Ricky Gardiner

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Ricky Gardiner
Born(1948-08-31)31 August 1948
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died13 May 2022(2022-05-13) (aged 73)
GenresPunk rock, rock and roll, progressive rock
Occupation(s)Guitarist, composer

Ricky Gardiner (31 August 1948 – 13 May 2022) was a Scottish guitarist and composer.


Gardiner joined his first band, the Vostoks, at school in 1962. Next there were the Kingbees and the System, with whom he formed Beggars Opera in 1969.

He played in his own outfit with this band, Beggars Opera, and also with friends David Bowie and Iggy Pop. For Bowie he played lead guitar on the 1977 album Low.[1] For Pop he worked on his album Lust for Life the same year: the issue included "The Passenger", regarded as one of Pop's best songs,[2] for which Gardiner composed the music. Bowie biographer David Buckley described it as being "possessed with one of the greatest riffs of all time".[3]

On 19 October 1977, Gardiner was selected by Tony Visconti to play guitar for the pre-recorded backing of Bowie's performance on "Heroes" on the BBC's Top of the Pops.[4] The recording was made at Good Earth Studios in Soho, London with Bowie, Visconti, and pianist Sean Mayes. Gardiner emulated Robert Fripp's feedback-driven [5] guitar line. "I was asked to reproduce Robert Fripp's line. As we went through the song, my amplifier started dying. As the song finished, so did the amp."

From the 1970s, Gardiner played and composed in a variety of music styles, including ambient, classical, and rock.

In 2017, photographs Gardiner took at the Château d'Hérouville,[6] during the making of David Bowie's Low album in 1977, were included in a hardcover book that accompanied the vinyl and CD box set of A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982), alongside photographs by Anton Corbijn, Helmut Newton, Andrew Kent, Steve Shapiro, Duffy, and others.

Gardiner said that he suffered from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, which he believed he contracted through exposure to high levels of computer radiation and magnetic fields.

Gardiner died on 13 May 2022, aged 73, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.[7]


  1. ^ Goldring, Susie (18 April 2007). "David Bowie – Low". Classic Pop/Rock Review. BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  2. ^ Carr, Roy; Murray, Charles Shaar (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record. New York City / London: Avon / Eel Pie Publishing. p. 118. ISBN 0-380-77966-8. OCLC 7862636.
  3. ^ Buckley, David (1999). Strange fascination: David Bowie: the definitive story. London: Virgin Books. p. 318. ISBN 978-1-85227-784-0. OCLC 43757665.
  4. ^ "David Bowie – "Heroes" – Top of the Pops, 1977 – (Nacho version)". David Bowie News | Celebrating the Genius of David Bowie. 19 October 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  5. ^ O'Leary, Chris (2019). Ashes to Ashes: The Songs of David Bowie 1976–2016. London: Repeater. ISBN 978-1912248308.
  6. ^ "Behind the scenes photos by Ricky Gardiner at Château d'Hérouville recording David Bowie's Low album". David Bowie News | Celebrating the Genius of David Bowie. 9 May 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Ricky Gardiner", 16 May 2022. Bowiewonderworld.com, Retrieved 16 May 2022

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