Ah, yes, the curse of the artful. Many artists have a hard time with accepting their work, and often, they wish they had done something different in a melody or a song. This doesn’t just reflect the minds of the artists who wish to make it, but it also is true for those who have already created wonderful works.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the seminal David Bowie album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”, one of glam rock’s greatest landmarks.
After the critical acclaim but underwhelming commercial performance of the 1971 art rock masterpiece “Hunky Dory”, Bowie’s breakthrough album came the following year, maturing his stage persona with inspiration from Iggy Pop and the Velvet Underground.
Hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time, “Ziggy Stardust”‘s outstanding songwriting is anchored on Mick Ronson’s excellent guitar work, and is brought to life by Ken Scott’s pristine production.
Ken Scott is known for his engineering work with The Beatles, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck, and many more, Scott also built an impressive catalog as a producer, being responsible for noteworthy albums of acts like Devo, Dixie Dregs, and Supertramp.
In a new interview with Guitar World, Scott looked back on the sessions that would lead to two of Bowie’s most iconic works:
He states: “The whole ‘Ziggy’ thing was strange. The time that my feelings about David as a talent really increased was when he, his wife, and his publisher came to my house and we started going through tapes of demos for our first album together. It became obvious that there was much more to him than I’d seen from the first two albums.”
Ken wanted to dive deeply into this persona with David Bowie, so he did just that.
Ken continues: “I heard a lot of material and we narrowed it down to what became ‘Hunky Dory’. I may have also heard some of the ‘Ziggy’ stuff at that time, but I don’t remember. The thing is that we went on to ‘Ziggy’ so quickly after ‘Hunky Dory’, maybe a matter of weeks, so there was no time to listen to the material. A lot of the time David just came into the studio, talked the band through the song, played it on an acoustic guitar, and then they went for it.”
When reflecting on the record, Ken is at a crossroads.
He said: “Some days I love it, some days I hate it and I want to change the sounds on everything. I think with hindsight there are a lot of things I’d like to change, but I certainly wouldn’t ever want to change any of David’s performances. Same with Ronno’s [Mick Ronson] parts. I think, looking back, the drum sound is the main thing I’d change.”
Thank you to Ultimate Guitar.