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Mick Ronson by Weird and Gily

From: A Lad Insane
Category: Books
Date: 28 August 2003


'The Rise and Fall of Bernie Gripplestone and the Rats from Hull'.It's funny that back in 1967 this title was used for a new song by the group The Rat's. The Title of the song was named by John Cambridge. Five Years later 'The Rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' enters the charts. I wonder if Bowie just robbed the title from John without giving him credit. But Mainman Bowie's management screwed everyone - it's history.

Mick Ronson was born in 1946 in Hull a North-East shipping port. Well known in the 80's for exports such as The Housemartins, Fine Young Cannibals and Everything But the Girl (which the duo got the name from a Hull clothes shop!). Hull is grime at most times - I know, I was there for three years in the mid 1990's.

Ronson was a dedicated guitarist and one of the best in the business, a great craftsman who got Bowie the music for most of his songs. Possibly without Ronson Bowie wouldn't have been starman that most people know today?

Bowie visited Ronson in a fish and Chip shop in Hull (now closed down)and asked him to be in his new band. In 1969 Ronson played on the second Bowie Lp 'Bowie', with songs such as 'Washed and Slightly Dazed' and 'A Memory of a Free Festival' which was released as a single. In 1970 they played John Peels radio show with new tracks which would later go on to four albums from 'Hunky Dory','The Man Who Sold The World' 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust' and 'Aladdin Zane.

So The Rats from Hull became the Spiders from Mars. Bowie was in flight and the Oddity machine get turning with the help from Bowie's otherhalf. Mainman pumped them with cocaine and Bowie was loving the Alien with lots of hangers on. Ronson really went into the studio with guts and made the Bowie albums upto Aladdin Zane fantastic! If you hear his guitar playing on 'The Width of the Cirle' there's so much depth.

But all things come to an end, Mainman decided Bowie should go it alone. The concerts were expensive and Bowie was in a state of ill health. After Aladdin Zane tour the band finshed their last gig in London. Bowie declared he was retiring infront of the Spiders and the rest was history.

Weird and Gilly's book is an excellent read throughout Ronson's career. I would say the most interesting part is of course the history of the rise to fame. The aftermath takes some beating but all great rockers have only fifteen minutes of fame actually.

'The Spider with Platinum Hair'is a book for music nerds and Bowie fans. A good day out to Hull and you will see the Ronson Memorial Park near The University of Humberside in the town centre. Just ask the a local everyone used to know Mick.

To All The Madmen.

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