowie later performed its much-debated mix. Bowie sang back-up vocals on both Reed's Transformer, and Iggy's The Idiot.
The Spiders From Mars came together again on Aladdin Sane, released in April 1973 and his first #1 album in the UK. Described by Bowie as "Ziggy goes to America", all the new songs were written on ship, bus or trains during the first leg of his US Ziggy Stardust tour. The album's cover, featuring Bowie shirtless with Ziggy hair and a red, black, and blue lightning bolt across his face, has been described as being as "startling as rock covers ever got." Aladdin Sane included the UK #2 hit "The Jean Genie", the UK #3 hit "Drive-In Saturday", and a rendition of The Rolling Stones' "Let's Spend the Night Together". Mike Garson joined Bowie to play piano on this album, and his solo on the title track has been cited as one of the album's highlights.
Bowie's later Ziggy shows, which included songs from both Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane, as well as a few earlier tracks like "Changes" and "The Width of a Circle", were ultra-theatrical affairs filled with shocking stage moments, such as Bowie stripping down to a sumo wrestling loincloth or simulating oral sex with Ronson's guitar. Bowie toured and gave press conferences as Ziggy before a dramatic and abrupt on-stage "retirement" at London's Hammersmith Odeon on 3 July 1973. His announcement—"Of all the shows on this tour, this particular show will remain with us the longest, because not only is it the last show of the tour, but it's the last show that we'll ever do. Thank you."—was preserved in a live recording of the show, filmed by D. A. Pennebaker and belatedly released under the title Ziggy Stardust - The Motion Picture in 1983 after many years circulating as an audio bootleg.
Pin Ups, a collection of covers of his 1960s favourites, was released in October 1973, spawning a UK #3 hit in "Sorrow" and itself peaking at #1, making David Bowie the best-selling act of 1973 in the UK. By this time, Bowie had broken up the Spiders from Mars and was attempting to move on from his Ziggy persona. Bowie's own back catalogue was now highly sought: The Man Who Sold the World had been re-released in 1972 along with the second David Bowie album (Space Oddity). Hunky Dory's "Life on Mars?" was released as a single in 1973 and made #3 in the UK, the same year Bowie's novelty record from 1967, "The Laughing Gnome", hit #6.