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43 Years Ago: David Bowie Launches U.S. ‘Ziggy Stardust’ Tour

Express, Hulton Archive, Getty Images

On Sept. 22, 1972, David Bowie brought Ziggy Stardust to the Cleveland Music Hall on the opening night of the U.S. leg of his tour. His album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars had been released three months earlier; this was America’s first-ever glimpse of the budding superstar.

Accompanying Bowie were the Spiders From Mars: guitarist Mick Ronson, bass player Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick “Woody” Woodmansey. Mike Garson also joined the U.S. tour as keyboardist, the fourth person to fill the role since April.

Shortly before her death in 2011, The Plain Dealer writer Jane Scott recalled the show: “He sailed over; he won’t fly, his wife said. Orange-haired Bowie, one of the most important figures of ’70s rock, seemed a little awkward at an earlier press conference, but after his smash show, he eluded his security guards and was eager to talk about coming shows. We reporters sensed that a star was born that night.”

Scott was spot-on with her assessment. A sold-out performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall six days later turned the nation’s heads and led to the tour being extended for another two months.

But as much as Ziggy was loved, by the next year Bowie was ready to move on. In July 1973, on the last night of the tour at the Hammersmith Odeon, Bowie, possibly due to a rift with the Spiders over money, told the crowd, “Of all the shows on the tour this particular show will remain with us the longest, because not only is it the last show of the tour, it’s the last show we’ll ever do.”

See David Bowie and Other Rockers in the Top 100 Albums of the ’80s

This Day in Rock History: September 22

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