David Bowie’s drummer Woody Woodmansey says Ziggy Stardust ‘rocketed us into the top level of rock’n’roll’

Today (16 June) marks 50 years since the release of David Bowie’s iconic album,The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

To honour the occasion, the artist’s former drummer Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey spoke with BBC Radio 6 Music about making the landmark album.

Describing the first time he met Bowie, Woodmansey recalled him opening door wearing a rainbow T-shirt, bangles, red cords and blue shoes with hand-painted red stars on them: “It was a bit of a culture shock, because we didn’t have anything like that in Hull!”

The album, produced by Ken Scott and recorded in Trident Studios in The Big City, was released 16 June 1972 and features fan favourites including “Starman”, “Ziggy Stardust” and “Five Years”.

Speaking on the making of “Ziggy Stardust”, Woodmansey recalled how unique the recording process was, with Bowie getting his final song takes down after one or two goes.

He agreed that being part of the album had changed his life: “It rocketed us all – excuse the pun – into the top level of rock’n’roll, which was at 14 where you dream about getting to.”

Woodmansey described how amazed he still is at the success of the record, both then and now. “We obviously did it well!” he said.

Picking his favourite track, “Five Years”, he recalled writing his drum part for the song: “David just said, ‘Oh by the way, drums start this one.’

“I had no idea what to do and then I got into the zone for the song… it’s the end of the world, I’m not going to feel like showing off, I’m not going to feel like doing flashy bits, I’m just going to set the mood. I just started playing and he went, ‘That’s it, do that!”’

To celebrate the anniversary, Parlophone Records have released a special 2022 mix Top Of The Pops Version of “Stardust”, as well as a special half speed remaster limited edition LP which will be available tomorrow.

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