IT was the moment that sent “every glitterkid in the world” into mourning.
Live on stage at the Hammersmith Odeon on July 3, 1973, rock star David Bowie announced he was pulling the plug on live performances – his character Ziggy Stardust was no more.
It sparked a torrent of purple prose – children who had dyed their hair the colour of tomatoes like their hero, and styled their hair into the shape of lavatory brushes were advised to “wipe away their make-up and put the earring back in the trinket box”.
But the moment was captured for posterity by an amateur photographer from Hull Peter Hardy.
Now prints of the striking back-and-white images taken at the gig, which have never been seen before in public, form the centrepiece of a new exhibition opening in Hull to coincide with this year’s Freedom Festival.
Ziggy includes nine images taken by the late photographer, as well as the scrapbooks of another fan of the era, Annemarie Tickle.
In the background of one is bassist Trevor Bolder, one of the Spiders from Mars, Bowie’s influential backing band, who came from Hull, along with Mick Ronson, on lead guitar, who was also from the city. Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey, who played drums, came from Driffield.
Curator of the Museum of Club Culture, Mark Wigan, said rumours still circulated Bowie lived in Hull in the early 70s.
He said: “There hasn’t been the recognition that there should be for the Spiders from Mars.
“They had such a massive influence on rock music and punk and completely shaped the musical landscape as it is today. They left a enormous legacy and this is our tribute to them. They were probably one of the most important bands to ever come out of Hull.
“Bowie described them as his ‘yang’ because they were all Yorkshire guys who brought the hard rock aspect while he was the yin.
“The band was originally called The Rats. People have come in here and said they’d seen Mick Ronson and David walking down Whitefriargate in their silver outfits – and how shocked they were because no one dressed like that in Hull. We have even had people saying Bowie was living in Hull at the time above one of the shops on one of the estates.”
Ms Tickle, a lecturer at Hull School of Art and Design, was 14 when she went to see Ziggy Stardust in Liverpool – her mother and grandmother even queued to get tickets for her. She has a vivid recall of her outfit – button-fly, tight, teal-coloured jeans and a turquoise blouse with baggy sleeves – and her hero “so different, so androgynous and so strange”. Her friends were into David Cassidy and Donny Osmond – and she wished she had gone with a real fan, not her friend of the time “who was bewildered by it all”.
Articles from music newspapers NME, Fab 208 and Sounds, were stuck into now tatty scrapbooks, their Sellotape peeling: “I started with the scrapbooks when I saw David Bowie on Top of the Pops, something flipped in my mind and I went a bit mad – it was like nothing I had ever seen before.”
Mr Wigan and co-curator Kerry Baldry asked Mr Hardy’s sister Lorraine if they could exhibit the photographs.
He said: “Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust era was – and still is – the ultimate icon, so it’s a real coup to share these stunning photos. Peter shot them with a Minolta camera and processed them himself. It wasn’t like now when everyone holds up their mobiles and takes pictures. In one Bowie holds a position because he knows Peter is taking the picture.”
The exhibition runs until October 24.