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HALLO SPACEBOY (Bowie/Eno)

  • Album: 1.Outside

  • A-Side: February 1996

  • Live: Phoenix: The Album/liveandwell.com/Bowie At The Beeb/A Reality Tour

  • Bonus: 1.Outside (2004)

  • Video: Best Of Bowie

  • Live Video: A Reality Tour

In its original form "Hallo Spaceboy" is probably the downright noisiest Bowie track to be found outside the work of Tin Machine, a hardcore maelstrom of sci-fi noise, hypnotic high-speed drumming and an insistent, speaker-hopping four-note guitar riff. Developed from a Reeves Gabrels instrumental called "Moondust", it combines the darkest elements of Pixies, Pornography-era Cure, and 1990s Bowie cheerleaders Nine Inch Nails and Smashing Pumpkins (who released a track called "Spaceboy" in 1993). Drawing on the lyrics of "Baby Universal", and raising the ghost of the girl/boy conundrum proposed by "Rebel Rebel" and restated by Blur's 1994 hit "Boys And Girls", Bowie hits the jackpot of 1.Outside's millennial angst with an anguished howl of "This chaos is killing me!"

     In April 2003, several years after his departure from the Bowie camp, Reeves Gabrels told readers of his website that he had mixed feelings about Bowie's appropriation of "Moondust". According to Gabrels, the genesis of the track went back to his second visit to Montreux in 1994, to record some supplementary material with Bowie after the main improvisational sessions that yielded the Leon album: "One afternoon, near the end of that month-long stay in Switzerland, I wrote an ambient piece which David then recited the words "moon dust..." etc over," Gabrels recalled. "The words were from a poem written by a poet whose name escapes me (might be John Giorno), but David was reading that poem when I re-entered the control room after recording some of what became the "Moondust" track. At that point he decided adding that to my idea."

     It appears that Gabrels's recollections of this episode are not entirely accurate: Bowie's spoken line "If I fall, moondust will cover me" (unheard on the finished "Hallo Spaceboy", but later resurfacing in the opening bars of the Pet Shop Boys remix) originates not from John Giorno but from Bowie's long-time muse Brion Gysin, the poet and multimedia artist whose cut-up and "permutation" techniques, developed with William Burroughs, David had long admired. They are in fact reputed to be the last words spoken by Gysin on his Paris deathbed in 1986. "The third time I was in Montreux to work on the Outside record," continued Gabrels, "I asked David about the track and he said he didn't feel there was anything special going on with that piece and that he'd pretty much forgotten about it. I still have a rough mix of the original and it's got its own charm, I think."

     Nothing more was heard of the track until the New York sessions several months later. Brian Eno's diary reports how "Hallo Spaceboy" emerged from "Moondust" in the studio on January 17th 1995, when Bowie, Carlos Alomar and drummer Joey Barron set about "stripping it right down to almost nothing. I wrote some lightning chords and spaces (knowing I wouldn't get long to do it), and suddenly, miraculously, we had something. Carlos and Joey at their shining best. Instantly D. came up with a really great vocal strategy (something about a Spaceboy), delivered with total confidence and certainty." Work continued on the track the following day, when Eno records that a delighted Bowie was already insisting, "Don't change anything."

     "Hallo Spaceboy" was performed live on the Outside tour, initially with Nine Inch Nails on the US leg and thereafter as the preferred closing number. In February 1996 it became 1.Outside's third single, albeit in a radically different form. Long-time fan Neil Tennant was approached with the idea of remixing the track, and later recalled telephoning David from the studio to explain that he was adding lines from "Space Oddity" to the remix: "There was this long silence, and then he said, 'I think I'd better come over'." Tennant got his way, however, and the remixed "Hallo Spaceboy" arrived complete with a regulation Pet Shop Boys disco beat and a series of cut-ups from "Space Oddity" sung by Tennant himself: "Ground to Major, bye bye Tom / Dead the circuit, countdown's wrong." David Mallet's brilliant video combined shots of Bowie and the Pet Shop Boys in shafts of stark light with retroactive images from 1950s sci-fi and monster movies, stars, planets, girls, boys, space-rockets, guillotine blades, graveyards, embryos and skeletons. The trio subsequently performed the song at the Brit Awards on February 19th and again on Top Of The Pops on March 1st. The remix later replaced "Wishful Beginnings" on the reissued album 1.Outside Version 2, while four further Pet Shop Boys mixes (though not, oddly, the single version) appeared as bonus tracks on the 2004 two-disc edition of 1.Outside.

     The "Hallo Spaceboy" CD included live tracks from the Outside tour and a reissue of "The Hearts Filthy Lesson" (now billed "as featured in the motion picture Seven"). The single was a success in  many European territories (it topped the chart in Latvia) and reached number 12 in the UK, Bowie's best placing since "Jump They Say". It might have done better but for a piece of unfortunate timing, being released as Babylon Zoo's ersatz-"Starman" hit "Spaceman" was notching up its fourth week at number 1 - ludicrously, some reviewers suggested that Bowie's single was the copycat of the two.

     "Hallo Spaceboy" continued to feature in Bowie's live sets throughout 1996 and 1997, and was resuscitated for the summer 2000 dates and the Heathen and A Reality tours. A live version recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre on June 27th 2000 appeared on the Bowie At The Beeb bonus disc. An earlier performance recorded at the Phoenix Festival on July 18th 1996 was included on the BBC release Phoenix: The Album and on a French promo, while another live cut, this time from Rio de Janeiro on November 2nd 1997, appears on liveandwell.com. Yet another, recorded in Dublin in November 2003, can be found on A Reality Tour. The Pet Shop Boys performed their own version during their live residency at London's Savoy Theatre in 1997.

 

HAMMERHEAD (Bowie/H.Sales)

  • B-Side: August 1991

  • Album: Tin Machine II

This insubstantial rocker from the Tin Machine II sessions became a B-side, while a minute-long instrumental excerpt appeared as the album's unlisted final track. It's standard pseudo-sexist Tin Machine fare, allowing Bowie to revisit some of his favourite lyrical phrases ("sweet thing" crops up) and tips his hat to an erstwhile collaborator ("She's so fabulous, just like Cher!") before bowing out to an extended guitar and sax workout. An inessential 1'47" version was leaked online in 2008.

HANG ON TO YOURSELF

  • B-Side: May 1971

  • A-Side: August 1972

  • Album: The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars

  • B-Side: September 1972

  • Live: Stage/Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture/Santa Monica '72/BBC Sessions 1969-1972 (Sampler)/Bowie At The Beeb (Bonus Disc)/A Reality Tour

  • Bonus: The Man Who Sold The World/Ziggy Stardust (2002)/Re:Call 1

  • Live Video: Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars/A Reality Tour

"Strap the guitar on and thrash it to death, basically," is how Mick Ronson later recalled the nightly challenge of recreating the furious "Hang On To Yourself" riff, which owes more than a passing debt to The Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" and in particular to Eddie Cochran's 1958 hit "Summertime Blues", a cover of which had backed Marc Bolan's breakthrough hit "Ride A White Swan" in 1970. Also indebted to Bolan is Bowie's breathy, panting vocal style, but the crackling duel between his acoustic guitar and Ronson's searing electric solos belongs solely to the Ziggy Stardust phenomenon. Although running to a mere handful of lines, the lyric constructs a complex and ever-shifting metaphor in which rock music elides into sex, ambition, fulfilment, self-control and back to sex again, with the multiple innuendo of the central thesis ("If you think we're gonna make it / You better hang on to yourself") conflating the abandon of sexual climax with the attainment of rock stardom - while prefiguring Ziggy's own downfall.

     After an initial recording on November 8th 1971 was deemed unsuccessful, the definitive Ziggy Stardust version was cut at Trident three days later. During the November 11th session there were numerous takes, of which the eighth was selected for inclusion on the album. However, like several of the Ziggy Stardust numbers, "Hang On To Yourself" had begun life several months earlier. During his American trip in February 1971, Bowie was introduced by record producer Tom Ayers to one of his heroes, the legendary rock'n'roller Gene Vincent. "One night, at the recording studio, Tom asked whether I would like to jam or sing something with Gene," Bowie wrote in 2002's Moonage Daydream. "At that point, I had already written "Moonage Daydream", "Ziggy Stardust" and "Hang On To Yourself". We settled on "Hang On To Yourself" and made a ghastly version of it which is floating around somewhere on eBay, I expect." The Los Angeles demo has indeed appeared on bootlegs, but Gene Vincent is nowhere to be heard. "I can't hear a trace of Vincent anywhere on it," Bowie concedes, "though Tom's son (who sent it to me) assures me that his dad swore Gene was on it." Vincent, who died in October of the same year, would be responsible for another Ziggy trademark. In the 1960s, Bowie had seen Vincent perform in concert with one leg in a brace following a car accident: "It meant that to crouch at the mike, as was his habit, he had to shove his injured leg out behind him, to what I thought great theatrical effect," Bowie observed. "This rock stance became position number one for the embryonic Ziggy. Mick Rock captured that well on many occasions, the best version appearing on the back of the Pin Ups album."

     A more familiar early take of "Hang On To Yourself" is the recording made at London's Radio Luxembourg Studios on February 25th 1971 by Bowie's undercover project Arnold Corns. This cut was twice released as a single by B&C Records, first as the B-side of the Arnold Corns version of "Moonage Daydream" and subsequently as an A-side backed by "Man In The Middle", but mercifully and understandably, both flopped. Saddled with a turgid tempo and a plodding arrangement for guitar and tambourine, the uninspiring prototype lyrics contain none of the song's later references to stage performance, groupies or The Spiders From Mars themselves, although the line "And me I'm in a rock'n'roll show" confirms the debt to "Sweet Jane" ("And me I'm in a rock'n'roll band"). Topped off by a ghastly, dissonant guitar solo, the Arnold Corns version reveals little sign of the Sturm und Drang that would soon guarantee the song its status as a milestone of glam. Yet another early version, this time a try-out apparently recorded during the Ziggy Stardust sessions, was sold online in 2013 with an accompanying demo of "Starman".

     "Hang On To Yourself" went on to inspire another defining moment in 1970s rock, as The Sex Pistols' Glen Matlock later explained: "We got a lot of stuff from The Spiders - that riff in "God Save The Queen" didn't come from Eddie Cochran, it came from Ronno." In fact the song was something of a punk favourite: it was played live by the cult Los Angeles outfit The Germs, covered by the Northern Irish band Victim as the B-side of their 1980 single "The Teen Age", and provided the inspiration for The Vibrators' 1977 track "Wrecked On You".

     David included "Hang On To Yourself" in three BBC sessions in 1972, on January 11th and 18th and May 16th; the last two recordings were both included on Bowie At The Beeb. It appeared throughout the Ziggy Stardust and Stage tours, and cropped up again for the first few Serious Moonlight dates, making more regular appearances 20 years later on A Reality Tour.

HANGIN' ROUND (Reed)

Co-produced by Bowie for Lou Red's Transformer and based on a riff that starkly betrays "Suffragette City"'s debt to Reed, "Hangin' Round" benefits from Mick Ronson's superbly tight guitar and boogie-woogie piano, and boasts the mind-boggling line: "Cathy was a bit surreal, she painted all her toes / And on her face she wore dentures clamped tightly to her nose."

HARD TO BEAT (Pop/Williamson) see YOUR PRETTY FACE IS GOING TO HELL

HARLEM SHUFFLE (Relf/Nelson)

Bob & Earl's 1963 single was played live by The Buzz.

HAVING A GOOD TIME

Produced by Bowie during the 1973 Astronettes sessions, and included on 1995's People From Bad Homes, this attempt at a Phil Spector-style "wall of sound" production features multi-layered vocals from Jason Guess and Geoffrey MacCormack. The best thing about the track is the opening snippet of studio banter in which a laughing Bowie is clearly heard to enquire "I beg your sodding pardon?" The song's authorship remains in doubt.

HE WAS ALRIGHT see LADY STARDUST

HE'S A GOLDMINE see VELVET GOLDMINE

THE HEARTS FILTHY LESSON (Bowie/Eno/Gabrels/Garson/Kizilcay/Campbell)

  • A-Side: September 1995

  • Album: 1.Outside

  • B-Side: February 1996

  • French Promo: February 1997

  • B-Side: April 1997

  • Live: Earthling In The City/liveandwell.com

  • Bonus: 1.Outside (2004)

  • Video: Best Of Bowie

Released ahead of its parent album in September 1995 and rapidly establishing itself as a strong item in Bowie's live repertoire, "The Hearts Filthy Lesson" (the lack of apostrophe is apparently deliberate) was a perverse but strangely magnificent choice of lead-off single. To the uninitiated it's a tuneless din described by Vox as "dire, chug-chug pop...which runs out of steam very quickly." To the converted, it's a stunning slab of industrial techno-rock, providing a towering backdrop over which Mike Garson lays eccentric jazz-piano figures while Bowie wheezes a deranged lyric about detective Nathan Adler's relationship with body-parts jeweller Ramona A. Stone. Bowie later described the lyric as "a montage of subject matter, bits from newspapers, storylines, dreams and half-formed thoughts...Overall it became quite powerful and a forbidding piece of work that still disturbs. But I'm buggered if I know what it means." The sinister collision of nursery-rhyme innocence and ultra-violence ("what a fantastic death abyss!") lands implausibly somewhere between Laurie Anderson and early Stooges, managing to be at once hilarious and spine-chilling. When the rhythm track stops for Bowie's childlike query "Paddy, who's been wearing Miranda's clothes?", he scores his first genuinely magic moment in many a long year.

     Guitarist Reeves Gabrels later recalled that Bowie was initially undecided about the song, and recorded a second, more conventional lyric on the theme of English landscape painters. "I came back and heard it," Gabrels told Paul Trynka, "and said, 'David, that's nice and all - but it's kind of destroyed the essence of the song, don't you think?'" The discussion went no further, but the alternative lyric was consigned to oblivion.

     The video was directed by Sam Bayer, best known for Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Bowie's preparatory jottings for the video read: "James Joyce was painting and cutting up / Brion Gysin + W. Burroughs / 30,000 yrs of practices / eating placenta + drinking menstrual blood." Although none of these elements is readily apparent in the finished product, it's certainly among Bowie's more confrontational pieces. MTV refused to screen the original edit, and even the re-cut version proved alarming enough: a sepia-tinted succession of ominous images as Bowie and his followers, in tattered vests and overalls, embark on a ritualistic orgy of suggestive acts in an artist's studio, writhing in dust, daubing themselves in paint, hanging themselves, breaking down walls, displaying body-piercings, dismembering and decapitating mannequins to build a Minotaur. It's a descendant of the Glass Spider tour's abstract choreography, but here the three-ring circus gives way to an X-rated nightmare: there are cutaway shots of skulls, gibbets, candles and gruesome objects in pickling jars, while all the time a skeletal string puppet drummer thrashes out the rhythm. Like the single it was brilliant, frightening, and unlikely to woo the mass market. In Britain "The Hearts Filthy Lesson" reached number 35, while in America it limped to 92. But the point had been made: Bowie repeatedly told interviewers that he wanted 1.Outside to be judged on artistic merit rather than chart potential, and if he'd wanted a short-term hit he knew full well that there were far more obvious candidates on the album. "The Hearts Filthy Lesson" wasn't just a single; it was a statement.

     Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, who supported the US leg of the Outside tour, was responsible for the "Alt. Mix" available on the single formats, while the original version was used as the closing title music for David Fincher's uncannily 1.Outside-like film thriller Seven. Five remixes were included on the 2004 reissue of 1.Outside. "The Hearts Filthy Lesson" featured throughout the Outside and Earthling tours; a live version from the 1996 Phoenix Festival appeared on a sampler CD issued with early French pressings of Earthling, and was later included on liveandwell.com (whose liner notes erroneously claim it hails from the following year's festival). A live recording from Bowie's fiftieth birthday gig appeared on the limited-edition GQ magazine CD Earthling In The City.

HEAT

  • Album: The Next Day

The Next Day's closing number was among the first to be completed: it was tracked on May 6th 2011 and Bowie recorded his lead vocal on November 5th the same year. It is one of the quiet masterpieces of his later career: a profoundly imagined, superbly controlled piece of work which gathers up the distilled loneliness, self-doubt and existential anxiety of fifty years of songwriting, and boils them away on a slow, relentless simmer. Anchored by Gail Ann Dorsey's prowling bass and David's softly strumming acoustic guitar, "Heat" gradually accumulates layers of ambient guitar and an outbreak of frenzied violins. Against this ornate backdrop Bowie delivers one of the album's finest vocals, pressing into service what Tony Visconti described as "his handsomest voice": languid, sonorous, minimalist, aching with suppressed pain and regret.

     Musically, the closest antecedent in Bowie's songbook is "The Motel", and with good reason: both songs are openly indebted to Scott Walker, evoking the soundscapes and subject matter of 1984's Climate Of Hunter and the 1978 single "The Electrician", taken from Nite Flights, a favourite album of David's whose title track he had covered on Black Tie White Noise. If "The Motel" had distantly echoed "The Electrician", the melody and chord progressions of "Heat" make the connection explicit; but where the Walker song opens up midway and spreads its wings on a flight of symphonic grandeur, Bowie sticks to the dark, metallic atmosphere of the verses, denying us any release from the building sense of unease, and his lyric takes us somewhere entirely new. Itself influenced by Bowie's "Warszawa", Walker's "The Electrician" is an oblique, impressionistic horror tableau in which torture, eroticism and love coalesce: some have suggested that Walker's narrator is an electric-chair executioner in the United States, others a sadistic officer inflicting electric-shock torture in a South American police station, but the song transcends any such specificity; so does "Heat", in which Bowie's opaque chant of "My father ran the prison" need not be taken as a reference to Walker's song, still less a reference to David's (or anyone else's) father. That intriguing choice of the definite article - "the prison", rather than the more obvious "a prison" - is a miraculous little touch, bestowing a nagging sense of mystery and hinting at an untold backstory with which Bowie has no intention of acquainting us. Whatever it is, we may assume that the prison is unlikely to be the kind built of bricks and mortar.

     "The lyrics are so bleak I asked him what he was talking about," Tony Visconti told The Times. "'Oh, it's not about me,' he said. None of these songs are. He's an observer." Visconti's point is well made, but clearly "Heat" finds Bowie once again pacing his familiar territory of spiritual uncertainty. "And I tell myself I don't know who I am," he sings, over and over, before arriving at the bleak conclusion that "I am a seer and I am a liar," resurrecting that old preoccupation with the thin line dividing the visionary from the phoney, and echoing that youthful anxiety about "how the others must see the faker."

     In keeping with The Next Day's house style, Bowie opens the proceedings with a wilfully obscure literary reference, as if challenging the listener to scurry off and locate it. We aim to please: this time the source text is Spring Snow, a 1969 novel by Yukio Mishima, the Japanese author and actor whose life, work and violent death (he committed ritual seppuku in 1970 after leading a failed coup d'état) had long fascinated Bowie. He first spoke of Mishima during the Ziggy years, and later painted portraits of the author while living in Berlin, and alluded to Mishima's essay Sun And Steel in the lyric of "Yassassin". (No doubt coincidentally, the 1985 biopic Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters was Paul Schrader's next directing project after working with Bowie on Cat People.) The first novel in Mishima's Sea Of Fertility series, Spring Snow is set in the early years of the twentieth century, and concerns itself with the changes and conflicts wrought on Japanese society by westernisation. Early in the novel, the gruesome discovery of a dead dog, blocking and polluting a waterfall, is seen as an ill omen for the lives and relationships that lie ahead: "'I wonder what can be the matter. Something seems to have lodged itself up there," his mother said to the Abbess, though she seemed to be aware that something was wrong, said nothing and smiled as before...'Isn't it a black dog? With its head hanging down?' said Satoko quite plainly. And the ladies gasped as if they were noticing the dog for the first time...The dog's black fur glistened in the clear spray, its white teeth shining in the gaping, dark red, cavernous jaws."

     Hence, at the opening of Bowie's lyric: "Then we saw Mishima's dog / Trapped between the rocks / Blocking the waterfall / The songs of dust, the world would end." Choosing to begin a song with "Then" takes a poet's audacity, plunging us into a fragmented narrative: very modernist, very T S Eliot, very Bowie. There's a similarly poetic delicacy throughout the "Heat" lyric. When David sings "I can only love you by hating him more / That's not the truth, it's too big a word", he might be channelling Arthur Rimbaud or Sylvia Plath.

     In his cryptic lexicon for The Next Day, the three words that Bowie ascribed to "Heat" were "tragic", "nerve", and "mystification". That just about covers it; it's a haunting, brooding, powerful song, superbly sung, dripping with opaque horror and crackling with unreleased tension. On this strangest and darkest of albums, it's a magnificent finale.

HEATHEN (THE RAYS)

  • Album: Heathen

  • Live: A Reality Tour

  • Live Video: A Reality Tour

"The song "Heathen" came together quite early on in the making of the album," Bowie revealed in 2002. "The words were literally tumbling out for it. I was very alone, very isolated up in the studio, as is my wont, at five or six o'clock in the morning. I was up in the studio on my own, waiting for everybody else to get up, and I was kind of putting the day's work together. And this thing started appearing before me. I'd already written a melody that I very much liked, and the words started appearing out of nowhere, and I just couldn't control them. And I realised what it was that it was about, and I really didn't want to write it, because I didn't feel sure that I really wanted to voice or articulate those particular thoughts at this time. But it just wouldn't stop, and I had to write it, and I was in tears by the end of the thing. It was a traumatic moment for me. Possibly it was an epiphany. I don't know, I'll have to go and look at "epiphany" in the dictionary and see if it was an epiphany. I think it was a traumatic epiphany!"

     Even by the grim standards of Heathen, the subject matter of the song that became its title track is among the bleakest and most disturbing that Bowie ever addressed. "Heathen" is about knowing you're dying," he explained. "It's a song to life, where I'm talking to life as a friend or lover. I virtually couldn't change a word the moment I sung it into a tape recorder." When asked about the significance of the word "heathen", he explained: "It's not a dialogue between a man and life itself, so it's almost pagan in some respects, but it definitely has a heathen propensity in that way. It's a man confronting the realisation that life is a finite thing, and that he can already feel it, life itself, actually going from him, ebbing out of him, the weakening of age. And I didn't want to write that! You know, I didn't want to know that I do feel that. Who does?" Hence, as on several of the album's songs, the language of a straightforward love lyric disguises a darker subject: "You say you'll leave me / And when the sun is low and the rays high / I can see it now, I can feel it die."

     Musically, too, "Heathen (The Rays)" offers a culmination of the album's styles, with a slowly building arrangement echoing the ambient menace of the opening track, and a return of the multi-layered backing vocals which are one of the album's trademarks. The threatening wall of synthesizers recalls the doom-laden tones of Berlin-era tracks like "All Saints" and "Sense Of Doubt", while the final fade ends the album on a suitably inconclusive dying ebb.

     "Heathen (The Rays)" was performed live throughout the Heathen and A Reality tours, featuring in the BBC radio session of September 18th 2002 and on the edition of Later...With Jools Holland recorded two days later. At 2003's Tibet House Benefit Concert David fronted a beautiful acoustic rearrangement for guitar and strings orchestrated by Tony Visconti, who accompanied him alongside Gerry Leonard and the Scorchio Quartet.

HEAVEN'S IN HERE

  • Album: Tin Machine

  • US Promo: 1989

  • B-Side: October 1991

  • Live: Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby

  • Live Video: Oy Vey, Baby: Tin Machine Live At The Docks

  • Video Download: May 2007

After the disappointments of the mid-1980s, Tin Machine's first track seems to promise more in its opening bars than Never Let Me Down had achieved in an album's worth of songs. The lolloping blues riff, bursts of gunshot percussion and thrilling dynamics bode well, while the lyric impresses with a religious re-styling of Let's Dance's pugilistic motif ("I'm taking a swing at this shadow of mine, crucifix hangs and my heart's in my mouth..."). But, like Tin Machine in general, "Heaven's In Here" fails to live up to its initial promise, degenerating into an unwieldy blustering racket and seriously outstaying its welcome. Plans to release the track as a four-minute single in 1989 went no further than the promo stage, although a posed "performance" video was shot by Julien Temple in the standard 1989 Tin Machine style. The video was released as a download in 2007.

     "Heaven's In Here" was Tin Machine's first major public performance at the International Music Awards in New York on May 31st 1989. Thereafter it featured throughout both tours, a live BBC version being taped on August 13th 1991 and a bloated twelve-minute rendition appearing on Oy Vey, Baby. During the It's My Life tour Bowie often interpolated lines from other songs into the hushed middle section, including his Absolute Beginners cover "Volare", Peggy Lee's signature song "Fever", the West Side Story number "Somewhere", Roxy Music's "In Every Dream Home A Heartache", Muddy Waters's "I'm A King Bee" and "Baby Please Don't Go", Ernie K-Doe's' "A Certain Girl", John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom", Cream's "I Feel Free", Johnny Kidds's "Shakin' All Over", Sly & The Family Stone's "(You Caught Me) Smilin'", Cole Porter's "You Do Something To Me", Kraftwerk's "Radioactivity", Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall", The Troggs' "Wild Thing", Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe", the Steam/Bananarama hit "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)", the traditional "You And I And George", and even the jazz standard "April In Paris". The "Heaven's In Here" guitar intro resurfaced on some dates of the Earthling tour as a prelude to "The Jean Genie".

"HELDEN" see "HEROES"

HELLO STRANGER (Lewis)

On October 6th 1964 The Manish Boys made their first recording for Decca. Produced by Mike Smith (or possibly Mickie Most) at Regent Sound Studios in Denmark Street, the session comprised Barbara Lewis's "Hello Stranger", Gene Chandler's "Duke Of Earl", and Mickey & Sylvia's "Love Is Strange", all of which the band had been playing live. The first number was mooted as the group's debut single (and was even announced as such in the pages of Beat 64 magazine the following month), but the studio recording proved problematic and the initial take was scrapped because the vocal styles of David and bassist John Watson were thought to be mismatched. A second session at Regent Sound on October 12th saw another attempt to record the three numbers, but with no greater success. "Love Is Strange" was apparently abandoned because the group had little faith in the song itself. "We all had mixed feelings whether it would work," saxophonist Woolf Byrne told the Gillmans. "A few months later The Everly Brothers had a massive hit with it." These unreleased recordings have never come to light.

HENRY AND THE H-BOMB see SWEET JANE

HERE COMES THE NIGHT (Berns)

  • Album: Pin Ups

A number 2 hit for Van Morrison's Them in 1965 (and a number 50 flop for Bowie's future collaborator Lulu in 1964), "Here Comes The Night" receives a full-blooded Pin Ups makeover, with a marvellously theatrical Bowie vocal punctuated by blasts of Ken Fordham's baritone sax. "We were particularly pleased with that," enthused David at the time. "We got a real Atlantic horn sound." An early studio try-out finds Bowie singing at full tilt throughout, rather than dropping into the softer tone he uses for the verses in the finished version. More than three decades later, the Pin Ups recording featured in the soundtrack of the 2009 comedy horror film Suck.

HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW (Bonner/Harris/Jones/Middlebrooks/Robinson/Satchell/Webster)

  • Bonus: David Live/David Live (Expanded 2005 Reissue)

Bowie's beautifully soulful live cover of the Ohio Players number (originating on their 1968 album Observations In Time, where it was originally entitled "Here Today And Gone Tomorrow") was included on the Rykodisc edition of David Live, which inaccurately credits the songwriting to David himself, and was subsequently reinstated with full credits on the 2005 reissue. "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" offers a clear indication of the direction in which Bowie's interests were moving a month prior to the Young Americans sessions. Quite why it was left off the original cut of David Live is a mystery, as it's one of the finest recordings from the show; perhaps the reason is David's split-second fluff as he momentarily begins the chorus instead of repeating the second verse.

     Some sources have claimed that "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" was never played at the 1974 Philadelphia concerts, giving rise to the notion that the recording hails from a soundcheck rather than from an actual gig - but the 2005 reissue of David Live, together with Bowie's announcement before "Knock On Wood" that "We're gonna put in some extras tonight, some silly ones," demolishes this myth, as does the subsequent discovery of a professionally shot video of a Philadelphia concert which includes the number. Whether "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" was taken into the studio during the Young Americans sessions remains uncertain, although more than one of the so-called "Sigma Kids" have claimed that it was among the raw studio cuts that David played to them in August 1974. Whatever the case, its lifespan in Bowie's repertoire was short, and it is not known to have been performed at any other dates on the tour - although another unsubstantiated claim has it that the song was played as an encore at the Tampa gig on July 2nd 1974.

"HEROES" (Bowie/Eno)

  • Album: "Heroes" (Different versions on French/German pressings)

  • A-Side: September 1977 (Different versions on French/German pressings)

  • Soundtrack: Christiane F.

  • Live: Stage/The Bridge School Concerts Vol. 1/The Concert For New York City/Glass Spider (2007 CD/DVD Release)/A Reality Tour

  • Compilation: Bowie Rare/Sound + Vision/Club Bowie/The Record Producers: Tony Visconti

  • A-Side: June 2003

  • Download: August 2009

  • French B-Side: March 2015

  • Video: The Video Collection/Best Of Bowie/Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas/Bing Crosby:The Television Specials Volume 2

  • Live Video: Serious Moonlight/Ricochet/Glass Spider/The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert/The Concert For New York City/A Reality Tour/Live Aid/The Bridge Street Concerts 25th Anniversary Edition

"He got up and sang in the microphone at the top of his lungs," recalled Tony Visconti of the day Bowie had laid down the vocal for this classic track. "You can hear on "Heroes" what he calls his "Bowie histrionics", his own peculiar style of yelling and screaming." David's virtuoso performance, building over six minutes from a soft croon to a throaty shriek, is the icing on the cake of one of his most exhilarating recordings. "There was no mistaking the sound," said Tony Visconti later."We had a feeling on tape immediately, and I carried that sound throughout every overdub. There's a kind of clanging metallic sound which is David or I hitting a big metal ashtray." Robert Fripp's soaring guitar line is a perfect complement to the pulsating bass (which is clearly indebted to The Velvet Underground's long-time Bowie favourite "Waiting For The Man"), while the shimmering background effects are, according to Visconti, "Eno magic" devised on the keyboardless EMS synthesizer often seen in vintage Roxy Music performances: "its piéce de resistance was a little joystick that you find on arcade games. He would pan that joystick around in circles and make the swirling sounds you heard on that track." In BBC4's 2016 series Music Moguls, Visconti treated viewers to a masterclass in the construction of the finished song, building up the individual tracks and post-production effects one by one.

     The backing track was laid down early in the "Heroes" sessions and for a time it seemed possible that it might remain an instrumental. David recorded his vocal after most of the musicians had left Berlin, and Brian Eno later revealed that although the backing "sounded grand and heroic" and "I had that very word - heroes - in my mind", he had no idea what the lyric would be until he heard the finished track. The lyric came to David  quickly, his handwritten notes revealing only one substantial alteration: the line "And we kissed as though nothing could fall" was originally "And the mirror cowered lest we fall".

     To capture David's vocal, Visconti devised an experimental system that made full use of the unusually spacious dimensions of Hansa Studios: "We had a microphone about the customary nine inches from his face, then we had another microphone about twenty feet from himself, then we had another microphone about fifty feet away." Each microphone was rigged with an electronic gate, of which only the nearest would open while David sang the quieter early passages. "If he sang a little louder, the next microphone would open up with the gate, and that would make sort of this big splash of reverb, and then if he really sang loud, the back microphone would open up, and it would just open up this enormous sound." The lead vocal took two hours to record, after which Bowie and Visconti added the vocal backing together.

     David famously recounted that "Heroes" was inspired by a pair of young lovers he used to watch from the window of Hansa Studios as they met by the Berlin Wall: "I thought of all the places to meet in Berlin, why pick a bench underneath a guard turret on the Wall? And I - using licence - presumed that they were feeling somewhat guilty about this affair and so they had imposed this restriction on themselves, thereby giving themselves an excuse for their heroic act. I used this as a basis." Tony Visconti later explained that this was in fact a fanciful interpretation of a fling he was having at the time with "Heroes" backing singer Antonia Maass. "It was us," he told the Gillmans. "Coco [Schwab] was sitting up in the control room with David, and both he and Coco said, 'We saw you walking by the wall,' and that's where he got that idea from." Visconti would later point out that Bowie's version of the story was as much an act of diplomacy as anything else: "Because I was married at the time, David protected me all these years by not saying that he saw Antonia and me kiss by the wall." This was later confirmed by Bowie himself: "Tony was married at the time, and I could never say who it was," he admitted in 2003. "I think possibly the marriage was in the last few months, and it was very touching because I could see that Tony was very much in love with this girl, and it was that relationship which sort of motivated the song."

     Another inspiration was a painting in Berlin's Brucke museum, where David and Iggy Pop had spent many hours, even adapting the pose of Erich Heckel's painting Roquairol for the sleeve photographs of The Idiot and "Heroes". A work much admired by David was Otto Mueller's 1916 painting Lovers Between Garden Walls, which depicted a couple locked in a passionate embrace between two looming walls representing the carnage of the Great War.

     In the foreword of his wife's 2001 book I Am Iman, Bowie revealed yet another source for the song in the form a little-known short story called A Grave For A Dolphin, written in 1956 by an Italian Duke, Alberto Denti di Pirajno. The story concerns the doomed love affair between an Italian soldier and a Somalian girl during the Second World War: the girl's destiny seems inextricably linked with that of a dolphin she swims with, and when she dies, so too does the dolphin. "I thought it a magical and beautiful love story," David wrote, "and in part it had inspired my song "Heroes".

     These images of doomed love and fragile optimism in the face of adversity are instructive, for "Heroes" is by no means the feelgood anthem it's often taken for. Like the album whose name it shares, the title is embraced by quotation marks to express what Bowie called "a dimension of irony", and despite its serenely uplifting chord sequence and the delirious abandon of the vocal, "Heroes" certainly has its dark side. There are hints at David's ongoing marital traumas, alongside other biographical confessions: "I wish I could swim" is no mere aspirational image, for David genuinely couldn't until ten years later. "I couldn't swim a stroke until last year," he said in 1987, "Now I can do a couple of lengths of the pool." (In 2000 he revealed that "I've never swum again. I swam once, it was quite enough for me.") More ominous are the references to the binge-drinking that temporarily took the place of cocaine in Berlin. "I became an alcoholic," he said later. "I knew I had to pull away from that drug addiction, but what the body does is it lets itself open for any other kind of addiction. You replace one with another and in my case I went straight to whisky and brandy and stuff like that."

     "Heroes" sets its cautious optimism in the face of just such human frailties. "You can be mean, and I'll drink all the time" is hardly the most promisingly heroic sentiment, and the repeated acknowledgement that "nothing will keep us together" presses home the point that time is short. It's surely significant that the reiterated "just for one day" harks directly back to one of David's most darkly personal lyrics, "The Bewlay Brothers". The only way to be heroes "for ever and ever" is to "steal time" and enter a fantasy of immortality, but this is a never-land which he now rejects, finally content to be what "Quicksand" had long ago described as "a mortal with potential of a superman". The real triumph is to be heroes "just for one day", and by conferring heroism on the everyday rather than on the extraordinary Bowie was entering a territory far removed from his early 1970s Ubermenschen. In doing so, he was also notably adopting a favourite theme of many of the twentieth-century painters he had begun most closely to admire.

     "Heroes", then, is a painfully compassionate song that grasps at an optimistic future in a present full of disillusion. As Bowie explained, the song was about "facing reality and standing up to it", about achieving "a sense of compassion" and "deriving some joy from the very simple pleasure of being alive."

     The edited single version of "Heroes" became the subject of a publicity push unrivalled since the days of "Space Oddity". In September 1977 Bowie performed the song for Granada TV's Marc (see "Sitting Next To You") and Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas (see "Peace On Earth"), while October 19th saw his first Top Of The Pops appearance since 1973. Here he laid down a new live recording of "Heroes", with Tony Visconti on bass and new recruit Sean Mayes, whose group Fumble had supported Bowie back in 1973, on keyboards. For the actual show Bowie mimed to the new recording with none of the band present, and in one of pop's amusing coincidences, in the very same week The Stranglers' anthemic "No More Heroes" peaked at number 8. In the same month Bowie sang "Heroes" on the Dutch show Top Pop and the Italian programmes Odeon and L'Altra Domenica.

     Shot in Paris, Nick Ferguson's promotional video featured a simple series of shots of David, in the bomber-jacket he wore on the "Heroes" album cover, backlit in white light. The effect closely resembles "Maybe This Time", Liza Minnelli's showstopper on a very similar theme, from the Berlin-based 1972 film Cabaret. Confirming his newfound European allegiances, Bowie recorded special vocals in French ("Héros") and German ("Helden", with lyrics translated by Antonia Maass) for release as singles; these vocals were also grafted onto the opening English verses for the respective countries' album releases. The full-length "Helden" later appeared on the Christiane F. soundtrack album and on Bowie Rare, while a 1989 remix of the 7" version was included on Sound + Vision. The more elusive "Héros" can be found on EMI's 2007 compilation The Record Producers: Tony Visconti, and was released as a download (along with both versions of "Helden" and the Stage performance of "Heroes") in 2009.

     Despite all the frantic publicity "Heroes" was only a minor UK hit, climbing no higher than number 24. In America it didn't even chart, only later achieving recognition as a classic. "This is a strange phenomenon that happens with my songs Stateside," David remarked in 2003. "Many of the crowd favourites were never radio or chart hits, and "Heroes" tops them all." Not unlike "Life On Mars?", "Heroes" is a song whose ascendancy in the Bowie canon was a gradual process. Although a firm fixture throughout the Stage and Serious Moonlight tours, the song had yet to take its place among the encores: on both tours it was usually placed as the second number of the night. It wasn't until Live Aid that the song was transformed into the crowd-pleasing anthem it would remain for the rest of David's career. It was revived for the Glass Spider, Sound + Vision, 1996 Summer Festivals, Earthling, 2000, Heathen and A Reality tours. The Serious Moonlight version began with a touching rendition of the traditional folk-song "Lavender Blue" ("Lavender Blue, dilly dilly, lavender green, I will be king, dilly dilly, you will be queen", whereupon the "Heroes" melody burst into life). In 2015 the performance from the Serious Moonlight video appeared as the B-side of a French vinyl reissue of "Héros" exclusive to the David Bowie is exhibition. On some 1990 dates David sang the "Helden" lyrics. There were rousing revivals at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert, Bowie's fiftieth birthday show and, in an unusual semi-acoustic form, at the 1996 Bridge School benefits, from which a live recording made on October 20th appeared on The Bridge School Concerts Vol. 1 and The Bridge School Concerts 25th Anniversary Edition DVD. Five years later to the day, Bowie sang "Heroes" at the Concert For New York City at Madison Square Garden, a performance later included on the CD and DVD of the event. He also performed "Heroes" at the 2001 Tibet House Benefit concert at Carnegie Hall. His triumphant performance of the song at the Glastonbury festival in 2000 forms the climax of Julien Temple's 2006 documentary film Glastonbury.

     Philip Glass used the song as the basis for the first movement of his 1997 "Heroes" Symphony, and in the same year Aphex Twin grafted Bowie's original vocal onto the Glass version for a 3" CD single included with the Japanese release. This remix was later included on Aphex Twin's 2003 compilation 26 Mixes For Cash. In 2007 the "Heroes" Symphony version was used in a television commercial for Eurostar, marking the opening of the refurbished St Pancras International.

     Unsurprisingly, "Heroes" vies with "Rebel Rebel" as the most widely covered song in the Bowie canon. Among the dozens of artists who have covered it on stage or in the studio are Nico (who once made the utterly insupportable claim that Bowie actually wrote the song for her), The Wallflowers (for the closing credits of the 1998 film Godzilla), Oasis, Smashing Pumpkins, Travis, P J Proby, Iva Davies, Goodbye Mr MacKenzie, Jon Bon Jovi, Ed Harcourt, Joe Jackson, Kate Ceberano, Clan Of Zymox, Katherine Jenkins, Tombs, Apocalyptica (featuring Rammstein vocalist Till Lindermann singing the German "Helden" lyric), Letzte Instanz (again performing "Helden"), Arcade Fire, Hot Chip, The Feeling, and Blondie (whose 1980 live version, featuring Robert Fripp on guitar, later appeared on David Bowie Songbook). In 2000 King Crimson, boasting two former Bowie guitarists in Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew, introduced "Heroes" into their live repertoire. The song was even performed by the then Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy in a January 2002 edition of BBC1's Johnny Vaughan Tonight. (A long-time Bowie fan, Kennedy met his idol backstage at the 2000 BBC concert and again during A Reality Tour, informing The Mirror in 2001 that his favourite album was Station To Station. In 2003 he included "Young Americans" among his selection on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.) At a New York concert in January 2003 the Scorchio Quartet, who had played for Bowie at the Tibet House Benefit concerts and on Heathen, premiered a string orchestration of the song called "Heroes" Variations which had been written for them by Tony Visconti.

     At David's own request, another cover version was recorded by TV On The Radio for the 2009 charity album War Child Heroes. In the same year more than a hundred singers and musicians from the Scottish town of Helensburgh collaborated on a cover of "Heroes" as part of their ongoing Helensburgh Heroes Experience community project. For his 2010 covers album Scratch My Back, Peter Gabriel recorded a stripped-down version which also appeared on the same year's charity compilation Download To Donate: Haiti, in aid of victims of the earthquake which shook Haiti in January 2010. Gabriel's version resurfaced in a 2016 episode of the US horror series Stranger Things.

     Bowie allowed "Heroes" to be used in several advertising campaigns over the years, notably the internet service provider Wanadoo's 2004 campaign which featured a cover version by Nathan Larson. The song's profile was raised once again in 2001 by its prominent appearance in three motion pictures: it features in the soundtrack of Peter Howitt's thriller Antitrust, and forms part of the love medley performed by Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge (appearing as such on the accompanying soundtrack album), while Steve Coogan leads the cast  in a mass knees-up to Bowie's original recording as the credits roll on John Duigan's comedy The Parole Officer. In 2008 "Heroes" was included on the soundtrack album of the NBC drama series of the same name, and the following year it featured in another Steve Coogan film, What Goes Up. Also in 2009, Bowie's recording was used in trailers for Desperate Romantics, a BBC drama series about the Pre-Rapaelite Brotherhood, and appeared in the soundtrack of the film Ninja Assassin. The following year it was featured in the soundtrack of BBC2's Boy George biopic Worried About The Boy. The cast of Glee performed "Heroes" in a 2012 episode, and in 2014 actress Madelaine Mantock sang "Heroes" in the US remake of The Tomorrow People. In the same year a version by Janelle Monae was used in a Pepsi commercial.

     Following similar ventures by The Scumfrog and Solaris, in 2003 a profoundly irritating dance bootleg by David Guetta featuring samples from Bowie's original track was approved for official release. Credited to "David Guetta vs Bowie", "Just For One Day (Heroes)" duly appeared in June 2003 and scraped the lower reaches of the Top 75. The extended version later appeared on Club Bowie, while both this and the video (directed by Joe Guest, and consisting of shots of loved-up party-goers at an all-night rave) were included on the bonus DVD supplied with the 2003 American reissue of Best Of Bowie. The song was once again flung into the public consciousness when ITV commissioned a cover version by indie rockers Kasabian as the theme music for its coverage of the 2006 World Cup, while in 2008 Nike struck a deal to use Bowie's original recording in its television marketing during the Beijing Olympics. In the same year it was announced that a cover version by Irish trio The Script had been selected as an official anthem of the 2012 London Olympics. Bowie's original version was played as the British athletes entered the Olympic stadium during the opening ceremony on July 27th 2012, and during the games a snatch was played whenever the UK won a medal. On June 7th 2013, the Queen politely listened to The Script performing "Heroes" during a visit to the BBC's newly refurbished Broadcasting House.

     In November 2010 a cover version of "Heroes" was released as a single by the finalists in ITV's inexplicable talent show The X Factor, with proceeds going to the Help For Heroes charity. Unsurprisingly the single topped the UK chart, introducing a new generation to David Bowie by subjecting one of his greatest songs to the anodyne arrangements, Eurovision key-changes and sub-Mariah Carey karaoke yodelling which are the core ingredients in The X Factor's ongoing mission to eradicate real music from planet earth. Needless to say, the charity cause was utterly admirable, but the performance was enough to bring to mind Alexei Sayle's memorable rant: "Oh, it's for charity. That's all right then, if it's for charity, isn't it? You can do what you like for charity. If Hitler had invaded Poland for spina bifida, it would have been all right!"

     In 2011 Moby described "Heroes" as his favourite song "of the last hundred years". Bowie's original recording has proved a popular choice on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, featuring in the selections of figures as diverse as the Conservative politician and businessman Archie Norman in March 1998, violent celebrity motorist Jeremy Clarkson in November 2003, and human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti in November 2008. An artfully understated version provided the finale of the musical Lazarus. After David's death, "Heroes" unsurprisingly became a favourite choice at memorial events: among those who gave tribute performances were Blondie, Jakob Dylan, Lady Gaga and Prince, who added the number to his live set in March 2016, and in what would sadly be one of his own final performances.

"HÉROS" see "HEROES"

HEY MA GET PAPA (Ronson/Bowie)

The only composition ever co-credited to David Bowie and Mick Ronson is this track on Ronson's debut album Slaughter On 10th Avenue. Ronson later explained that it "really was me asking if he could put some words to the music. I was never really a writer, I was always more of a performer." The result is a glam stomper poised somewhere between "Velvet Goldmine" and late Beatles; like the same album's "Growing Up And I'm Fine", it has Bowie's fingerprints all over it. "Hey Ma Get Pa" was later included on the 2006 compilation Oh! You Pretty Things.

HIDEAWAY (Pop/Bowie)

Co-written and co-produced by Bowie for Iggy Pop's Blah-Blah-Blah.

HIGHWAY BLUES (Harper)

Originally from Roy Harper's 1973 album Lifemask, "Highway Blues" was covered by The Astronettes and produced by Bowie at Olympic Studios in late 1973, eventually appearing on 1995's People From Bad Homes.

HOLD ON, I'M COMING (Hayes/Porter)

Sam & Dave's hit was played live by The Buzz.

HOLE IN THE GROUND

This little-known number was originally recorded as a demo featuring Bowie playing guitar and singing harmonies to a lead vocal by George Underwood, who recalled that the other musicians were the Space Oddity band of Tin Renwick, Herbie Flowers and Terry Cox. If Underwood's memory is accurate, this suggests a likely date of 1969 or early 1970, but Tim Renwick has no recollection of the session. According to Underwood the song was being considered as a single, with a B-side called "Lump On The Hill" consisting of an instrumental continuation of the same track (a similar approach was taken for the single version of "Memory Of A Free Festival" in early 1970).

     Thirty years later, "Hole In The Ground" was resurrected and re-recorded during the Toy sessions. "It was this very, very simple - but fun - jam that we expanded on," pianist Mike Garson later recalled. "There was a lot of talk about that one." Garson, who described the number as a "crazy little groove thing", was not alone in his view: multi-instrumentalist Lisa Germano, who added a recorder refrain to the outro, later opined that "That song rocks!"

     Leaked online in 2011, the unreleased 3'30" Toy recording of "Hole In The Ground" reveals an agreeably laid-back number with a groove not a million miles away from the famous bassline created by Herbie Flowers for Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side".

HOLY HOLY

  • A-Side: January 1971

  • B-Side: June 1974

  • Bonus: The Man Who Sold The World/Ziggy Stardust (2002)/Re:Call 1

Some confusion surrounds the two studio versions of this Bolanesque slow-rocker, not least because of some misleading text on Rykodisc's reissue of The Man Who Sold The World. Recorded in the autumn of 1970 and now believed lost, the original demo of "Holy Holy" secured David his new publishing contract with Chrysalis, whose executive Bob Grace considered the song "fantastic". The first version proper was duly recorded at Island Studios in Notting Hill over three sessions on November 9th, 13th and 16th 1970. At the suggestion of David's new manager Tony Defries the recording was produced by Herbie Flowers, the bass player who, since making his contribution to "Space Oddity" a year earlier, had enjoyed chart success with Blue Mink: "Melting Pot" and "Good Morning Freedom" had both made the UK top ten. Flowers drafted in two of his Blue Mink colleagues, guitarist Alan Parker and drummer Barry Morgan, to play on "Holy Holy", but the session was not considered a huge success. "It was a weird one," Flowers later recalled. "I didn't like the song very much, and asked David to add another section which I played to him. He later dropped this and it was a much better song." The original recording is indeed a lethargic rendition, vastly inferior to the subsequent version, with Flowers's bass preposterously high in the mix. It's not difficult to see why it failed to trouble the charts when released as a single in January 1971, although Bowie did his best to promote the release, taping a performance for Granada Television's Newsday on January 18th 1971, wearing a Mr Fish dress and accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. Besides the same year's Arnold Corns recordings, the original version is unique among Bowie's 1970s singles in that it has only ever been released in mono.

     Lyrically, "Holy Holy" offers a revealing early example of Bowie's fascination with the writings of Aleister Crowley, soon to inform much of the writing on Hunky Dory. When Bowie likens himself to "a righteous Brother", he's referring not to the popular 1960s singing duo but to an Everyman figure who appears in the texts of Freemasonry and was later adopted in the terminology of the Golden Dawn. In this light, the line "I don't want to be an angel, just a little bit evil, feel the devil in me" marks a journey into the arcane pseudo-religious sexual practices of Crowley's highly suspect "Sexmagickal" system.

     The second take of "Holy Holy", taken at a faster pace and benefiting from Mick Ronson at his shimmering best, was recorded in the late summer of 1971 and briefly slated for inclusion on the Ziggy Stardust album. In the end it remained in the vaults until it was served up as the B-side of "Diamond Dogs" three years later, and it's this version, not the original, which later appeared on Bowie Rare and the Rykodisc reissue of The Man Who Sold The World. Contrary to what it says on the latter's sleeve-notes, after 1971 the original single version remained unreleased in any format until 2015, when it finally saw the light of day on Re:Call 1, included in the Five Years (1969-1973) set.

HOME BY SIX

This mysterious Bowie composition is thought to date from around 1967.

HONKY TONK WOMEN (Jagger/Richards)

In Philadelphia on November 29th 1972, Bowie played saxophone and sang backing vocals on Mott The Hoople's live encore of The Rolling Stones' 1969 hit. This performance can be heard on the 1998 compilation All The Way From Stockholm To Philadelphia.

HOOCHIE COOCHIE MAN (Dixon)

Willie Dixon's classic, famously covered by Muddy Waters in 1954, was played live by The King Bees and The Manish Boys.