David Bowie’s breakthrough album, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, was released in the UK on 16 June 1972.
The album sold 8,000 copies in its first week, and the following week entered the top ten.
Its success was bolstered further by a performance of Starman on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops, which was broadcast on 6 July.
The Top Of The Pops performance catapulted Bowie into primetime, making him a household name and converting a legion of new fans. The single peaked at number 10 in the charts, and helped the Ziggy album reach number five.
The Starman performance made a deep impression on a number of viewers who would later become famous musicians, each of whom owed a degree of debt to Bowie. They included Boy George, Adam Ant, Mick Jones of the Clash, Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp, and Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen.
The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars spent two years on the UK charts. By the end of 1972 it had sold 95,968 copies in Britain, and was certified gold shortly afterwards. It peaked at number five on the UK charts in February 1973.
It returned to the UK chart in January 1981, during the New Romantic movement and in the wake of the success of ‘Ashes To Ashes’.
Also on this day...
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.