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David Bowie’s pianist recalls the end of Ziggy Stardust on 50th anniversary of final show

Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

July 3 marks the 50th anniversary of David Bowie’s final performance as Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, and his pianist Mike Garson says that while fans may not have been ready to say goodbye to the character, Bowie certainly was.

In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Garson, a member of Bowie’s then-backing band at the time, The Spiders From Mars, says Ziggy was exactly what Bowie needed because he was able to “hide behind this character,” which helped with his nerves.  However, Garson says he stayed in the character “a little too long.”

“Yes, this show and this persona could have gone on for six months to a year longer than it did, but he cut it short at the Hammersmith in ‘73 because he’d had enough of it,” he says. “Fans didn’t get enough of it, because it was just warming up. But he knew it would screw him up if he stayed in it any longer. So, he dropped it.”

Garson, who continued to play with Bowie after the Ziggy era, says “part of me was happy” Ziggy came to an end “because I was bored,” but he notes he did miss his bandmates. 

 “This guy couldn’t help himself. He had to move on and move on and move on,” he says of Bowie. “He was always that way. He was impatient, because he couldn’t help wanting to create the next thing… He was the Miles Davis of the rock world, in that he had to change styles every few years.”

The 50th anniversary of Bowie’s final performance as Ziggy Stardust is being celebrated with screenings of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars: The Motion Picture in theaters across the country throughout July. Tickets are on sale now.

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