UK newspaper The Independent had an article about the origin of Ziggy Stardust, published on Sunday 22 December 1996. Teenage Wildlifers Spaceboy and Jonathan Radcliffe sent me the following snippets from the article.
Ziggy Stardust was based on a failed Elvis impersonator, Vince Taylor - or at least that is what Bowie tells Alan Yentob in the upcoming BBC TV documentary.
Quoted in the UK's Independent on Sunday, Bowie says:"I met (Vince Taylor) a few times in the mid-Sixties and I went to a few parties with him. He was out of his gourd. Totally flipped. The guy was not playing with a full deck at all. He used to carry maps of Europe around with him, and I remember him opening a map outside Charing Cross tube station, putting it on the pavement and kneeling down with a magnifying glass. He pointed out all the sites where UFOs were going to land."
Vince Taylor moved to France, had some success doing Elvis impersonations, then one night he appeared on stage in white robes and said he was Jesus Christ. End of career.
The IoS talked to several Bowie biographers - none of whom buy the Vince-Taylor-was-Ziggy line. Typical is Christopher Sandford who says Mick Ronson told him the true inspiration was Iggy Pop - "Mick said Bowie was looking for a a rock star name beginning with 'Z' - just like a plumber looks for a name beginning with A to be at the front of the phone book. He met Iggy in 1971 and put a Z in front."