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50th Anniversary: When Ziggy played at The Marquee

50th Anniversary: When Ziggy played at The Marquee

"I was lucky enough to receive the call to come to the Marquee, and I was smart enough to say yes. If I had to name the most talented, enigmatic, and audacious star I ever photographed, it would have to be him" – Terry O’Neill

The 19th October marks the 50th anniversary of when Ziggy played at the Marquee. 


Terry O’Neill, by then a celebrated photographer known for his images of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, was given unprecedented access to document the event, a masterful performance for the television program ‘Midnight Special’ and a show Bowie would name ‘The 1980 Floor Show’, a pun on 1984.

Over four decades later, the award-winning music writer Daniel Rachel would interview key players from that day, including Ava Cherry, Amanda Lear, Suzi Ronson, Jayne County, Ken Scott, Geoff MacCormack, and O’Neill himself. The result was a book – When Ziggy Played the Marquee – containing remarkable never-before-seen imagery of the event, alongside new insights and old memories from backstage staff and audience members, all witnesses to this inspirational night in the career of a chameleonic music God.


When David Bowie played the small Soho venue The Marquee Club in October 1973, most of those in attendance were unaware that it would be the last time he would perform as Ziggy Stardust. 


Bowie became a character when he performed,” the photographer recalled. “As much as a person takes a role in a play for the West End or on Broadway, learning the lines, putting on the costumes – this was, I think, the way he treated his stage. That night at the Marquee, I witnessed a modern-day Hamlet – and his name was Ziggy Stardust.’


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