Song: Ziggy Stardust

David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” presents a narrative about a rock n’ roll character with the same name. Due to its limited space (unlike prose), it is crucial for you not to neglect every single element, including the sounds (produced either through the music or the lyrics) and even the genre. References on the character are available everywhere since Bowie himself has clearly stated them in several interviews. In your comment, please refer to the triangulations of story (plot-characterization-setting) and poetry (meaning-sound-shape) to analyze the concept of the song.

Your response should be in form of significant opinion and/or valid argument about the act of writing creative work and the way fiction form (poetry/song) is delivered. I include these study questions as prompts/reminder. You can either write your comment with your own composed opinion or submit answer to one of these questions.

Study questions
1. How do you see the characterization of the protagonist plays its role in developing elements of narrative in the song?

2. How do the sounds influence the characterization or story of Ziggy Stardust?

3. If you refer to the references, how are they portrayed in the song as a newly created universe?

NOTE: Comments on this post are limited to “Ziggy Stardust”-related only.

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170 thoughts on “Song: Ziggy Stardust

  1. 180410120077
    Luqmanul Hakim

    as I had listened to the music several times, I have concluded that David Bowie is characterizing Ziggy with a guitar, which is his best.

    I mean by a guitar, David Bowie, success creating a character that is simply trying to get famous on stage.

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    • Rizki Puji Gustian
      180410120028
      Kelas B

      Could you please make “I mean by a guitar, David Bowie, success creating a character that is simply trying to get famous on stage” clearer?
      What does exactly Bowie do with the guitar?

      You might want to re-check the F.A.Q. page for the future posts.

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  2. 180410120133
    Muhammad Bahmaniar

    The way I see the story in the lyric, it was all probably about how ego and self-centeredness could tear people apart –Ziggy and his band.

    As some of us have probably known, Ziggy Stardust is the alter ego of Bowie himself; and by that I assume that this was some kind of life reflection to bowie by bowie. How he regret some of doings that he had done before.

    The music at first I thought was made perfunctorily turns out to be a brilliant well made song, showed in a lot of aspects; The plot was arranged nicely and supported by how the music and the way he sang change from the gentle verse and crushed by a slightly more distortion and staccato from the bridge to chorus and how he added some sort of moans that sounded like deep sighs made the song a whole package of play.

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  3. 180410120012
    Kelas A

    My take on Bowie’s Ziggy character is this: Originally it was simply his conception and story of the ultimate legendary ‘rock star’. One who became consumed by his fame and ego and ultimate ‘self’ demise. With it’s overwhelming success he contrived to himself be Ziggy playing the role to the max. Then despite the astonishing disappointment of his fans. It became a brilliant and bold move on his part to end the characterization. Maybe I’m wrong. I always just thought that Ziggy Stardust was David Bowie’s (or probably the other messed up guitar rockstar, lets say : Hendrix) glam alter-ego. Basically, like he was everything about him times a million. His own fears, inadequacies, ego, lust..etc just magnified.

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  4. 180410120018
    A

    I agree with Bahmaniar, Ziggy is Bowie, Ziggy is an alter-ego of David Bowie. Although Bowie was not a guitar player, the song, I think tells about the rise and fall of Bowie’s carreer. Ziggy’s characterization shows in his rock voice and moans that we can conclude that he is a Famous rockstar. The lyric also gives pictures of ziggy’s characterization which is a left handed man guitar player, and has a many fans which are envied by his rivals and decide to “crush his sweet hand”, but still “ziggy played his guitar”.

    All these ziggy’s characters take an important role to decide, how would be his reaction if something happened to him and how ziggy would solve it with his character/how ziggy would solve it with his own way.

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  5. Implied meaning takes its own part in characterizing the focalizer of the song, Ziggy. It is probably implied that the narrator of the song was one the “spiders from the mars”, the member of Ziggy Stardust. From that point of view, it can be argued that the characterization of the narrator, the way it narrates Ziggy, is affected by situation in which the narrator and Ziggy, and maybe the rest of the members, involved. The way it describes the significance of Ziggy in the band also builds characterization of the narrator.

    As for the sound/music, one may say that it gives the listener the mood of the song, thus carrying the listener to understand what Bowie tries to tell.

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  6. 180410110213
    Eva Nova Sari

    After I heard this song, it easy to listen but there are some that I don’t understand. I see the character in the song through Bowie played guitar. It is shows that the character of Ziggy, and it is greatly influenced the song. I think Ziggy is Bowie, who rockstar character that is praised and criticized by his creation. Like the lyrics “With God given ass” and “When the kids had killed the man” which different from the songs I’ve ever heard. In the first lyrics of the song also says “Ziggy played guitar”, that want to present who is Ziggy and his band.

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  7. The character of Ziggy is probably a reflection made from David Bowie’s life. The Ziggy character develops the elements of narrative in the song by telling his career from the beginning until he became famous and got many fans. However, the character of Ziggy also played a role of antagonist since he had to struggle to fight with his alter ego in order to keep his band popularity (as we know that David Bowie is a gay); moreover ‘gay’ at that time is still taboo for some people, thus Ziggy has to choose between his career or his own will. The song, merely depicted David Bowie’s life who (at that time the song released) tries to break the traditions about bisexuality through Ziggy Stardust.

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  8. 180410120038
    Kelas B

    I don’t really care whether Ziggy was Mr. Bowie’s alter ego or not as most of my fellas had said, one sure thing is that this song was poorly played and recorded. The tempo was screwed up, you can find it clearly by simultaneously tap your finger and listen to the song.

    Nevertheless, by the plainness of the sound that was produced, the Ziggy’s nature could be more living only with listen to its lyrics, as well as bring out my mind into his world, where the left-handed spiders from Mars were his guitarist of the band.

    The alignment of the music to the song’s verses and chorus has created a good progress in raising the plot itself. Even though the song was flat, I persistently can experience the dynamics of the plot.

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    • Muhammad Bahmaniar
      180410120133

      You got a point there, but how about he intentionally did that? I mean, the out-of-tempo, poorly recorded, I can take that as a way of him showing his unperfectness, how he feels sorry to his band mates. Because for the record, there is a band who actually always played along with him back in the great years of him, one of them is Mick Ronson, and he ditched Ronson out of the band because he thought he didn’t need him. But he was wrong. that’s why i think this song was made, to show his band mates that he was not perfect without them.

      or maybe.. yes, it was just probably poor recorded, I don’t know, it’s the quality of the era probably.

      or.. he didn’t have much money. pfft.

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      • Maybe you are right, yet I still think that the song and recording itself is poor.

        See, the lyrics has elucidate all his imperfection at that time by way of building dynamics plot, mainly in the last verses. I knew that, you knew that, everybody knew that. I don’t think that the story of him in the lyrics has a connection to the lack of the recording, for the reason that the lyrics has simply said it all.

        There are probably lots of reason that Mr. Bowie screwed it (or you said that it could be deliberated). We all can only keep assuming it. The recording is poor after all. However, it is not my main point in the previous comment.

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  9. 180410120069
    Kelas A

    In my opinion, Ziggy Stardust is a song which tells us about a story of a rock-star’s career, named Ziggy. The first verse of the song shows the beginning of Ziggy’s career. He was an ordinary man who had a great talent in playing guitar. Then, he met Weird and Gilly, who were described in the song as “the spiders from Mars.” From that term, I can conclude that Weird and Gilly were strangers for Ziggy. They did not know each other before they met. They decided to make a band named “Ziggy” which had changed Ziggy from an ordinary man to an extraordinary (special) man. This is the rising part of the story.

    On the next verse, I can see that Ziggy really enjoyed his role as a rock-singer. He, then, became more popular and had big fans who are very fanatic (This showed by the lyric: “when the kids had killed the man”, and I think the kids were Ziggy’s fans). Finally, because of a reason that I do not know, the band was broken up. This is the falling part of the story.

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  10. Fidhika Fitrah Ananda S.
    180410110180/A

    I think David Bowie song Ziggy Stardust tell about Ziggy who is playing guitar with his band but his band thinks that they are playing with Ziggy’s ego. The protagonist in this song is Ziggie. Ziggy is Bowie himself I think because the story in this song is so detail. In the band Ziggie wants to show his talent, he looks that he doesn’t care with the band performs. It shows that he is selfish. The sound just likes the narrative story that given sound, so that it makes listener is easy to understand the song. We will hear the sound likes someone is telling a story of their band.

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  11. Inayah Mulia Dewi
    180410120031
    Kelas B

    Ziggy Stardust developes certain characters through the entire song. First, he was a man with extraordinary ability in playing guitar that later formed a band with his friend, Wierd and Gilly. He became the front-man of the band, being popular, has a lot of fans, does not give a damn about his appearance, and influence people with his popularity. And the problem came from his band-mates. They think people only notice Ziggy and forget that they exist, they’re mad, they break up from the band and Ziggy’s still playing his guitar because he really does not give a damn.

    The lyrics are neatly arranged from beginning to the end, as if it creates chronological events of a music career with its problematics. In three minutes to listen to a history (sort of), it is strikingly great.

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  12. The song tells that Ziggy Stardust is a rock-star. He start to chase popularity as he has great talent on playing guitar. He met Weird and Gilly and make “Ziggy’s band”. Ziggy wanted to be front man in his band and became most popular than the other members. At least, he became famous rock star and had enormous fans (included fanatic fan). Unfortunately, his band was broke down. I think, it was an effect from his ego discomforting another members.

    Furthermore, Ziggy take an important role on the song’s lyric as the plot follows the character.

    Yosef Dadi Abdullah
    180410120047

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  13. Zitro Alviotti
    180410120125
    Class F

    In my own opinion, the characterization is using a central theory since Ziggy himself is the one which is told by David Bowie in the song. The development of the narrative is made by the story of Ziggy’s succes in playing with the band. In some of my friends comments, I little bit disagree if Ziggy is David Bowie since David himself mention that he is one of the band member which Ziggy is the best from the band because in the lyric, if he is dead, the band will break up. Hence, I conclude that Ziggy is another character who is a musician. Moreover, the rythm and the arrangement itself is quite poor and do not attractive. Hence, I assumed that, the song itself is created by David Bowie to mock that musician.

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  14. 180410120001
    A

    In my opinion, Ziggy Stardust is the character that really exist. However, the song writer represent that “real man” in another man that is called Ziggy. Maybe Ziggy is the representation of David Bowie himself or maybe it can be another person. I think the entire lyric contents tell about Ziggy’s characterization. Because of Ziggy’s characterization, now I can see a story in that song. The story in Ziggy Stardust flows really well because the song writer writes it systematically.
    In other words, I think David Bowie’s voice successfully convey the Ziggy’s story to the listeners and make it lives.

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  15. Audia Dinda Prametasya
    180410120089 / Class E

    The protagonist in “Ziggy Stardust” provides relevancy to the story’s events, which can be divided into the traditional narrative arc: exposition, rising action and resolution. The first verse is the exposition of the characters of the song, Ziggy Stardust and his band. The song goes as Ziggy, the star guitarist, became the crowd-pleaser and nobody truly considered the other band members. The next three verses are the rising action, which the other members of the band got bothered after he got all the attention; as a result, they planned a scheme to bring him down. The last verse is the revolution tells that the face of the band was gone and they had to break up the band because it could not continue without him. Hence, the protagonist in “Ziggy Stardust” handles the main problem that is about enviousness, written by David Bowie’s adventurous imagination.

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  16. 180410120016 -A

    This song’s genre is rock, but it isn’t the hard one (I’m not sure enough to tell that its genre is glam rock). Ziggy Stardust is an alien rock star who comes to save the human spirit from the earth’s imminent destruction (according to ‘Rolling Stone’), a fictional character that is made by Bowie. I don’t know whether Ziggy is Bowie’s alter-ego or not, but they both play guitar.
    This song tells about Ziggy Stardust’s career. It starts at the time when Ziggy and his mates jammed and formed a band together. Then it continues to Ziggy’s life when he was on the top of his popularity. The song comes to the end when Ziggy’s band ended. This song has a strong plot that really tells the occurrences in chronological order, which is great because stories (or songs) with strong plots could ‘stick’ to their readers (or listeners) really good.

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  17. 180410120112 / F

    Ziggy is David Bowie and David Bowie is Ziggy! So it is almost clear for me, the song contains a self characterization for sure.

    To be perfectly honest, I found the song is quite random since it says the way Ziggy played his guitar with his friends Weird and Gilly who became his band crew in the beginning then about mocking someone in the middle and back to Ziggy played his guitar in the end.

    In my humble opinion, Ziggy is a totally confident one, refers to “…should we crush his sweet hands?” It is like, Ziggy is way too awesome even his hands are sweet. Bowie is complimenting himself through Ziggy’s character, I say. Somehow I also found Bowie tries to tell us about jealousy through “So we bitched about his fans…” that implies probably there were people loathe his fans because they got jealous of Ziggy back in Bowie’s time.

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    • Rizki Puji Gustian
      180410120028
      Kelas B

      If “Ziggy is David Bowie and David Bowie is Ziggy!”, who is the one who really “tries to tell us about jealousy”?
      Is that Bowie himself being jealous to himself?

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  18. aditya noor oktaviano
    180410120044/C

    After I heard the song and tried to understand about the story implied on it, I came up with two conclusions; Ziggy is an alien from Mars who wanted to be a rock’n’roll star, and Ziggy is just a well-talented musician with bad attitude. The characterization is quite unique I guess. I mean, people will wondering what or who Ziggy is? And why he can played guitar well but still doubting could he really played guitar or not. About the plot, I think it is chronological. The narrator first telling how Ziggy and the band members met, and then after some times, as the band progressing, the members found out that Ziggy cannot be cooperative well with the others, and kill him then break up the band. Put it simply, the plot is just like a story-telling.
    I really enjoyed how David Bowie sing this song and the music are perfectly fits with the lyrics and the story itself.

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  19. aditya noor oktaviano
    180410120044 / C

    After I heard the song and tried to understand about the story implied on it, I came up with two conclusions; Ziggy is an alien from Mars who wanted to be a rock’n’roll star, and Ziggy is just a well-talented musician with bad attitude. The characterization is quite unique I guess. I mean, people will wondering what or who Ziggy is? And why he can played guitar well but still doubting could he really played guitar or not. About the plot, I think it is chronological. The narrator first telling how Ziggy and the band members met, and then after some times, as the band progressing, the members found out that Ziggy cannot be cooperative well with the others, and kill him then break up the band. Put it simply, the plot is just like a story-telling.
    I really enjoyed how David Bowie sing this song and the music are perfectly fits with the lyrics and the story itself.

    Like

  20. aditya noor oktaviano
    180410120044 / C

    After I heard the song and tried to understand about the story implied on it, I came up with two conclusions; Ziggy is an alien from Mars who wanted to be a rock’n’roll star, and Ziggy is just a well-talented musician with bad attitude. The characterization is quite unique I guess. I mean, people will wondering what or who Ziggy is? And why he can played guitar well but still doubting could he really played guitar or not. About the plot, I think it is chronological. The narrator first telling how Ziggy and the band members met, and then after some times, as the band progressing, the members found out that Ziggy cannot be cooperative well with the others, and kill him then break up the band. Put it simply, the plot is just like a story-telling.
    I really enjoyed how David Bowie sing this song and the music are perfectly fits with the lyrics and the story itself. and also how he played the music, I really get the feel.

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  21. Netti Rahmawati
    180410120072
    A

    By looking at the lyric, I assume that David Bowie uses third person as the point of view in this song because it seems like there is someone else who talks about every characters. In another circumstance, that person’s existence gives a meaning that the narrator absolutely is not one of the characters. The narrator’s presence then brings up two ideas on my thought about Bowie’s role in this song; whether Bowie himself becomes the narrator who talks about his alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, or actually the narrator is his alter ego who talks about other characters including Ziggy Stardust.

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  22. Annisa Hapsari
    180410120066
    A

    I know nothing about David Bowie and his music, but what I know exactly is that Ziggy is a fictional character Bowie makes to tell about the life of a rock-star. Unfortunately, I cannot tell whose life he tries to tell, whether it is his life, or other rock-star’s. The way Bowie presents the personality of Ziggy is indirectly. That is why I judge the character based on what he does or what the narrator, which is no one but Bowie, says about Ziggy. It leads me to analyze the lyrics, such as “he played left hand, but he made it too far” tries to explain that after Ziggy gets the spotlight, he becomes full of himself. The next line says “became the special man, then we were Ziggy’s band” which shows that the over popularity of Ziggy makes his band mates looks like they are no other but a little part of Ziggy’s band. Then, I can conclude that this song more or less tells that Ziggy narcissism is the main reason of the fall of their band.

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  23. Netti Rahmawati
    180410120072
    A

    By looking at the lyric, I assume that David Bowie uses third person as the point of view in this song because it seems like there is someone else who talks about every characters. In another circumstance, that person’s existence gives a meaning that the narrator absolutely is not one of the characters. The narrator’s presence then brings up two ideas in my thought about Bowie’s role in this song; whether Bowie himself becomes the narrator who talks about his alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, or actually the narrator is Bowie’s alter ego who talks about other characters including Ziggy Stardust.

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  24. 180410120135
    Kelas G

    For me, Ziggy Stardust is a song that you cannot hear in only one time. Frankly, I need to hear this song several times before I can finally enjoy the music. It is a rock song with unique tune which at first giving an unusual impression, but when you hear it again and again, it turns out to be an enjoyable well-tuned song.
    Ziggy is a fictional character created by Bowie, in order to make him easier to write an autobiography song about himself without giving narcissism impression to the listener. Ziggy’s story in the song reflects Bowie’s story in real life. Through Ziggy, Bowie is able to say whatever he wants to say about his life without being afraid. I think it is much the same with Eminem’s Slim Shady. However, while Eminem’s Slim Shady represents the “evil” side of Eminem, Bowie’s Ziggy represents the real side of him.

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  25. Bunga Asih Insani
    180410120080/A

    Bowie brilliantly make characters and plot in one short song with explicit meaning, so people might interpret it differently. He may plays as the narrator who tells about the protagonist, Ziggy, but he is also character in the narrative since he uses first person point of view “we”.

    Bowie himself said that the song is about the ultimate rock superstar destroyed by the fanaticism he creates. Probably it describes how Ziggy’s temperament and ego ruin his own career.

    From what I see, Ziggy is a rock star who starts his band named “Spiders from Mars.” But then he declares himself as the most special man among his fellow members of the band. In the second verse, his voice becomes softened as Ziggy reaches his success. But then it changes into furious tone when he is left by his band when his popularity begins to sink, until his band break up.

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