A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
Is this one of the Greatest Rock Albums of All Time? Unquestionably. It’s the pinnacle of Glam Rock. Every track is superb; not a moment is less than stellar from beginning to end.
Is it Bowie’s Masterpiece? Absolutely. No other Bowie record ranks higher in my book. No other Bowie record would command a similar price, regardless of its sonic merits.
Is it amazingly well recorded? You better believe it. This is not just Bowie’s masterpiece; it’s Ken Scott’s as well. For BIG, BOLD, wall to wall, floor to ceiling sound, look no further.
Ken Scott engineered this record and he did his usual amazingly good job. The guitars may not sound “real”, they way they actually do in real life, but they sure sound GOOD! Lots of rich, sweet tubey magic, the sound we love here at Better Records.
(Mobile Fidelity did a decent job on this title but the colorations and the limitations of their cutting system make it painful for me to listen to, especially the sloppy bass. You can do worse but you sure can do a lot better.)
I’ve taken the liberty of paraphrasing the commentary for a White Hote Tea for the Tillerman below, since so much of what makes that album unique holds true for this one as well. Is Tea for the Tillerman a better album than Ziggy Stardust? I don’t think so. As good, yes, but not better. Ziggy is as good as it gets.
You may remember one of the comments we made about the Hot Stamper Bookends in which we said we felt as though we had threaded up the master tape and hit play — that’s how unbelievably correct and REAL the sound was. Well, we spoke too soon. THIS record is the record that sounds like you’ve threaded up the master tape. I’ve been playing this album for more than thirty years and I can tell you I have never heard ANYTHING like it.
Just drop the needle on any song. Guaranteed you will never hear that song sound better. The mastering is beyond perfection. There’s really no “mastering” to listen for — all you’re really aware of is the music flowing from the speakers, freed from all the limitations that you’ve learned to accept.
There’s no need to go track by track trying to explain why this copy is the Ultimate Ziggy. One drop of the needle will tell you everything you’ll ever need to know. All doubts will be erased within moments. We played this copy against our former top pressings and again and again, no matter what track we played, the sound here was clearly superior.
To say that this fairly quiet amazing sounding Ziggy is rare is an unbelievable understatement. I would say that it’s very unlikely that another copy this good will come my way in the next five years. I may NEVER hear one that sounds like this again. If this record is as meaningful for you as it is for me, I think you will quickly appreciate that it’s worth every penny of its price. All you have to do is drop the needle. All questions will be answered and all mysteries will be revealed.
Owning this White Hot Stamper is a PRIVILEGE that affords the listener insight into David Bowie that simply is not possible any other way. The emotional power of these songs is communicated so completely through this copy that the experience will be like hearing it for the first time.
This is, I hope it goes without saying, one of the greatest rock records of all time, music that belongs in any collection. I’ve been playing this album for 30 years and I can honestly say I’ve never once been tired of hearing it. I get tired of hearing bad copies.
Soul Love Track Commentary
Just listen to those cymbal crashes! Never heard them sound like that.
It Ain’t Easy
Lady Stardust Track Commentary
The piano is recorded superbly; it’s the perfect balance of power and delicacy, not just on this track but throughout the album.
Hang on to Yourself
Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
Borrowing heavily from Marc Bolan’s glam rock and the future shock of A Clockwork Orange, David Bowie reached back to the heavy rock of The Man Who Sold the World for The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Constructed as a loose concept album about an androgynous alien rock star named Ziggy Stardust, the story falls apart quickly, yet Bowie’s fractured, paranoid lyrics are evocative of a decadent, decaying future, and the music echoes an apocalyptic, nuclear dread. Fleshing out the off-kilter metallic mix with fatter guitars, genuine pop songs, string sections, keyboards, and a cinematic flourish, Ziggy Stardust is a glitzy array of riffs, hooks, melodrama, and style and the logical culmination of glam. Mick Ronson plays with a maverick flair that invigorates rockers like “Suffragette City,” “Moonage Daydream,” and “Hang Onto Yourself,” while “Lady Stardust,” “Five Years,” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” have a grand sense of staged drama previously unheard of in rock & roll. And that self-conscious sense of theater is part of the reason why Ziggy Stardust sounds so foreign. Bowie succeeds not in spite of his pretensions but because of them, and Ziggy Stardust — familiar in structure, but alien in performance — is the first time his vision and execution met in such a grand, sweeping fashion.