Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Space Oddity

First recorded (as a demo) by David Bowie & John Hutchinson (1969).
Hit version by David Bowie (US #124/UK #5 1969 |US #15/CAN #16 1973 |UK #1 1975).
Also re-recorded by David Bowie (1979).

From the wiki: “‘Space Oddity’ was written by David Bowie. Three primary studio recordings of the song exist: an early demo version recorded by Bowie and John Hutchinson in February 1969, the album version recorded that June (edited for release as a single), and a 1979 re-recording.

“The earliest version of ‘Space Oddity’ was recorded on 2 February 1969 by Bowie and Hutchinson for Bowie’s promotional film Love You Till Tuesday. (Bowie and Hutchinson were the remaining members of the trio Feathers after the departure of Hermione Farthingale.) John was ‘Ground Control’, David was ‘Major Tom’.

“The album version of ‘Space Oddity’ was recorded at Trident Studios on 20 June 1969, using in-house session keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who would later achieve fame with the band Yes, as well as Mick Wayne (guitar), Herbie Flowers (bass), and Terry Cox (drums). Differing edits of the album version were released as singles in the UK and US. The single was not played by the BBC until after the Apollo 11 crew had safely returned in July 1969 from the their historic moon-landing mission. After this slow start, the song reached #5 in the UK Singles Chart but, in the US, stalled at #124, ‘Bubbling Under’ the Billboard Hot 100.

“Upon its re-release as a single in 1973, ‘Space Oddity’ reached #15 on the Billboard Chart and became Bowie’s first hit single in the United States; in Canada, it reached #16. This was then used to support RCA’s 1975 UK reissue, which gave Bowie his first #1 single on the UK Singles chart in November that year.

“Bowie recorded a stripped-down, acoustic version of the song in late 1979, which was issued in February 1980 as the B-side of ‘Alabama Song’.”

David Bowie, “Space Oddity” original video (from Love You Till Tuesday) (1969):

David Bowie, “Space Oddity” album version (1969):

David Bowie, “Space Oddity” acoustic re-recording (1979):

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