Test your 1970s Bowie knowledge with our 'Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust' lyrics quiz

(Image credit: David Bowie/RCA Records)

Readers of our recent feature explaining how to listen to David Bowie in chronological order may only have just arrived at the seminal 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. It quickly became one of our soon-to-be-christened Aladdin Sane's most memorable works though; if your head's been turned by music at all since '72, you've heard it countless times. 

While the album didn't make our recent 10 of the best 1970s albums to test your speakers roundup, if we were to compile a '10 of the best 1970s albums to test your lyrics knowledge' opus, Ziggy would doubtless be top of the pile.

In 2008, Bowie told the Daily Mail about his use of the cut-up technique when writing lyrics: "You write down a paragraph or two describing several different subjects, creating a kind of 'story ingredients' list, I suppose, and then cut the sentences into four or five-word sections; mix ’em up and reconnect them. You can get some pretty interesting idea combinations like this. You can use them as is or, if you have a craven need to not lose control, bounce off these ideas and write whole new sections."

And so it was with Ziggy Stardust, the ninth track (or track four, side two) of the album. And that's partially why this clickable lyrics-finishing quiz isn't easy... 

But what if you know all of this? What if you're ready to put your extensive knowledge of the album's occasionally erratic and consistently wonderful lyrics to task? Well, simply hit play below, music fans. It's multiple choice – just click on a word to complete the lyric – but choose wisely before you making your move: if you're wrong, you're wrong. No second chances here. 

And it isn't all screwed-down hairdos and cats from Japan, either. This quiz contains lyrics from each and every track on the original 1972 album – in fact, only one of the 15 vocal stylings you need to complete here is actually from the song Ziggy Stardust. For every question, we've given you the title of the song as a hint, all you have to do is complete the lyric – sing it out if it helps. 

So let's get to work. You have six minutes. Oh, and feel free to write your score in the comments section when you're done. Do it for the Starman, waiting in the sky... 


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Becky has been a full-time staff writer at What Hi-Fi? since March 2019. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, she freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 20-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance is of course tethered to a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo, This is Cabaret and The Stage. When not writing, she dances, spins in the air, drinks coffee, watches football or surfs in Cornwall with her other half – a football writer whose talent knows no bounds.