David Bowie’s long lost 1973 television performance as flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust has resurfaced after 38 years. It aired in 1973 and just re-aired on a BBC Christmas special.
Bowie was at the center of the glam rock movement when he appeared on Britain’s “Top of the Pops” show and sang his then No. 2 hit “The Jean Genie,” with his band, The Spiders from Mars. The tune was off his classic album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
A video tape of the show was thought lost when the BBC started a controversial money-saving policy that resulted in hundreds of tapes being erased so they could be reused. The Bowie performance was among them.
But a copy of the tape surfaced in in October. TV cameraman John Henshall kept a copy of the show for his personal collection and never realized how rare it was, according to the BBC.
When he casually mentioned that he had the tape during a radio interview, Bowie fans contacted him to explain its value. Since then, it’s been played at a special British Film Institute showing of long-lost TV shows.
The four-minute clip, originally aired on Jan. 4, 1973, shows Bowie performing a live, extended version of Jean Genie.
“I just couldn’t believe that I was the only one with it. I just thought you wouldn’t be mad enough to wipe a tape like that,” Henshall said.
Check out the performance below