David Bowie’s decision to retire Ziggy Stardust onstage at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in July 1973 wasn’t taken lightly. Having experienced Ziggy-mania to the nth degree, he was convinced he needed to kill off his extraordinary alter-ego to survive – but he had no master plan to fall back on. Indeed, when he announced that his next release, Pin Ups, would be a collection of covers, he was buying time while he worked out where his future lay.
Listen to ‘Pin Ups’ here.
“That’s what Ziggy did – so I had to do it, too”
Bowie also had to deal with the fallout from dropping the Ziggy bombshell: a declaration which sent shock waves through his fanbase, but also blew back into his inner circle. Prior to addressing his adoring public at Hammersmith, Bowie had discussed his intentions with guitarist Mick Ronson, but, upon hearing the news along with the rest of the venue, The Spiders From Mars’ rhythm section were as gobsmacked as the crowd.
“I know I really pissed off Woody [Woodmansey, drums] and Trevor [Bolder, bass],” Bowie conceded in a 1993 interview with Select. “They were so angry, I think, because I hadn’t told them that I was splitting the band up. But that’s what Ziggy did – so I had to do it, too.”