For fans of David Bowie, 1972 was a memorable year for the release of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and its first single: Starman.
Recorded in 1971, the album was almost finished when Bowie wrote Starman, the last track to be added to the album, after RCA executive David Katz heard the demo.
A simple song, Starman was recorded with Bowie, Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey, with several rock critics finding glam influences from fellow Brit T. Rex in the gentle pop rock song.
Released in February 1972, Starman was Bowie’s first hit single since 1969’s Space Oddity and played well into the concept of the album, with Ziggy as the messenger of the Starman, and not an extraterrestrial.
The first of Bowie’s songs to ever chart on the Billboard Hot 100, the first single from the Ziggy Stardust album was a gentle rise on the charts and helped radio airplay prior to the release of the album in June 1972.
But it was July 1972 that solidified Bowie’s (and Ziggy Stardust) presence with the British public after his appearance on Top of the Pops. Performing Starman, Bowie and his band in Ziggy Stardust character became one of the most talked about performances of the year.
Appearing on several Bowie compilations, Starman has always been one of the most popular of Bowie’s singles and in 1999 was chosen as one of the 100 most significant singles ever by Q Magazine.