Back in 1972 Mick Ronson came up with one of the greatest solos ever played on a Les Paul. Thirty-five years later, guitarist Rick Tedesco is getting a chance to reproduce that solo using the same guitar Ronson played on the original recording. As participants on a forthcoming David Bowie tribute CD, Tedesco and his bandmates in the Dennis Dunaway Project—a group headed by and named for the original Alice Cooper Group bassist—will contribute an interpretation of “Moonage Daydream,” the song that served as the centerpiece for Bowie’s glam-rock masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

“When we were asked to do this, I said, ‘We’re in, as long as we can do ‘Moonage Daydream,’’ Tedesco says. “We were then told that everybody involved wanted to do that song. But I said, ‘Yeah, but I have Ronson’s actual guitar and amp. How cool would it be to re-make the song with the same equipment he used to record the original?” 

Tedesco, a Ronson devotee who’s also close friends with Ian Hunter—with whom Ronson often collaborated—tracked down and bought the iconic, sanded-down Ronson Les Paul in Australia several years ago. Ronson’s widow Suzy Ronson helped verify the guitar’s authenticity prior to the purchase.

No release date has been set for the Bowie tribute disc, which is being coordinated by the indie label Main Man Records (no affiliation with Bowie’s original Mainman Productions). Meanwhile, the Dennis Dunaway Project—whose CD, Bones from the Yard, has gotten strong reviews—is set to open a show for Alice Cooper in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, on September 18. Asked if he intends to stay faithful to the spirit of the original “Moonage Daydream,” Tedesco says the band will likely mix things up a bit. In regards to the solo, however, he says there’s no improving on perfection.

“We’ve talked about keeping the groove basically the same,” he explains, “but doing something a bit more interesting with the bass lines, and maybe even adding some guitar lines. But I’m going to do the solo—that whole outro—note for note, as close to Mick as I can possibly do. There’s no greater guitar solo than that one. I want to do it with as much feel, and with as much emotion, as he put into it. I still get chills listening to that solo.” —Russell Hall