David Bowie - B-sides, non-album tracks and unreleased material 1969 - 1973

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:

As the dust settles from the shocking news two weeks ago of David Bowie’s death, one thing is certain to follow, a deluge of re-issues.

As I type this, 19 of his albums are sat in the UK top 100 albums chart. His record label will no doubt be waiting for that initial rush to settle down and then you can bet there will be new re-packaged versions. We may even finally see the unreleased Toy album.

An artist whose career spanned over 50 years, even allowing for a decade off, Bowie produced so much material. His most prolific period was the late 60s through the 70s so we’re concentrating on that and skipping his early 60s period which is an article in itself.  I am by no means an expert so if you disagree with any of the following info just leave a blab below.

Some of the following tracks are well known, others are rare but none appeared on the original albums and put together make a great compilation.

Space Oddity (Love You till Tuesday version)

Love You till Tuesday is a 1969 promotional film to showcase the talents of young Dave. This version of ‘Space Oddity’ is quite different from the single and album version.

Where to find it: This didn’t appear on CD until 1997 when it was included on The Deram Anthology 1966–1968 and that remains the only place to this day.

There’s also two different demo versions knocking about. One on the Sound + Vision boxset from 1990 and the other on the deluxe edition of the Space Oddity album.

Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud

B-side to ‘Space Oddity’ that was re-recorded for the album.

Where to find it: On the deluxe version of Space Oddity.

Ragazzo solo, ragazza sola

This is basically ‘Space Oddity’ sung in Italian but if you’re a completist you’ll want it. Bizarrely, the title translates as ‘Lonely Boy, Lonely Girl’ and the lyrics have nothing to do with space travel.

Where to find it: On the deluxe version of Space Oddity.

 

The Prettiest Star (single version)

Released in 1970 and featuring Marc Bolan on guitar. This was re-recorded with Ronson for Aladdin Sane three years later.

Where to find it: On the deluxe version of Space Oddity.

Conversation Piece

B-side to ‘The Prettiest Star’. Bands today would kill to write this, it didn’t even make it onto an album.

Where to find it: On the deluxe version of Space Oddity.

Bowie re-recorded it for the 2001 album Toy.

Memory of a Free Festival Parts 1 and 2

The original of this can be found on Space Oddity (Man of Words/Man of Music in the US). A year later his label asked him to re-record for a single. It’s the first recording to feature Mick Ronson and was the beginning of The Spiders from Mars line up. Ronson really took Bowie’s songs to another level.

Where to find them: Both tracks can be found on the deluxe edition of Space Oddity.

Holy Holy (original single version)

Released as a single in 1971. Re-recorded for but left off The Rise and Fall, but later released as a b-side to ‘Diamond Dogs’. The later version is better but you need them both.

Where to find it: Remarkably the original didn’t get a re-issue until 2015 when it was included on Re:Call 1, part of the Five Years (1969–1973) compilation. The Spiders version can also be found on Re:Call 1 and the 30th anniversary edition of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

Original

Spiders version

Moonage Daydream and Hang Onto Yourself (Arnold Corns versions)

Described as a dry run for Ziggy Stardust. This 7in single was released as the band Arnold Corns and both tracks are quite different from the re-recorded versions on Ziggy.

Where to find them: They first showed up on CD on the Rykodisc 1990 issue of The Man Who Sold the World. You might have more luck getting hold of the excellent two-disc 30th Anniversary edition of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which is absolutely loaded with gems from that era.

Lightning Frightening

An outtake from The Man Who Sold the World sessions, (although some claim it may have been recorded later). Apparently a total rip off of ‘Dirty Dirty‘ by Crazy Horse.

Where to find it: This first saw the light of day in 1990 on the Rykodisc version of The Man Who Sold the World and that remains the only place to find it.

Velvet Goldmine

Probably his most famous non-album track, (after the ‘Laughing Gnome’, of course). Crazy to think it didn’t make it onto an album and was only a b-side.

Where to find it: This has appeared on plenty of compilations but if you can track down the 30th anniversary of Ziggy Stardust you’ll get a lot more.

Man in the Middle

Another track from the Arnold Corns sessions. Bowie doesn’t actually sing it but you have to wonder why it wasn’t re-recorded later as it’s a great track.

Where to find it: Unreleased

Right on Mother

Also from the Arnold Corns sessions. This would fit perfectly onto Hunky Dory.

Where to find it: Unreleased

Looking for a Friend

And finally from Arnold Corns.

Where to find it: Unreleased

How Lucky You Are

Hunky Dory has never had the deluxe re-issue treatment for some reason but when it does I suspect this will be included.

Where to find it: Unreleased

Andy Warhol (Dana Gillespie version)

OK, not strictly Bowie but he did originally write this for Dana Gillespie and her version features Ronson on guitar.

Where to find it:  Bowie’s version is on Hunky Dory but if you want this it’s on Gillespie’s Weren’t Born a Man album.

The BBC session is even better.

Waiting for the Man & White Light/White Heat

Two Velvet Underground covers recorded for the BBC. This version of ‘Waiting for the Man’ might be better than the original, and I say that as a big Velvets fan.

Where to find them: Both tracks are on the Bowie at the Beeb compilation, which is just excellent. Try and get hold of the three-disc version.

 

Round and Round

This cover of a Chuck Berry song was recorded in ’71 but wasn’t released until it appeared as a b-side to ‘Drive-in Saturday’ in ’73.

Where to find it: 30th anniversary edition of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

Sweet Head

Another rocking Spiders track, features the famous blow job cliche line, “While you’re down there”. This didn’t see the light of day until 1990.

Where to find it: 30th anniversary edition of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

John, I’m Only Dancing (sax version)

A lot of people find it surprising that ‘John, I’m Only Dancing’ was not included on an album, as it’s one of his most well-known tracks. The original was released as a single and this sax version was released again as a single only 10 months later. (There’s also another soul version recorded for Young Americans but we’re not venturing that far ahead).

Where to find it: On the 30th anniversary edition of Aladdin Sane.

All the Young Dudes

At the height of his powers, Bowie could afford to give away tracks like this. Offered to Mott the Hoople to stop them from splitting up (check out their album of the same name, it’s excellent), Bowie’s version, recorded in 1972, didn’t see the light of day until 1995.

Where to find it: It appeared on the three-disc version of Nothing Has Changed.

So, there you have it. Bowie experts will no doubt point out a lot more not mentioned here. We’ve only covered ’69-’73 and there is so much more. He demoed five tracks for the follow-up to Blackstar before his death; the man was prolific.

Over the years, there have been countless compilations, anniversary and deluxe editions and boxsets. The problem, of course, with major labels is that they very craftily leave off a handful of rarities or put them on a boxset, meaning you have to spend a small fortune to get everything.

In 2015, we saw the Five Years boxset that spanned his career from ’69 to ’73 and came with an extra disc of rarities. That’s great if you don’t already own all of his albums - it’s just shy of £100 and a little steep. The rarities released as a stand-alone album would have been nice.

So, before you rush out to buy the albums missing from your collection, check out these tracks. They’re sure to show up soon on re-issues.

 

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