Robert Elms Show July 4: Ziggy Played Guitar…

I do get to pick my own subjects on Robert’s show. As long as it’s likely to be intersting to his key demographic – over 35 and under 70, in other words a bit like me – I tend to get away with it. I don’t think I’ve ever come up with a theme in 3 years he didn’t like, although I usually have to wait till he’s safely on his holidays before I can use the dreaded B word. That’s the Beatles by the way.

Anyway there’s a lot around about Ziggy Stardust at the moment. It’s an incredibly important record for kids of my vintage and it was released on June 6 1972, so it’s 40 years old. A birthday worth celebrating of course but others have done a fine job already, Gary Kemp on radio and Jarvis Cocker on TV. And me earlier in the year when Bowie turned 65.

So I thought I’d do something slightly different.

One of the reasons we still discuss ‘Ziggy Stardust’ so reverentially is the seismic impact that it had on the lives of people like us of a certain age, and in particular as a result of the appearance of David Bowie and the Spiders From Mars on Top of the Pops. For 11 year olds like me, an intense interest in music started in that July moment and pop music went from the dazzling and throwaway Slade or (worse) Sweet to the dazzling and important ‘Starman’. This stuff had depth I thought. Add to it Alice Cooper’s School’s Out and Roxy Music’s Virginia Plain in consecutive months and life would never be the same

So this week I’m going to take a look at Zigy and TOTP and 2 or 3 other TV shows that may have changed the lives of their generation too.

I’ll be on with Robert tomorrow July 4th, just after the 12.30 News on BBC London 94.9FM or online at www.bbc.co.uk/london. See you there.

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