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David Bowie - Space Oddity [Aka: David Bowie, Man Of Words/Man Of Music] CD (album) cover

SPACE ODDITY [AKA: DAVID BOWIE, MAN OF WORDS/MAN OF MUSIC]

David Bowie

 

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3.34 | 251 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I WANT TO LIVE

After the commercial failure of his debut album, 1968 is an empty musical year. Bowie is performing some mime shows. But they are apparently very poor in those days (but he'll get much better later on). He is still writing a few songs, of which a certain "Space Oditty" in which he doesn't really believe.

In 1969, David is the opening act for "Tyrannosaurus Rex". Only miming though. He is also going to meet Mary Angela Barnett at a press conference (the launch of .King Crimson actually). She is in the show biz and is interested by David. She helped David be signed at Philips.

But another MAJOR person will cross his paths in those remote days: Tony Visconti. He will be the producer of his next album.

"Space Oditty" which is a year old by then has turned into a perfect marketing match. It will be used during lots of TV shows related to one of the major event of the century: the first steps of mankind on the moon. The first leg of the Major Tom history. The one during which he will cut his circuits and live in an orbital world. But don't worry, we'll find the Major back a little later.

This album is of course overshadowed by this extraordinary song. Needless to say that Rick Wakeman is just superb on the keys (mellotron). But to depict this album to this one masterpiece song only wouldn't be fair.

There is another one here. One of David's longest song (almost ten minutes). The sublime "Cygnet Committee". This song is announcing in some way "Rock & Roll Suicide". Same wonderful crescendo but a lot more developed here. A song full of passion, paranoia (already.) whose conclusion is "I want to live" which is just the opposite of "R & R .". A great, great song. One of my all time fave from the man. THE highlight IMHHO.

This album remains very much folkish: "An Occasional Dream" could have been written by John B. Sebastian, and the over-orchestrated and mellowish "Wild Eyed Boy." sounds almost as a "Moody Blues" one.

The love song "Letter To Hermione" in remembrance of Hermione Farthingale (a dancer whom he met in 68) is just a light piece of music, a bit sad, showing an hesitant Bowie.

The closing number refers to a festival that David organized in London in the fall of 69. But it won't be as David wanted it to be. He will be disillusioned with this event and will report it in "Memory Of A Free Festival". While the first part is an emotional report of what happened, the second one is repetitive and dull. The same phrase being repeated endlessly (well, for about three minutes).

The album charted moderately, which was felt as another failure. By the end of 1969, Visconti presented him a certain Mick Ronson. The Ziggy adventure is slowly on its way.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |

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