Mick Ronson played a pivotal role in the illustrious Ziggy Stardust era of David Bowie’s magnificent career and was perhaps the one musician he played with over the years who understood him the greatest. So this footage of the two reuniting for the final time at a tribute concert for Freddie Mercury is truly magical.
The pair would join on stage to perform Mott the Hoople’s ‘All The Young Dudes’ before Ronson would sadly pass away from cancer the following year.
The evening was special and emotionally for a number of reasons. The tribute to Freddie was still remarkably fresh then to have the event taking place at Wembley Stadium, a venue in which Mercury famously cemented his legacy, single-handedly stealing the show at Live Aid eight years previously.
The tribute to Mercury took place just five months after his death and delivered a number of moments that even Freddie himself would be proud of. Such as Elton John and Axl Rose colliding on a duet of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and George Michael’s outrageously good tribute of ‘Somebody To Love’.
But it would be when David Bowie and Mick Ronson linked up for a rendition of ‘All The Young Dudes’ that put the world to rights when they showed the world what they were missing out on since the two parted ways following the famous farewell to Ziggy at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1973. Later, the duo would also be a part of an ensemble performance of ‘Heroes’.
The duo were joined on stage for their reunion by Ian Hunter, Joe Elliott and Phil Collen for the special performance, which marked the first time Bowie had played with Ronson since a surprise appearance at a Serious Moonlight gig nine years earlier. The rendition also marked the last time these two forces of nature would play together in public with the pair sharing a few embracing moments of friendship while on stage.
Ronson did contribute to Bowie’s 1993 LP Black Tie White Noise but he would sadly pass away from liver cancer just three weeks after the release of the record.
The track choice may have seemed rather left-field however, it was of vast significance for both of them as Bowie had written ‘All The Young Dudes’ for Mott The Hoople in 1972, who Ronson briefly joined before joining Bob Dylan for the Rolling Thunder Revue in 1975. The guitarist also played on Bowie’s own recording of the song.
Bowie would detail their on-stage relationship in an interview shortly after Ronson’s death, fondly saying: “Mick was the perfect foil for the Ziggy character. He was very much a salt-of-the-earth type, the blunt northerner with a defiantly masculine personality so that what you got was the old-fashioned Yin and Yang thing.
Adding: “As a rock duo, I thought we were every bit as good as Mick and Keith or Axl and Slash. Ziggy and Mick were the personification of that rock n roll dualism. He provided this strong, earthy, simply-focussed idea of what a song was all about. And I would simply flutter all around him on the edges and decorate. I was sort of the interior decorator.”
Relive the beautiful moment which would see Bowie reunite with his right-hand man for the final time at Wembley Stadium below.