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David Bowie plaque to be unveiled outside Royal Star Arcade, Maidstone

By Ed McConnell

A plaque commemorating David Bowie's links to Maidstone will be unveiled in the town tomorrow.

The late rock great was a member of Maidstone band The Manish Boys between 1964 and 65.

The blue plaque will be erected outside the Royal Star Arcade, formerly the Royal Star Hotel Ballroom where the group regularly performed, by BBC Radio Kent.

The Manish Boys with David Bowie in Maidstone
The Manish Boys with David Bowie in Maidstone

Bob Solly, one of the band’s founding members, and Topper Headon, who is a former drummer with The Clash and was on the plaque committee, will unveil it at 1.30pm to mark BBC Music Day.

The ceremony can be watched on BBC South East news and listened to on Pat Marsh and Erika North’s show on Radio Kent.

David Holdsworth, controller of BBC English Regions, said: “It is hugely prestigious to receive a British Plaque Trust Blue Plaque, usually only around two are awarded each year. To mark BBC Music Day across BBC Local Radio with 47 blue plaques is a fitting way to commemorate our listeners’ passion and pride for where they live and to celebrate our musical heritage.”

The Royal Star Hotel
The Royal Star Hotel

While Bowie's links to the town aren't in doubt he has gone on record as saying he did not enjoy his time in the town, explaining he once got badly beaten up in Mote Park.

The Royal Star Arcade in the centre of Maidstone
The Royal Star Arcade in the centre of Maidstone

David Robert Jones, known as David Bowie, was an English singer, songwriter and actor acclaimed for his innovative work which spanned five decades. He died last January.

His record sales, estimated at 140 million worldwide, made him one of the world's best-selling artists.

In the UK, he was awarded nine platinum albums, 11 gold and eight silver, releasing eleven number-one albums, while in the US, he received five platinum and seven gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

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