Terry O’Neill : When Ziggy Played The Marquee

Text: Daniel Rachel


​When David Bowie played The Marquee Club in October 1973, most of those who attended at this famed small venue did not realise that this would be the last performance Bowie would ever give as Ziggy Stardust.

Terry O’Neill, celebrated photographer, was given unprecedented access to document the event; a command performance for the American television program ‘Midnight Special’ and a show Bowie would name ‘The 1980 Floor Show.’ O’Neill captured Bowie and his crew backstage as they went through costume changes, and on-stage Bowie as he transformed into the character he’d soon put to rest. As O’Neill dodged television cameras and lights, he captured this significant moment in music history.

​O’Neill remembers “Bowie became a character when he performed. As much as a person takes a role in a play for the West End or on Broadway, learning the lines, putting on the costumes – this was, I think, the way he treated his stage. That night at the Marquee, I witnessed a modern-day Hamlet – and it was Ziggy Stardust”.

Award-winning author, Daniel Rachel interviews key contributors from that day, including O’Neill, Ava Cherry, Amanda Lear, Suzi Ronson and Geoff MacCormack – along with new insights and memories from fans who were in the audience who played witness to this incredible moment in music history.

​This stunning paper-over-board book with a printed case will be packaged with a clear neon acetate jacket.

Published by ACC Editions,  October 2017

Unsigned – £29.95 / Terry O’Neill Signed Edition – £60.00

Website: www.bowieatthemarquee.com

Afterword by Daniel Rachel

The 1980 Floor Show was David Bowie’s final goodbye to Ziggy Stardust. The character who had changed the world for so many, by offering an alternative to the mainstream and license to be different, was stripped of his costume by Ava Cherry and Jason Guest, and figuratively reborn as one of the Young Americans. It was a theatrical act Bowie would repeat throughout his career: inventing personas to embody new records and creating fresh characters ahead of shifts in fashion and style; and in doing so preserving the mystique of the actor behind the changing masks.

Speaking to the contributors of this book it was clearly evident the lasting impact David Bowie had made upon people’s lives. Whether it was those in the audience, like Rhoda Dakar, whose inclusion into the World of Bowie was a catalyst to making lifelong friendships, or Ken Scott, who continues to tour the world presenting the inside stories of Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Pin Ups or Aladdin Sane. Bowie’s immense connexion was felt in the tears Jayne County shed as she recalled her departed friend or Suzie Ronson whose life as a hairdresser was suddenly propelled into the glittering world of Glam Rock and the juggernaut of rock and roll’s greatest solo showman.

David Bowie died on 10 January 2016. The emotional outpouring across the world was incredible. His music, as it always had been, was played and celebrated across the globe. It was an opportunity to once again remember the stage performances and records that had changed and challenged the lives of millions of music fans. The soundtrack, as familiar as a family photograph album: Life On Mars, The Jean Genie, Heroes, Ashes To Ashes, Let’s Dance, Where Are We Now? For most of us, David Bowie was an enigma. Unparalleled in his musical and theatrical ambition.

Terry O’Neil’s book is a beautiful snapshot of one brief moment in time – a special place to re-live our love and fascination with a soul whose memory will live on forever through six decades of recorded music.

Ground Control to Major Tom / Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong / Can you hear me, Major Tom?

© Daniel Rachel