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Ricky Gardiner

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Ricky Gardiner
Born (1948-08-31) 31 August 1948 (age 71)
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
GenresPunk rock, rock and roll, progressive rock
Occupation(s)Guitarist, composer
Associated actsIggy Pop, David Bowie

Ricky Gardiner (born 31 August 1948, Edinburgh, Scotland) is a guitarist and composer.

Gardiner was educated at Craigmount School[dubious ] in the Borders of Scotland and later Eastwood School, Glasgow. He joined his first school band the Vostoks in 1962. Next there were the Kingbees and the System with whom he formed Beggars Opera in 1969.

He has played in his own outfit, Beggars Opera, and also with David Bowie and Iggy Pop. For Bowie he played lead guitar on the 1977 album Low.[1] He worked with Pop on Lust for Life the same year. The album included "The Passenger", regarded as one of Pop's best songs,[2] for which Gardiner composed the music. Bowie biographer David Buckley described it as being "possessed with one of the greatest riffs of all time".[3]

On 19 October 1977 Gardiner was selected by Tony Visconti to play guitar for the pre-recorded backing of Bowie's performance on Heroes on the BBC's Top of the Pops.[4] The recording was made at Good Earth Studios in Soho with Bowie, Visconti and pianist Sean Mayes. Gardiner emulated Robert Fripp's guitar sound by using feedback as he hadn't realised an EBow had been used; "I was asked to reproduce Robert Fripp’s line," he told Stephen Dalton in 2001. "I did not realise at the time that he [Fripp] had used an E Bow. I did my best using feedback alone. As we went through the song, my amplifier started dying. As the song finished, so did the amp."

Since the 1970s Gardiner has played and composed in a variety of styles, including ambient, classical and rock

In 2017 photographs Gardiner[5] took at the Chateau d'Heroville during the making of David Bowie's Low album in 1977 were included in hardcover book that accompanied the vinyl and CD box set of David Bowie A New Career in a New Town [1977-1982] alongside photographs by Anton Corbijn, Helmut Newton, Andrew Kent, Steve Schapiro, Duffy and more.

Gardiner claims he suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, believed by him to have been contracted through exposure to high levels of computer radiation and magnetic fields.


  1. ^ Goldring, Susie (18 April 2007). "David Bowie - Low". Classic Pop/Rock Review. BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  2. ^ Carr, Roy; Murray, Charles Shaar (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record. New York / London: Avon / Eel Pie Publishing. p. 118. ISBN 0-380-77966-8. OCLC 7862636.
  3. ^ Buckley, David (1999). Strange fascination: David Bowie: the definitive story. London: Virgin Books. p. 318. ISBN 978-1-85227-784-0. OCLC 43757665.
  4. ^ "David Bowie – "Heroes" – Top of the Pops, 1977 – (Nacho version)". David Bowie News | Celebrating the Genius of David Bowie. 19 October 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  5. ^ "Behind the scenes photos by Ricky Gardiner at Château d'Hérouville recording David Bowie's Low album". David Bowie News | Celebrating the Genius of David Bowie. 9 May 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2019.

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