Flashback: Ziggy Stardust Commits 'Rock and Roll Suicide' at Final Gig

Watch David Bowie pull the plug on Ziggy Stardust

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David Bowie was burned out by the time his Ziggy Stardust tour hit London's Hammersmith Odeon on July 3rd, 1973. He'd been touring for a solid year with practically no breaks. During that time he went from the half-forgotten guy who sang "Space Oddity" to an international superstar. His Ziggy Stardust character was a glam rock icon, and teenagers all across the world had his poster on their walls. Bowie's manager, Tony DeFries, saw no reason to stop. He had plans to take Ziggy all over the globe in 1974, but Bowie had other plans.

With D.A. Pennebaker's cameras rolling, Bowie announced to the crowd that the tour was over. "This show will stay the longest in our memories," he told the crowd before the final encore of "Rock and Roll Suicide." "Not just because it is the end of the tour, but because it is the last show we'll ever do." 

This sent the crowd into absolute hysterics, and it was front-page news all over England the following day. Everyone interpreted the statement to mean that Bowie was retiring. He merely meant it was his final show as Ziggy Stardust, and his final time playing with the Spiders from Mars. He stuck to his word: the following June he hit the road to support Diamond Dogs with a brand new band. 

David Bowie effectively retired after a heart attack prematurely ended his 2004 tour, but this time around he hasn't said a word about the matter.