Hornchurch academic’s film charts the rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust’s ‘integral lieutenant’

PUBLISHED: 13:00 26 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:08 26 May 2017

David Bowie Ziggy Stardust.

David Bowie Ziggy Stardust.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

David Bowie is one of the most revered solo musicians of all time but a new documentary from a Hornchurch academic shines a light on one of the unsung heroes behind the starman’s success.

Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story focuses on the life and times of guitarist Mick Ronson who worked with the likes of Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and Morrissey.

However, Mick is most notable for being considered “an integral lieutenant” to Bowie through the Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane period when he recorded classic tracks such as Changes.

The film has been created by Marc Coker, a senior lecturer at UEL in film animation and media production, and is almost 10 years in the making.

“It has been a hard road with both success and dead ends,” said Marc. “The film has some great interviews and footage.”

Having worked with Bowie during his most creative period, as well as performing alongside other legends of the music industry, it is surprising that so little is known about the talented guitarist from Hull.

In fact it wasn’t until nearly decade ago when a friend of Marc’s found some forgotten footage of Mick performing that the project kicked off as Marc was intrigued to find out more about the multi-talented musician and composer.

“Mick was just one of those brilliant people, but very under sung,” said Marc. “That was the thing that attracted me to the story. He just wasn’t bothered about the fame.

“Most guys in rock n roll are very egotistical. But Mick didn’t want to be famous. He was just a working class guy from hull. He was from a really poor background, but he was exceptionally talented.”

Mick sadly died of liver cancer in 1993 at the age of 46 to little fanfare and Marc hopes the documentary will finally grant the prominent collaborator the recognition he deserves.

The show has been created in partnership with Content Media Corporation and features a voice-over contributed by Bowie before his death in January 2016.

Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson story airs on Saturday at 9pm on Sky Arts.

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