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Lady Stardust

Lady Stardust has not been seen in 194 Phish shows.
It was last played: 2016-10-31.
It was played at 0.05% of live shows.
It has been performed live 1 time(s).

Music/Lyrics: David Bowie

Original Artist: David Bowie

Original Album: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)

Vocals: Page

Debut: 2016-10-31

Historian: zzyzx

When David Bowie died in 2016, the outcry was much stronger than that for the passing of a usual celebrity. The reason for that is that Bowie represented something more than a musician and an actor. His works spoke to those who stand on the outside of society, feeling somewhat alien to the roles that they were supposed to play. There’s a reason why the image most people have of David Bowie is of an alien; he sang about the society but never felt like he was in it.



In the case of “Lady Stardust,” Bowie sings about a musician at odds with traditional gender roles. Lady Stardust is actually a boy, one who wears makeup, has long hair, and dresses in bright colors. He was destined to be considered a freak, until that moment happened when he jumped on the stage. Then his gender didn’t matter. The songs might have been of darkness and dismay, but they moved people in a way that only music can. Mockery morphed first into stunned bewilderment and then desire to know who this person is. While seemingly about Lady Stardust’s music, this is a song about acceptance, showing how and why someone stops being considered mockable and instead becomes a full fledged person. If you want to know why Bowie was a hero to so many, this song is a perfect place to start.



Of course none of that works if the tune is just a polemic. The strength of Bowie is that he writes that narrative in a form of a brilliant melody with an infectious chorus. One can believe Lady Stardust’s song is that powerful because “Lady Stardust” is. Maybe the song didn’t go on forever, but Page’s singing of that chorus can make us wish that it would.  



While this song would have been enjoyable at any time, one of the major political conflicts of 2016 was about the rights of transgender people. The election of Donald Trump - and the subsequent fear from that community - a week after this was performed gives a song about accepting someone with a fluid gender identity an extra resonance. Between the sudden timeliness of its message and that this was one of the few songs performed from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars that has no backing musicians or singers, “Lady Stardust” is a prime candidate to stick around. That would be awful nice, really quite paradise. 



Watch Lady Stardust on YouTube David Bowie -- “Lady Stardust”


Lyrics:

(Bowie)
© Tintoretto Music (BMI)

People stared at the makeup on his face
Laughed at his long black hair, his animal grace
The boy in the bright blue jeans
Jumped up on the stage
And lady stardust sang his songs
Of darkness and disgrace

And he was alright, the band was altogether
Yes he was alright, the song went on forever
And he was awful nice
Really quite out of sight
And he sang all night long

Femme fatales emerged from shadows
To watch this creature fair
Boys stood upon their chairs
To make their point of view
I smiled sadly for a love
I could not obey
Lady stardust sang his songs
Of darkness and dismay

And he was alright, the band was altogether
Yes he was alright, the song went on forever
And he was awful nice
Really quite paradise
And he sang all night long
All night long

Oh how I sighed when they asked if I knew his name
And he was alright, the band was altogether
Yes he was alright, the song went on forever
And he was awful nice
Really quite out of sight
He sang all night long

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