Week in Review: Revisiting David Bowie's Ascent to Stardom as Ziggy Stardust

Also: Behind the scenes of upcoming records by Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer, the National, Best Coast and more

January 20, 2012 5:25 PM ET
david bowie ziggy stardust
David Bowie performs during his Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane tour in London.
Michael Putland/Getty Images

In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, Mikal Gilmore looks back on David Bowie's incredible rise to superstardom as Ziggy Stardust and his subsequent career as rock's greatest changeling. In an excerpt from the story, Gilmore details how a conflict with Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page had the singer heading off to Los Angeles to study occult texts while subsisting on a diet of peppers, milk and cocaine.

Photos: David Bowie Through the Years

We also went behind the scenes of forthcoming albums by Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer, the Mountain Goats, the National and Best Coast, and talked to Common about his ongoing beef with Drake. Plus, we looked at how 10 top songwriters make their money, listed Jack White's greatest collaborations, reviewed live gigs by Springsteen and Rick Ross, analyzed this week's charts and looked back on this week in rock history.

Photos: Remembering Etta James

In pop culture, Peter Travers praised Gina Carano's performance in the new action flick Haywire, we panned Ricky Gervais' performance as host of the Golden Globes, Aziz Ansari told us about his introspective new standup show and we recapped the season premiere of American Idol along with fresh episodes of Glee and Jersey Shore.

Photos: Random Notes

Our Weekend Rock Question for you this week is: Who is the most unique singer of all time? You can answer on our website, at facebook.com/rollingstone or on Twitter using the #weekendrock hashtag.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories


Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

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