David Bowie has been honoured with a commemorative blue plaque outside the Soho studios where he recorded Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
The plaque is one of 47 being installed around he country as part of BBC Music Day, which pays tribute to those who have shaped Britain’s musical landscape.Bowie, who died of cancer in January last year, has been honoured with three plaques: in Soho, central London; Maidstone, Kent; and Hull.The BBC Radio London presenter Robert Elms described Bowie as “one of our most shining sons”, and said it was fitting “that we should honour him here in Soho, the centre of our creative world”.Soho’s Trident Studios shut its doors in 1981, after recording some of the biggest names in music. The Bee Gees, the Rolling Stones, Queen, Lou Reed and Frank Zappa were among those who graced the hallowed studios; The Beatles recorded Hey Jude there in 1968.
The Soho plaque was one of three unveiled on Thursday in places considered pivotal to Bowie’s life and career. The Royal Star Hotel – now the Royal Star Arcade – in Maidstone, Kent, where Bowie regularly played as part of his early band the Manish Boys, was given a blue plaque, as was Hull’s Paragon station, in honour of the Spiders from Mars, Bowie’s influential backing band, who hail from the city.The Trident Studios plaque was unveiled by Billy Bragg, and Bowie’s lifelong friend, painter and designer George Underwood.Bragg said: “David Bowie was the greatest of the London boys that came out of the 60s. In 1971 he turned into something strange and curious – Ziggy Stardust. It’s great to commemorate this spot with a blue plaque, so that everyone who loves these records can gaze up in wonder at Trident Studios.” Underwood said: “I remember going in and out of Trident Studios when David was recording, as he often liked company in the studio. Knowing David he would be pleased about the plaque but he would also make a witty remark about it. I’m sure he’d be very chuffed.”
In Hull, the task fell to Spiders from Mars drummer Mick “Woody” Woodmansey, who said he was “so proud” to be unveiling the plaque in this year’s City of Culture.“The only downside is that Mick and Trevor couldn’t be standing here with me,” he said of his fellow bandmates. “We set off from Paragon station on lots of trips. I first met Mick here in 1968, I think it was. We hit it off, we formed a band, and … Bowie was smart enough to pick three lads from Hull to help him create what’s become one of his most iconic periods of music.”