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You Magazine: Where Were You When

July 16th, 2019

Where Were You When: Ziggy Stardust made his TV debut

David Bowie’s performance of ‘Starman’ was out of this world, recalls singer Toyah Willcox.

I was born in Birmingham in 1958. My life was quite conventional by today’s standards: I went to an all-girls school, ate with my family twice a day at a dining table and wasn’t allowed to speak unless spoken to. Men led the households and were affectionately known as ‘blokes’.

Then the singer Marc Bolan came along with T Rex in 1970, strutting his stuff to ‘Ride a White Swan’. He was clearly in touch with his feminine side but was very palatable to look at. While my brother scoffed at Bolan’s satin trousers, I sneaked off from school to see him on stage – and fell in love with rock ’n’ roll.

My adolescence was completely normal until an afternoon in June 1972, when I was 14. After coming back from school, I turned on the TV to see who was singing on Lift Off With Ayshea, a music show on ITV. I was expecting Slade, Bolan, Dana, maybe Val Doonican – but instead, there was David Bowie singing ‘Starman’, in his television debut as Ziggy Stardust. It derailed me completely.

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