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DAY 7: THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS

Cindy Maddera

Look, I could have plucked any and all of David Bowie’s albums for this album challenge. In forcing myself to narrow it down, I chose this one because I’m pretty sure this album was my first exposure to David Bowie. At some point while riding around in the back of Randy and Katrina’s van, while staring at the road through the rusted out hole in the floor in the back, Starman, Suffragette City and Lady Stardust floated into my ears. Good Gawd, I miss that raggedy old van and how we’d play a game of Spot and Identify the Road Carcass by sitting around that rusted out hole. Every once in a while, Katrina would look back to check on us and then yell “Scooch back from the hole! You’re too close!” We’d wiggle our little cross legged bodies back and widen our circle around the hole.

I am the kind of music listener who feels like the sound of the music is just as important as the lyrics. In fact, sometimes, the lyrics can be secondary and act as an enhancer to the sound. This is probably because off-key and out of tune notes cause me physical pain. Music makes me feel things inside my body. If the music is good, the feelings are good. I dragged Michael to a Gong Bath once. That’s where you lay on the floor in a dark room while someone plays a series of gongs. You can feel the sound vibrating through the floor. At times, the experience was very relaxing. Michael started snoring at one point. But then the drumming on the gongs grew louder and more intense. I felt my whole body tense up and my breathing became shallow. Tears leaked out my eyes. I was just about to get up and leave when they finally stopped and I breathed a sigh of deep relief. The sound was too much for my body to feel.

David Bowie’s music is enhanced by his lyrics. His music makes me feel, but his lyrics are significant. They are important.

Stone love, she kneels before the grave
A brave son, who gave his life
To save the slogans
That hovers between the headstone and her eyes
For they penetrate her grieving

This country has been involved in war since 2001. Those lyrics from Soul Love are just as relevant today as they were when Bowie recorded this song in 1972. I cannot listen to the beginning of that song without seeing my sister-in-laws face. The other night, Terry practically quoted Rock n Roll Suicide to me.

Oh no, love, you're not alone
You're watching yourself, but you're too unfair
You got your head all tangled up, but if I could only make you care
Oh no, love, you're not alone

David Bowie sang to us songs of self love before we even knew we needed them. He used sound to take us on imaginary journeys into space. Bands like the Flaming Lips and Arcade Fire would not exist as we know them now without the influence of David Bowie. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars became the base line for the music I would gravitate to and seek out.

It is the music I want when I just want to lay on the floor and listen to the sounds and feel the vibrations.