Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from MarsReleased: 1972
A "Suffragette" is a woman involved in the women's suffrage movement (trying to get the right to vote). A London newspaper was the first to use the term, and did so in a derogatory manner. In England, women got voting rights in 1918. In the US, it was 1920.
Bowie offered this to the band Mott The Hoople, but they turned it down. Bowie was a big fan of Mott The Hoople, but they weren't selling well and were about to break up. To keep them going, Bowie offered to produce their next album, and although they rejected this, they did record Bowie's "All The Young Dudes
," which became a big hit and got them out of a financial mess.
The heavy saxophone backing sound is not a saxophone. It was created by an ARP synthesizer. Bowie wanted a larger-than-life sax sound, so they used the synth to create the sounds that a real sax couldn't.
The famous "Wham Bam Thank-you Ma'am" lyric was the title of one of the tracks on Charles Mingus' 1961 Oh Yeah
album (according to Mingus it was also a phrase that his drummer, Max Roach, used when he was "unable to express his inner feelings") and most likely one which Bowie was aware of, being a jazz lover himself.
The word "droogie" (from the line "Aw, droogie, don't crash here") is from the book (later made into a movie) A Clockwork Orange
. It means "friend." Like most of the words in the book's teen-slang language, Nadsat, it's based on Russian.
This is one of Bowie's all time personal favorites.
When Bowie played this live in 1972, he started doing a bit at the end of the song where he went underneath his guitarist, Mick Ronson, and played the guitar with his mouth. This made it look like Bowie was simulating oral sex, and it caused a stir when Bowie talked his Manager into buying a whole page of advertising space in the British magazine Melody Maker
to get the infamous "oral sex" picture published immediately after it was shot at a show in Oxford Town Hall in June 72. That's the way photographer Mick Rock tells the tale in his book Blood And Glitter
The year after this was released, Paul McCartney put the word "Suffragette" into his song "Jet