David Bowie's 65th birthday brings back memories of guitar great Mick Ronson

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      David Bowie turned 65 today, and that's awesome. The guy's a music legend, one of the most artistic rockers ever, and no one can say anything bad about him when I'm around.

      But while realizing how cool it was that Bowie had reached that milestone, I started to think back to what it was that drew me to his music in the first place, and I got a bit down. Just as much as Bowie's incredible songwriting and vocals, it was the guitar playing of his platinum-blonde sideman, Mick Ronson, that made me run out and buy early-'70s glam-rock masterworks like Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane and play them all night long.

      I also adored the music that "Ronno" recorded with my other big hero from the '70s, ex-Mott the Hoople mainman Ian Hunter. I'll never forget seeing them at Vancouver's 86 Street Music Hall in late '89, just before the release of their grossly overlooked YUI Orta album. Four years later--on April 29, 1993--Ronson died from liver cancer at the age of 46.

      So while I'm mixing up Black Russians today and toasting Bowie's 65th birthday I'll also be raising a glass to Ronson, who would have been 65 last year. Here's a few choice clips to help you do the same.

      You can follow Steve Newton on Twitter at twitter.com/earofnewt.



      Martin Dunphy

      Jan 8, 2012 at 6:38pm

      Thanks for that, Steve.

      Riff In Peace, MR

      Steve Newton

      Jan 8, 2012 at 8:00pm

      I like that, Riff in Peace.

      Pat Crowe

      Jan 8, 2012 at 10:19pm

      Did you wear a cape to school in grade 9?
      Did the grade tens take it away from ya and smack ya around?
      Ramones! R.I.P.

      Steve Newton

      Jan 8, 2012 at 10:46pm

      no I didn't, Crowedaddy. I wore a Zorro cape in grade 1, but not to school

      Suzi Ronson

      Jan 9, 2012 at 5:09am

      I agree, I miss him still. I was there and yes Mick was a fantastic performer and a wonderful man.


      Jan 9, 2012 at 7:42am

      Capes r like cowbells you can never get enough of them.

      Andrew F Humphrey

      Jan 9, 2012 at 9:29am

      That Moonage Daydream clip is absolutely the best example of a ROCK performance, ever!! I have it saved on YT and watch it a few times a week. RIP MR indeed, what a sexy hard rocking group, so cool.


      Jan 9, 2012 at 10:53am

      Perhaps what best underscores the sheer brilliance of David Bowie and his innate essence of being a performer is the story he once relayed whereby he’d get on the NYC Subway, with glasses, a flop hat and a Greek newspaper, which he would read upside down (after all it’s all Greek isn’t it?) and relish in his anonymity all the while in effect once again in character. Even in his downtime he is the quintessential performer...



      Jan 10, 2012 at 3:45am

      Thanks for reminding everyone what an incredible player Mick was. I've never felt Mick got nearly enough credit for his work with Bowie. So many of the great melodies and riffs we hear from that Bowie era came directly from Mick. And from all accounts, Mick was a gentlemen's gentlemen and left his ego at the door. I don't think I've ever heard or read a negative word about him. What a talent in such a unassuming man. We will miss you always, Mick.