Mick Ronson, "Growing Up and I'm Fine"

One of the Spiders from Mars, Mick Ronson would undoubtedly be bigger—or at least still working, up to album number seventy—had he not died in 1993, only 46 years old.

Through the 60s, he started and was in a number of bands, including the Rats, a psych unit with a heavy and somewhat baroque, arty presence, smarter than contemporaries.

Eventually, he found his way to David Bowie, who, in 1970, was getting assembling a group called the Hype. The band eventually became Bowie's backing outfit, though only after breaking off from Ziggy Stardust, getting signed, and renaming as Ronno.

He stayed with Bowie, mostly as his lead guitarist and a strings arranger, and also began working with others, like Mott the Hoople and Lou Reed. Once he started recording on his own, he intersected with Ian Hunter, and thus began the final chapter of his career, toggling between his own macho glam ambitions (think Todd Rundgren with less of the elfish slouch and woo-woo gentleness, and a heaping spoonful of brawn), power-pop studio jobs, and hired-gun positions in touring ensembles, like Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue.

Bowie described him beautifully: "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. 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."