It’s not uncommon for musicians to try out new material on the road, but imagine the shock of going to see David Bowie and being greeted by Ziggy Stardust instead.
Not many people were at that show at the Toby Jug Pub in Tolworth, England on February 10, 1972. On the first date of his latest tour, Bowie turned rock and roll on its ear. Four months later, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was released launching Bowie to rock star status and forever inspiring musicians for decades to come.
Bowie knew his Ziggy Stardust persona was going to be a game-changer. In an interview with Melody Maker magazine just three weeks before Ziggy’s debut, Bowie declared, “I’m going to be huge, and it’s quite frightening in a way, because I know that when I reach my peak, and it’s time for me to be brought down, it will be with a bump.”
The Toby Jug Pub was demolished in 2000, but memories of that night still live on. A fan in attendance was quoted in a retrospective piece in The Kingston Guardian saying, “I had never seen or heard anything like it before. I was completely blown away…Nothing would ever be the same again.”
Bowie would go on to create other personas, but Ziggy Stardust remains Bowie’s greatest and most influential identity.
…And boy, could he play guitar.