Tuesday, 17 December 2013


ARTIST: David Bowie; TITLE: Space Oddity; LABEL: PHILIPS; FORMAT: 7"; Cat. No.: BF 1801; YEAR: 1969; COUNTRY: UK

Welcome back from the Vinyl Consultancy now relocated down in here sometime sunny South Devon.

Today I'm focusing on Bowie's 1969 breakthrough - yep "Space Oddity".  As I'm sure everybody's well aware it was inspired by the moon landing of that year and another Bowie's songs about alienation, a subject first tackled on "The Gospel According To Tony Day" which cropped up on the flip side to the Laughing Gnome".  This is the 2nd version Bowie recorded - the first being for the soundtrack of "Love Me Till Tuesday", although the video for that version was then married with one when the song got to the number 1 slot in 1975.  The third and probably the starkest version is the 1980 version which premiered on British TV on New Year's Eve 1979/1980 and as precursor to "Ashes to Ashes" - making you wonder if the journey Major Tom was even into space at all!  The arrangements come courtesy of cellist Paul Buckmaster - and on the fadeout there seems to a nod in the direction of Ferde GrofĂ©'s "Grand Canyon Suite".

The flip side gives you the stripped down version of "The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud" which I prefer to full orchestrated version of the parent LP.  Here you just have Bowie on 12 string acoustic and Paul Buckmaster on cello.  Which has the advantage of being able to hearing the lyrics a lot more clearer which being swamped by orchestration (not producer Tony Visconti's fave tune perhaps?), and when you do it's clear to hear the influence that Scott Walker has having on Bowie's writing at time.  Interestingly this one of those songs the survived into the Ziggy era - as it's part of the farewell set recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon.  It's also from Bowie's Tibetan phase - part of the cycle that began with "Silly Boy Blue" on the 1st album, and completes with "Karma Man" which saw the light of day on Decca's "world Of David Bowie"set released just after the "Space Oddity" or David Bowie "2" if you will. And which apparently originated in Bowie's mine piece which he'd toured around the UK with Lyndsey Kemp in 1968.  The song was also one on Marc Bolan's favourites as well.

That's it for 2013 - here at the Vinyl Consultancy.  See you back again sometime early 2014!  Wishing you all the best for the festive season!