50 Years Ago: Ziggy Stardust's Legendary Farewell
04 Jul 2023
Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the final Ziggy Stardust show at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, a concert that is infamous in rock'n'roll history. As David Bowie explains in Moonage Daydream: The Life and Times of Ziggy Stardust
, the performance was coming to an end as he surprised not only the audience but also the band by announcing:
'Everybody... this has been one of the greatest tours of our lives. I would like to thank the band. I would like to thank the road crew. I would like to thank our lighting people.Of all the shows on this tour, this particular show will remain with us the longest... because not only is it... not only is it the last show of the tour, but it's the last show that we'll ever do. Thank you.'
The concert defined the end of an era, as Bowie bid farewell to his iconic alter ego, leaving a lasting impact on music and pop culture for generations to come.A digitally restored film of the complete performance of that night in 1973, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which re-incorporates Jeff Beck on guitar, was premiered last night in cinemas worldwide to celebrate the anniversary.
Today also marks the 50th anniversary of the eventful Café Royal retirement party (also known as 'The Last Supper') which featured a prominent guestlist of Paul and Linda McCartney, Ringo and Maureen Starr, Keith Moon, Lulu, Tony Curtis, Lou Reed, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Jeff Beck and Barbara Streisand to name but a few.
The gathering was a great opportunity for Bowie to celebrate his newfound fame and music friendships, but the event was particularly famous due to an out of context photograph of Bowie with Lou Reed, causing a lot of speculation at the time.
'I remember that I spent most of my time chatting and laughing with Mick Jagger and Lou Reed (who, by the ay, can be wickedly funny). The Lou 'kiss' picture, of course, is merely a lean-in to yell something above the volume produced by the DJ.'
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