Ziggy Stardust plaque unveiled on Heddon Street, London W1
Today to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Ziggy Stardust The Crown Estate invited Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet to unveil a commemorative plaque in Heddon Street, London W1.
The Crown Estate unveiled a commemorative plaque to David Bowie’s iconic creation, Ziggy Stardust, marking the 40thanniversary of his album, ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars’. The plaque was unveiled at 23 Heddon Street, just off Regent Street, London, W1, where the photograph on the front cover of the album was taken – a fact little known until now.
David Shaw, Head of the Regent Street Portfolio at The Crown Estate said : “Regent Street is famous for many cultural firsts. Not only was the first British cinema opened in Regent Street but the seminal album that launched Ziggy Stardust’s arrival on planet earth had its spiritual home in Heddon Street which is now the food quarter to Regent Street. Regent Street is proud of the association with David Bowie, a true British cultural icon."
Unveiling the plaque Gary Kemp said: “Ziggy was the ultimate messianic rock star, and with him David Bowie successfully blurred the lines not just between boys and girls, but himself and his creation. Bowie was Ziggy come to save us – and I bought him hook, eyeliner and haircut. It seems right that it should be the job of a fan boy and I am very honoured”.
Attending the VIP breakfast were Mick Woodmansey and Trevor Bolder original members of the band Spiders From Mars. Illustrator Terry Pastor who created the iconic album cover and record producer Ken Scott who came from his home in Los Angeles.
Part of The Crown Estate’s ongoing vision for the development of Regent Street and surrounding areas, Heddon Street today is completely different from that of 1972, when the album cover was created. Now one of Regent Street’s main Food Quarters, it has been transformed into a pedestrianised courtyard ideal for al fresco dining with restaurants including Momo, Aubaine, Below Zero, The Ice Bar, Strada, Piccolino’s, Strawberry Moons and The Living Room.
Back in 1972, the Bowie album depicts ‘Ziggy’ outside on a cold wet January night with his foot resting on a step outside 23 Heddon Street. The late Brian Ward, had rented a space upstairs in the building as a makeshift photographic studio, and had already shot 17 pictures when he persuaded Bowie to step outside onto Heddon Street. The other band members thought it too cold and declined to join him for the picture. Wearing the green jumpsuit that he later wore on the BBC 2 TV show ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’, Bowie posed for the photograph. The images were shot using Royal –X – Pan black and white film and then lovingly hand coloured by artist Terry Pastor. In the finished image, Ziggy’s jumpsuit is coloured blue.
“It was cold and it rained and I felt like an actor “ Bowie recollected , “we did the photographs outside on a rainy night and then upstairs in the studio we did the Clockwork Orange look-a-likes that became the inner album sleeve.”
The iconic image cover catapulted David Bowie to international stardom, creating an army of pop stars with spikey hair and edgy alter egos, a trend which later evolved into the glam rock movement for which Ziggy was the poster boy. This plaque pays homage to an enduring iconic creation of British Pop, meaning fans from all over the world can visit the place where the dynamic character of Ziggy was immortalised on camera.
NOTES TO EDITORS
EMI are excited to announce on 4 June 2012 they are releasing the 40th anniversary edition of David Bowie’s truly groundbreaking and hugely influential album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars. The re-master of “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – CD and Vinyl/Hi-Resolution Audio & 5.1 Mix DVD Editions – DVD (Hi Resolution Audio & 5.1 Mix) including previously unreleased 5.1 Mix & stereo bonus tracks.
The album was produced by Ken Scott who went on to work with Elton John, George Harrison , Supertramp and many more. The Spiders were Mick Ronson who sadly died of liver cancer in 1993 aged 46 , Trevor Bolder on bass, Mick Woodmansey on drums , all accompanying David Bowie on guitar with Dana Gillespie on backing vocals.
The album was released on 6 June 1972 and as we say, the rest is history, and what a history over those 40 years. Spawning countless copy cat bands and pop stars images.
Heddon Street has become a pilgrimage for Ziggy fans worldwide and now that this historic location is to be commemorated with a Crown Estate plaque to Ziggy celebrating the importance of a small street just off Regent Street in London’s West End.
“Ziggy played guitar, jamming good with Weird and Gilly,
and the spiders from Mars. He played it left hand
But made it too far
Became the special man, then we were Ziggy's band”
Lyrics written by David Bowie /Copyright EMI Music Publishing, CHRYSALIS MUSIC GROUP/TINTORETTO MUSIC
Heddon Street is one of Regent Street’s Food Quarters, it was pedestrianised in 2009 and now is home to 9 restaurants and bars. ; Momo, Mo Tea Room, The Living Room, Aubaine, Piccolino’s, Strawberry Moons, Below Zero and the Ice Bar, and London’s first boutique vegetarian restaurant tibits and recently opened Strada.
Heddon Street is now a tranquil oasis with beautiful terraces adorned with palms and olive trees and is one of Regent Street’s two food quarters which was re-opened in 2009 by Cllr Robert Davis, Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council, who said: “The West End is changing for the better, and the transformation of Heddon Street from deserted back alley to thriving al fresco hot-spot is testament to that. “
“The Crown Estate’s commitment and support has been vital to our own plans and vision to ensure West End is truly world class in 2012 when the eyes of the world will be upon us.”
Part of Regent Street’s £750 million investment and regeneration programme, the Heddon Street improvements have delivered a place for people to eat, drink and relax in a traffic free, attractive environment, at the heart of the West End.