After the Ziggy Stardust tour
Planning for Pinups began almost immediately after David Bowie’s final Ziggy Stardust concert at London’s Hammersmith Odeon on Tuesday 3 July 1973. An aftershow party was held at the Cafe Royal in Piccadilly, attended by celebrities including Paul and Linda McCartney, Ringo Starr, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Keith Moon, Lou Reed, Jeff Beck, Britt Ekland, Spike Milligan, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.
Bowie’s drummer Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey was upset and angry at Bowie’s decision not to give them advance warning that the band was finished, and refused to attend the party. Bass guitarist Trevor Bolder was there, however, as was another drummer, Aynsley Dunbar, who would play on the Pinups sessions. Also at the party was singer Lulu, with whom Bowie was planning an as-yet-unspecified collaboration.
About 48 hours later, I’m sitting there thinking, ‘What have I said? I don’t think I really meant that at all. I’m feeling better already.’ But too late. I know I really pissed off Woody and Trevor. They were so angry, I think, because I hadn’t really told them that I was splitting the band up. But that’s what Ziggy did, so I had to do it too.
In the days after the final Ziggy Stardust concert David Bowie stayed at London’s Hyde Park Hotel, as did Mick Ronson. Together they began to formulate ideas for the new album.
Bowie had decided that Pinups should contain cover versions of songs from the heyday of London’s 1960s mod era. At the hotel he went through a stack of records to decide which ones would be recorded for the album. He was assisted in the planning by a friend of Iggy Pop, singer Scott Richardson, with whom Angie Bowie had recently had an affair in America.
Another visitor to the hotel was Lulu. After considering “quite a few tracks,” she and Bowie decided to record a new version of his song ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ with Lulu on vocals.
I met with David a couple of days after the show at a hotel in Kensington to see if we could sort out any of the legal stuff that was starting to boil up. The lawsuits hadn’t started at that point but the threat of them had been very serious, so I was trying to find a middle ground with David, although it’s more than likely he had no idea of what was going on anyway. I had been advised not to do the record because MainMan weren’t paying us, but I really enjoyed working with him, and let’s face it, David was huge at that point.
Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust
Bowie, burnt by the pressures of fame and a burgeoning cocaine habit, had struggled to separate his own personality from that of his creation, Ziggy Stardust. The singer’s increasing megalomania became a source of friction during the later months touring with the Spiders From Mars, as did disagreements over the varying amounts paid to his backing musicians.
Two days after the final concert, Mick Woodmansey married his partner June at Bridlington Register Office. A second ceremony was held on 7 July in Sussex. It was presided over by the band’s pianist Mike Garson as an official of the Church of Scientology, to which Woodmansey had recently converted.
Although invited, Bowie and Mick Ronson did not turn up; Ronson had agreed to be Woodmansey’s best man. In the event, Trevor Bolder stepped in to replace him. Shortly afterwards, Woodmansey received a telephone call from Bowie’s manager, Tony Defries, which changed his life.
I got the call about an hour and a half after the wedding ceremony, while I was getting changed at the house of a friend of myself and Mick. I assumed it was someone phoning to say congratulations. But, no, it was Tony Defries, who said, ‘I’m calling to tell you that you won’t be going to France to record the Pinups album.’
Spider From Mars: My Life With Bowie
Bowie and Ronson were with Defries, but both refused to speak to Woodmansey. Bolder, who had been retained for the recording sessions, was angered by the drummer’s mistreatment and confronted Bowie.
‘That was fucking disgusting what you did to Woody at his wedding. How could you do that?’ he said to Bowie.
‘If you don’t like it,’ Bowie replied, ‘you can fuck off as well. I’ll easily get another bass player.’
Spider From Mars: My Life With Bowie
Bolder was placated by Ronson, and the sessions were able to proceed, albeit with a dark cloud hanging over them.