UK, 1972, glam rock / pop rock
David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars: For me, this is the glam rock album par excellence. Bowie, who started off as a folk singer, made the switch to rock and decided to create alter egos he could explore on stage. In later interviews, he said it was because he didn’t know himself and was searching—fair enough! We all reap the benefit of his quest for self discovery. On stage, in the 1970s, Bowie was a very different person than he was off. He became a new person as he adopted each disguise. And Ziggy is perhaps his most famous disguise: a rock-star alien doomed in his quest to save the Earth, an alien complete with orange hair, fantastic makeup, and futuristic costumes. Ziggy Stardust is musical role-playing at its finest without coming off as musical theater. The lyrics of the album create vivid images in the mind of the listener as the vocals shift from person to person within a song. The music is subtler, though it is full of vocal and instrumental hooks that make every song memorable. Ziggy is mysterious but demands attention, he is simultaneously accessible and ambiguous, and in this creation, Bowie raises role-playing to an art form.