RCD 10131 Space Oddity
Produced by Tony Visconti, Gus Dudgeon
Released on November 1972
UK CHART POSITION #17 . . . US CHART POSITION #16 . . .
UK RE-CHART POSITION #64 (1990)
Find it at GEMM
RCD 10131 cover  

W hen Bowie returned to recording in 1969, he abandoned the childish sound of earlier efforts in favor of psychedelic folk and rock. Originally titled Man of Words Man of Music, it snuck by the attention of most despite the success of the single “Space Oddity.” Produced by Gus Dudgeon, Bowie’s story about an astronaut (Major Tom) lost in space is far and away the best song on the album; and so, when the album was re-released in 1972 (to capitalize on Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust stardom), it was re-titled to leverage the popular single. The rest of the record, while light years ahead of his earlier music, is a case of the chameleon adapting to the style of the time. Nods to Bob Dylan (“Unwashed and Somwehat Slightly Dazed,” “God Knows I’m Good”) are mixed between vaguely futuristic epics (“Cygnet Committee,” “Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud”). It’s an intelligent, untentative album (Bowie’s is an uncanny ability to invest himself fully in the task at hand), notable for its largely acoustic sound. Like the earlier work of Elton John, the sum effect can feel stilted and precious at times, but fans generally agree that the record is both charming and portentous of an important artist. The 1990 expanded CD reissue restores the half-minute “Don’t Sit Down” (deleted during the 1972 re-branding) and adds the surprisingly effective country song “Conversation Piece” (a 1970 b-side) as well as both sides of the “Memory of a Free Festival” single, which is actually a re-recording of the original album version that marked the debut of future Spiders Mick Ronson and Mick Woodmansey. Delivered in two parts, the latter especially shows Bowie growing by leaps and bounds, with Ronson’s lead guitar carving out a new role that would be given a greater spotlight on The Man Who Sold The World.

AQL1-4813 front cover AQL1-4813 back cover AQL1-4813 lyric sleeve
AQL1-4813 front cover AQL1-4813 back cover AQL1-4813 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

    LP track listing...
  1. SPACE ODDITY    5:15
  2. UNWASHED AND SOMEWHAT SLIGHTLY DAZED    6:55
  3. LETTER TO HERMIONE    2:28
  4. CYGNET COMMITTEE    9:33
  5. JANINE    3:18
  6. AN OCCASIONAL DREAM    2:51
  7. THE WILD EYED BOY FROM FREECLOUD    4:45
  8. GOD KNOWS I'M GOOD    3:13
  9. MEMORY OF A FREE FESTIVAL    7:05

    1990 Rykodisc reissue track listing...
  10. SPACE ODDITY    5:14
  11. UNWASHED AND SOMEWHAT SLIGHTLY DAZED    6:10
  12. DON'T SIT DOWN    0:39
  13. LETTER TO HERMIONE    2:30
  14. CYGNET COMMITTEE    9:30
  15. JANINE    3:19
  16. AN OCCASIONAL DREAM    2:56
  17. WILD EYED BOY FROM FREECLOUD    4:47
  18. GOD KNOWS I'M GOOD    3:16
  19. MEMORY OF A FREE FESTIVAL    7:07
  20. CONVERSATION PIECE    3:05
  21. MEMORY OF A FREE FESTIBAL PART 1    3:59
  22. MEMORY OF A FREE FESTIVAL PART 2    3:31

    All selections written by David Bowie

CREDITS

DAVID BOWIE -- vocals, 12-string guitar, stylophone, kalimba, Rosedale electric chord organ, arrangements
JOHN CAMBRIDGE -- drums
KEITH CHRISTMAS -- guitar
TERRY COX -- drums
HERBIE FLOWERS -- bass guitar
HONK -- bass guitar
TIM RENWICK -- guitar, flutes and recorders
TONY VISCONTI -- bass guitar, flutes and recorders, arrangements
RICK WAKEMAN -- mellotron and electric harpsichord
MICK WAYNE -- guitar
Paul Buckmaster-- arrangement (1)
Benny Marshall and Friends -- harmonica
Ken Scott -- engineer
Barry Sheffield -- engineer
Malcolm Toft -- engineer
Brian Ward -- album photo art (Ryko reissue)
Robin Bean -- additional photos
Reiner Design Consultants, Inc. -- package design

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
WW November 1972 RCA LP LSP 4813 lyric sleeve, poster
GER   RCA LP PL-48413  
US   RCA LP/CS AQL1-4813 lyric sleeve
US 1990 Rykodisc LPX/CDX/CSX RALP 01312/RCD 10131/
RACS 01312
digital remaster w. bonus tracks
WW 1999 EMI/Virgin CD 21898 24-bit digital remaster, booklet

 

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