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Space Oddity (50th Anniversary Tony Visconti Remix)
by David Bowie
Fifty years after originally passing up the chance to produce this (declaring it a novelty single) Tony Visconti has revisited this tune for the fiftieth anniversary.
Tony Visconti had been contracted to produce Bowie’s second album. However, the American disliked ‘Space Oddity’, seeing it as a novelty piece unworthy of Bowie’s talents.

Maybe it was a fortnight before we were to start the album when David played a demo to me of a new song he demoed at his manager’s house, ‘Space Oddity’! I thought, what’s this, this isn’t Folk Rock? Not only that, but to me, this very original songwriter was ‘channeling’ Simon and Garfunkel and John Lennon very strongly, it was not like him to be like anyone else, totally out of his character. I also thought with all the activity from NASA with astronauts orbiting the Earth and maybe going to the Moon, this was an attempt to cash in. Yes, I thought these things and I thought it was just a novelty song. I was an idealistic American hippy, I used to take a lot of acid and this song just rubbed me the wrong way. David was not all that defensive about it. He was willing to drop the song except his manager played it to the label bosses and they loved it. He told me it was mandated that we should record that song, or the album was not going to be financed. It was still a singles world and I admitted that it would probably be a hit, but I argued that it wasn’t his style and he’d never write a follow up.
Tony Visconti, May 2015
Five Years (1969-1973) book
The song and its b-side, ‘Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud’, were instead produced by Gus Dudgeon, a Decca engineer who had worked on Bowie’s three Deram singles.

Gus heard the ‘Space Oddity’ demo and said I was mad to turn it down (Did I already say that I was an idealistic American hippy?). But the song had to be recorded and I happily let David and Gus get on with it. I offered the talents of Mick Wayne on guitar and a brilliant young keyboard player I was working with, Rick Wakeman. The rest is history, of course. When I heard Gus’s brilliant production I took it all back. It was stunning. I got it. I was still certain it would be a one-off hit, but what the hell, if it puts David on the map it is worth it. I also thought I was to be fired. Gus knew David longer than I did, they had a working relationship before (the Deram album) and I would just ‘get me coat’ and saunter out the side door. That’s what I told David, but the next thing he said floored me. ‘Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s get on with making the album.’ And so we did, at Trident Studios in St Anne’s Court, Soho, London.
Tony Visconti, May 2015
Five Years (1969-1973) book
Posted: 23rd July 2019
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