Ziggy Stardust fan remembers day Starman fell to Tolworth
A music fan has remembered the gig 40 years ago today he saw pop superstar David Bowie unleash his extra terrestrial alter ego at a pub in Tolworth.
Stephen King was among only a handful of music aficionados at the Toby Jug in Hook Rise South for the first earthly performance from Ziggy Stardust on February 10 1972.
Just weeks short of his 18th birthday Mr King convinced work friends to head to the Hook Rise Pub after seeing an interview with the rocker in music magazine Melody Maker.
He entered the small function room with about 60 fellow fans oblivious that what he would see next would change his life forever.
He said: “I think a taped introduction from "A Clockwork Orange" was played and Ziggy Stardust (with his trademark red hair) and The Spiders from Mars then took to the two foot high stage.
“I had never seen or heard anything like it before.
“I was completely blown away. I was just entranced by the entire performance. It was a heady combination of the best music I have ever heard, tremendous sound, very basic but so effective lighting.
“Nothing would ever be the same again.”
The Toby Jug had a reputation for breaking bands having played host to the likes of Traffic, Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull.
Mr King, whose father was a lino Linotype operator on the Surrey Comet, went on to become a sound engineer touring with bands like The Who but remembers the performance as a rock and roll pinnacle.
He said: “I was so impressed with the gig that I dragged some more friends to the Wallington Public Hall gig the following week.
"Sadly nothing could compete with the Toby Jug gig and for me still hasn't to this day.
“The Wallington Public Hall was only about half full and lacked the intimacy of the Toby Jug.
“That very first Ziggy Stardust gig will stay with me forever as what rock 'n' roll is all about.”
It was torn down in 2000 over fears it might become a home for squatters and now makes up part of the site for a proposed new Tesco superstore.