3. David Bowie – The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars

Ziggy Stardust might be the most recognizable fictional character in all rock music, and that crystallized identity gives the opera its iconic status. Unlike many icons of yore, however, Ziggy Stardust’s critical acclaim holds today. Bowie’s fascination with the cult of personality rings truer in the age of reality TV.

The inherent dichotomy of Ziggy’s character shows in how diverse the Spiders From Mars were as a backing band. No two songs sound the same or deal with the exact same notions — the whole thing seems so ADD as to be prophetic.

Ziggy Stardust’s nervous energy informed future innovators such as the Talking Heads and Radiohead, and countless modern up-and-comers by extension. The mood of the album teeters between swagger and utter paranoia, e.g., glam rave-up “Suffragette City” gives way to brooding closer “Rock N’ Roll Suicide.”

Ziggy has yet to be brought to the stage, or screen for that matter (Velvet Goldmine doesn’t count, and the Ziggy film is just a concert documentary), but his costumes and makeup are iconic to this day, and the plot is vague enough that the album would make an easy adaptation providing the casting director could find an actor to match Bowie’s charisma.

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