Ziggy Stardust was laid to rest on this day in 1973

Ray Charles, Fred McDowell and Parliament all get love Today in Rock History.

click to enlarge Ziggy Stardust was laid to rest on this day in 1973
Paul Hudson (CC BY 2.0)

Today in rock history: On this date in 1973, Ziggy played guitar for the last time. At a concert at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, and after 182 performances portraying the fictional rock star Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie, the performer announced that this concert would be the last time he’d ever perform. Coming as a surprise to his band, The Spiders From Mars, as well as to his devoted followers in the audience, it was believed that Bowie would no longer continue performing when, in actuality, it was Ziggy who’d no longer appear on a concert stage. Only Mick Ronson, Bowie’s dynamic lead guitarist, knew of the abrupt announcement Bowie was to make at this show which marked the end of a musical chapter in his career. The concert was captured on film and was released as a major motion picture —Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars — which was directed by renowned documentarian, D.A. Pennebaker. The concert was also released as a 2-LP set that captured this historic performance. Bowie would, of course, continue to perform and record new music but, 45 years ago today, Ziggy was laid to rest.

Today in rock history: On this date in 1957, legendary singer, songwriter an pianist Ray Charles released his very first full-length album on the Atlantic Records label. The self-titled release contained songs  like “Drown in My Own Tears,” “I Got a Woman” and “Mess Around” which had been prior hit singles for Charles. The album was re-released with a totally different front cover and a new title, Hallelujah I Love Her So, in 1962 after Charles had become a much more popular recording artist. Charles would go on to release 55 full-length albums and over 120 singles throughout his career right up until his death in 2004 at the age of 73.

Today in rock history: On this date in 1972, blues legend Mississippi Fred McDowell passed away at the age of 66 due to cancer. The renowned and well-respected artist was the man who coached and mentored blues/pop singer Bonnie Raitt on playing the slide guitar. McDowell influenced a great number of blues artists and rock and roll bands throughout his career. The Rolling Stones covered one of McDowell’s songs, “You Gotta Move” on their classic 1971 album Sticky Fingers. Mississippi Fred began playing guitar at the age of 14 and made a living as a farmer while playing guitar for tips at dances in his early days before become a full time musician. Recorded and brought to prominence by archivist Alan Lomax in the late 1950s, McDowell became well-known enough to play music festivals and clubs and is still regarded as a giant in the world of blues music.

Today in rock history: On this date in 1974, legendary funk band Parliament released its second album, Up For The Down Stroke. The album marked the band’s first release on the Casablanca Records label, where they’d release several hit albums throughout the 1970s. Rising out of the ashes of the band’s prior incarnation, R&B outfit The Parliaments, the newer, more modern sounding version led by George Clinton became the leaders of the funk movement thanks to far out costumes and its infectious and danceable songs. The album’s title track was the band’s first charting single and began a long line of hits Parliament would score on pop and R&B singles charts. This unstoppable band featured a dynamite lineup at the time that featured bassist Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell on keyboards and superb guitarist Eddie Hazel.

About The Author

Gabe Echazabal

I was born on a Sunday Morning.I soon received The Gift of loving music.Through music, I Found A Reason for living.It was when I discovered rock and roll that I Was Beginning To See The Light.Because through music, I'm Set Free.It's always helped me keep my Head Held High.When I started dancing to that fine, fine...
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