TITLE

The contrasting soundscapes of Hull and London in David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

AUTHOR(S)
Atkinson, Peter
PUB. DATE
January 2015
SOURCE
Popular Music History;2015, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p46
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
In this article I apply the concept of the urban soundscape as developed by Long and Collins (2012) in an analysis of the impact musicians from Hull had on the evolution of David Bowie's seminal 1972 work The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. I argue that the performance of Ziggy Stardust, both on record and on stage, is doubly coded in relation to place and space. The 'concept' of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust as a musical, a fictional story with songs performed on stage, and an accompanying album of recorded songs, initially appears to be heavily associated with London. The format of the concept--which the creator described as theatre, rather than a rock'n'roll show--is derived from Bowie's experience growing up in London from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, a time of great change in the capital. I suggest that the Ziggy Stardust performance, and its significance, rests on the authenticity of the supporting musicians in the project, musicians from Hull, in Yorkshire, with whom Bowie had been playing for more than two years before it was aired. I illustrate that Bowie and his support cast were subject to different cultural settings, and thus influenced by different soundscapes, and the relevant properties from each are compared here. I go on to provide some assessment of how the involvement of these Hull musicians in the Bowie project has impacted upon the city's historical music culture, and on heritage issues and cultural production in that town. I conclude by noting that Hull has a thriving arts community and is UK Capital of Culture in 2017.
ACCESSION #
120961292

 

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