David Bowie And The 1970s

This program is rebroadcast from August 10, 2012.

Ziggy Stardust, high persona, and a new biography of David Bowie.

David Bowie applies his makeup. (R. Bamber/Rex Features/Courtesy Everett Collection)

David Bowie applies his makeup. (R. Bamber/Rex Features/Courtesy Everett Collection)

David Jones, born 1947, became David Bowie. David Bowie became Ziggy Stardust, messenger from Mars. Starman. And a whole lot more.

In the 1970s, one-of-a-kind rocker David Bowie was the one who walked away from the 1960s utopianism. Went surreal. Went space. Went glam. Went omni-sexual. Fantasy. Strange. Painted his face. Put on the spandex. And ran all over the cosmos.

This hour, On Point: a new biography looks at David Bowie, the master of persona, and the 1970s.

- Tom Ashbrook


Peter Doggett, music critic and cultural historian. Author of “The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie & the 1970s.”

Earl Slick, guitarist who has played with David Bowie on several albums. He’s also worked with John Lennon, Robert Smith, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and many more.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Washington Post “Doggett convincingly argues that Bowie was the emblematic performer of the 1970s in much the same way the Beatles and Rolling Stones were emblematic of the 1960s. That Bowie didn’t share their universal acclaim is more than made up for, Doggett argues, by his managing to stay relevant even as punk rock and disco relegated the classic rockers to the status of dinosaurs toward the end of the decade.”

New York Daily News “Where Jagger was still coy about his own sexual preferences, Bowie made no effort to conceal the fact that both he and his wife were bisexual and often shared partners. ‘Mick looked at David and wondered if maybe this was the wave of the future,’ said Leee Black Childers, former executive vice president of MainMan, the management firm that handled Bowie. ‘Mick was very conscious of doing whatever it takes to stay hot; David was the hottest thing around at the time.'”

Excerpt: “The Man Who Sold The World”

Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.


Ziggy Stardust (1972, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars)

Space Oddity [Demo Version] (1969, Space Oddity 40th Anniversary Edition)

The Man Who Sold The World (1970, The Man Who Sold the World)

Changes [LIVE] (1972, Aladdin Sane 30th Anniversary Edition)


Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide [LIVE] (1973, Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture Soundtrack)

John, I’m Only Dancing [LIVE] (1972, Santa Monica ’72)

Young Americans (1975, Young Americans)

Golden Years (1975, Station To Station)

Fame [LIVE] (1976, Live on Soul Train)


Sound And Vision (1977, Low)

Joe The Lion (1977, Heroes)

Fashion (1980, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps))

Rebel Rebel (1974, Diamond Dogs)


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