David Bowie first performed Ziggy Stardust album at Friars Aylesbury 50 years ago

A young Freddie Mercury was in the audience that night

By James Lowson
Monday, 31st January 2022, 2:38 pm
Updated Monday, 31st January 2022, 2:41 pm

This weekend (Saturday January 29), marked the 50th anniversary of David Bowie' s iconic Life on Mars performance at Friars Aylesbury.

Then just a rising star finding his feet in the musical world, Bowie came to Aylesbury to perform The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars for the first time.

Music fans at the popular Aylesbury club were there to witness history watching one of the most unique musicians of all-time first play some of his best known songs.

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Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor were in attendance to hear Bowie belt out Suffragette City, Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide, and the iconic Starman.

David Stopps, the Friars Club promoter at the time, said: "[The gig on] January 29 1972, turned out to be one of the most historic gigs in contemporary music history and anyone who was there will never forget it.

"There were so many high points, but the biggest moment for me was when Bowie played Rock 'n' Roll Suicide for the first time.

"When he was singing 'give me your hands' he reached down to the audience and held the hand of the fan [pictured].

David Bowie in 1972 (photo by Mark Putland)

"The late Michael Putland was there to capture the moment and we are so grateful to him."

Aylesbury was the first place in the world to see Bowie's Ziggy Stardust persona.

Before this gig in 1972, no-one had seen the alter ego, which would help skyrocket the talented singer into worldwide superstardom.

It was the second time Bowie had set foot in Aylesbury's famous music venue, he'd previously performed the Hunky Dory album at Friars, the year prior.

Photo by Mark Putland

Such was the grassroots lowkey nature of the music scene at the time David Stopps had to pop to a nearby restaurant to provide Bowie with a stool he could use on stage.

To mark the occasion every song from the album was played by the David Bowie statue in Aylesbury on Saturday at 2pm.

It was these early star-making gigs which helped establish Bowie's lifelong relationship with the Bucks town which holds the only Bowie statue in the world.