David Bowie flew from London to New York on 9 June 1972, accompanied by his guitarist Mick Ronson and manager Tony Defries.
It was to promote the albums Hunky Dory and The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.
Upon their arrival in New York City they were driven to Madison Square Garden, where Elvis Presley was performing. They arrived partway through the show, with Bowie’s glam rock image causing ripples in the crowd.
I came over for a long weekend. I remember coming straight from the airport and walking into Madison Square Garden very late. I was wearing all my clobber from the Ziggy period and I had great seats near the front. The whole place just turned to look at me and I felt like a right cunt. I had brilliant red hair, some huge padded space suit and those red boots with big black soles. I wished I’d gone for something quiet, because I must have registered with him. He was well into his set.
Q magazine, February 1997
As well as sharing a birthday, 8 January, Bowie and Presley were both signed to the record label RCA.
David came back to New York in June 1972 to see Elvis at Madison Square Garden, which was the last time David flew. He was suddenly Ziggy Stardust. He didn’t look like the same person. He’d been working pretty much nonstop from January to June, doing gigs in England. He was more tense, and wasn’t really quite the same person, because I think he was really beginning to rev up. They were making plans to come to the US that fall, which is when Tony Defries created MainMan properly, and that’s when it became formal that I was working for them. It was more like Angie saying, ‘Oh darling, we’re going on tour in the fall, and you must come with us.’ It didn’t make any sense, because I wasn’t a guitar player, but then things started happening really fast. I had $5,000 that I could tap, finding an apartment for Tony, buying clothes for David and Angie, passing out photos of David. You couldn’t focus, you didn’t know where to look. It was bizarre, like a three-ring circus. It was kinda awful, not focused. It was distracting. Suddenly it was the Ziggy circus, and the next stop was America.
David Bowie: A Life, Dylan Jones
Bowie stayed at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel while in New York. After the Elvis show he was interviewed in his suite by reporter Lillian Roxon.
The New York trip came to an end on 12 June 1972.
Also on this day...
- 2000: Glastonbury 2000 diary – part seven
- 1974: Rehearsal: Capitol Theatre, New York
- 1973: Live: Guild Hall, Preston
- 1971: Television: Top Of The Pops
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.