Plaque to commemorate Ziggy Stardust’s 40th anniversary

This month, the Crown Estate will be unveiling an commemorative plaque dedicated to the iconic alter ego of David Bowie; Ziggy Stardust.

The plaque is to mark the 40th anniversary of the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

The plaque will be situated on Heddon Street, which is just off Regent Street in London, and the spot where the album cover photo was shot, a little known fact before now.

Heddon Street plays a major part in the Crown Estate’s ongoing vision of Regent Street’s development, and this area is completely unrecognisable from what it was like in 1972, when the famous photo was taken.

It is now one of the main food quarters of Regent Street, and has been transformed in fully pedestrianised courtyard designed for al fresco dining at such restaurants as Aubine, Momo, Strada, The Ice Bar, Below Zero, Strawberry Moons, the Living Room and Piccolino’s.

.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.

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, and Mick Woodmansey on drums, all accompanying David Bowie on guitar with Dana Gillespie on backing vocals.