Hard to believe it’s been almost a week since the world lost Ziggy Stardust, but the great tributes by talented artists around the world are helping us all honor his life. Last night, it was Saturday Night Live‘s turn to remember the culture-changing chameleon, who performed on the show in 1979.
Near the end of the episode, hosted by Star Wars villain Adam Driver, SNL legend Fred Armisen took the stage. In a simple tribute, he shared his memories of watching the iconic 1979 performance, which he referred to as “a life changing performance.”
“David Bowie transformed whatever space he was in, whatever medium he was using, and that night for me, he transformed live television,” Armisen recalled with quiet dignity.
Though Bowie sang three songs during his appearance, it was his rendition of “The Man Who Sold the World,” in which he was backed by fellow avant-garde performers Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias, that Armisen chose to recall specifically, sharing a clip from the futuristic performance.
“He had these backup singers that were like choir singers from the future and a toy poodle with a TV monitor in his mouth,” Armisen remembered.
In a recent review of the performances, the AV Club called Bowie’s appearance on the 1979 Martin Sheen-hosted episode “an artistic ‘fuck you’ to convention,” pointing out specifically his live version of “Boys Keep Swinging,” which featured a naked puppet with outsized genitalia.
In thanks to the great fallen star, NBC is currently hosting full versions of each of the three songs David Bowie performed that night. No word on how long the videos will stay up, so be sure to check them out soon! If you’ve already listened to “Blackstar” a dozen times and have gotten your Labyrinth fix, they’re a great way to conclude a week of mourning for the beloved and inimitable musician.
Check out Fred Armisen’s full tribute from SNL below:
(Image Via Hulu/NBC)