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The Spiders from Mars

Spiders from Mars
GenresRock, glam rock, hard rock
Years active1970–1973, 1975–1976
LabelsCastle Music Ltd.
Associated actsDavid Bowie
Past membersMick Ronson
Trevor Bolder
Mick Woodmansey
Mike Garson
Dave Black
Pete McDonald

The Spiders from Mars were rock singer David Bowie's backing band in the early 1970s, and initially consisted of Mick Ronson on guitars, Trevor Bolder on bass guitar, and Mick Woodmansey on drums.[1]

The group had its origins in Bowie's earlier backing outfit the Hype, which featured Ronson and Woodmansey, but Tony Visconti on bass. They were briefly signed as a band on its own, known as Ronno. With Bolder taking over bass, they were subsequently named via the landmark 1972 Bowie concept album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and were billed as such on the accompanying large-scale Ziggy Stardust Tour. Bowie had originally wanted session musician and Strawbs keyboardist Rick Wakeman to join the band, Wakeman had played piano on Bowie's second album and on Hunky Dory; Wakeman refused and instead joined progressive rock band Yes.[2] Wakeman would feature uncredited on the album, and would collaborate with Bowie again on Absolute Beginners. They were present again on Bowie's 1973 album, Aladdin Sane. Another leg of the tour followed that year, with the final show captured in the film, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.[3]

The group joined Bowie's stage persona, Ziggy Stardust in the theatrical style of the material's presentation. Ronson's guitar and arranging during the Spiders from Mars era not only fit into this style, but also provided much of the underpinning for later punk rock musicians.[4]

In 1975, Bolder and Woodmansey reformed the band without Ronson, and were joined in this lineup by Mike Garson, Dave Black, and Pete McDonald. Their self-titled album, released in 1976, was their only album before the group disbanded.

The name came from the UFO sighting on 27th October 1954, where a stadium crowd thought they had witnessed Martian spacecraft, which turned out to be migrating spiders, and not from the Martian areographic features often labelled as 'spiders' and 'baby spiders.'[5]


  1. ^ Buckley, David (2005). Strange Fascination: David Bowie, the Definitive Story. London: Virgin. ISBN 9780753510025.
  2. ^ "BBC Four - Prog Rock Britannia: An Observation in Three Movements". BBC. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  3. ^ Carr, Roy; Murray, Charles Sharr (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record. New York: Avon. ISBN 9780380779666.
  4. ^ Steve Taylor (29 August 2006). A to X of Alternative Music - Google Books. p. 45. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  5. ^ Sandford, Christopher (1997). Bowie: Loving the Alien. New York: Time Warner. ISBN 9780306808548.

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