1970  •  1971  •  1972  •  1973  •  1974  •  1975  •  1976  •  1977  •  1978  •  1979  •  1980



In 1964 David Jones was one of the many London boys scrounging for gigs, breaks, the right clothes – he scavenged those from Carnaby Street discard bins with Marc Feld (later Bolan).

He fronted a few bands, thinking he could ‘fake it’ in rock ’n’ roll. By 1967 he was David Bowie with a manager (Ken Pitt) and a recording contract. His debut album David Bowie (released the same day as Sgt Pepper) sank without trace and he spent 1968 immersed in Buddhism and mime with Lindsay Kemp and pondering his next move.

Pitt had already provided Bowie with the necessary catalyst. In December 1966 Pitt had met with Andy Warhol and Lou Reed at the Factory in New York and was given an acetate advance copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico, which he gave to Bowie on his return.

The Velvets, ‘sponsored’ by Warhol, opened Bowie’s eyes to the subversion of rock song orthodoxy and rejection of the Summer Of Love. Like Lou Reed, Bowie regarded tribalism, movements and fads with suspicion (Join Our Gang, The London Boys and Cygnet Committee).

Bowie had been experimenting with characters and narratives to write from several points of view. Warhol and Kemp showed how the artist could disappear from their work behind a wall of noise, lights, imagery and make-up.

Mary Angela ‘Angie’ Barnett was a fast-talking, intelligent, sophisticated, ambitious ex-pat American, studying at Kingston Polytechnic when she met Bowie in April 1969 at The Speakeasy. Angela was no stranger to controversy and as their relationship began, she schooled Bowie in the art of the dramatic gesture. There were always ‘incidents occurring’.

With a new record deal, Bowie’s fortunes finally turned around in July 1969 with Space Oddity, released with perfect timing nine days before the Apollo XI moon landing, followed by his eclectic second album (also called David Bowie) in November. It received lukewarm reviews but by then, Space Oddity had reached number five in the UK charts.

Angela found them a flat in Haddon Hall, a huge rambling place in Beckenham. In the next few years, Haddon Hall would become their salon – a Warhol Factory-like crucible for the creation of ‘David Bowie’.


Angela at Haddon Hall, 1970 photograph © Tony Visconti



Sunday January 4

Live: Beckenham Arts Lab, The Three Tuns, Beckenham

Mary Finnegan

Mary Finnegan  photograph © Ray Stevenson

In 1969 Bowie and landlady (and lover, at the time) Mary Finnegan had founded The Beckenham Arts Lab at their local, The Three Tuns. It was intended to be a collective of local artists working with various media. But as 1970 dawned, input from other artists was dwindling.

Bowie at the Beckenham Arts Lab, June 1969  photograph © Ray Stevenson

Tony Visconti (1976): It never happened because everyone was in awe of David. It turned out as David’s appreciation society. All the local Beckenham kids would come to the Arts Lab every week just to see David’s set and talk to him and be close to him after the set was over, because he’d just had that hit record. But as soon as he saw that, it took him about four months to realise that it was a complete bust and he gave it all up.

Thursday January 8

Trident Studios, 17 St. Anne’s Court, Soho, London
Producer: Tony Visconti

The Prettiest Star

David Bowie (vocals, guitar)
Marc Bolan (lead guitar)
Delisle Harper (bass)
Godfrey McLean (drums)

Bowie had recently written The Prettiest Star for Angela, who was spending Christmas 1969 with her parents in Cyprus. She loved the demo he played her over the phone so Bowie decided to record it as the next single.


Tony Visconti at Haddon Hall, 1970

Tony Visconti at Haddon Hall, 1970

After Bowie's self-titled debut (on Deram, 1967) sunk without trace, his publisher David Platz had introduced him to Tony Visconti, an American producer working in London. Visconti subsequently produced several Bowie recordings including the 1969 David Bowie album (excepting the Space Oddity single, which was Gus Dudgeon).

Visconti brought in Delisle Harper, Godfrey McLean and Marc Bolan to play lead guitar on The Prettiest Star.

Bowie (1976): Marc was just going through the stumbling with learning to play lead guitar and I liked some of the mistakes he was making and asked him if he’d like to come along and play lead guitar on it … and he produced a beautiful solo.

June and Marc Bolan in Tony Visconti's flat photograph © Tony Visconti

London Bye Ta-Ta

David Bowie (vocals, guitar)
Marc Bolan (lead guitar)
Tony Visconti (bass)
Godfrey McLean (drums and congas)
Rick Wakeman (piano)
Lesley Duncan, Sue and Sunny (backing vocals)

Bowie had first recorded London Bye Ta-Ta with Tony Visconti in March 1968 for Decca and submitted it and In The Heat Of The Morning as a proposed single. Decca rejected both songs so it remained unreleased. As the master tape disappeared, it would be re-recorded as the B-side for The Prettiest Star.

Sound + Vision (Rykodisc 1989)
David Bowie reissue (EMI 2009)
David Bowie reissue (Deram 2010)

Live: The Speakeasy, London

David Bowie (guitar, vocals)
Tony Visconti (bass)
Tim Renwick (guitar)
John Cambridge (drums)

Bowie asked Visconti to accompany him on bass, then called Tim Renwick from Junior’s Eyes, most of whom had played on the 1969 David Bowie album. In the club Bowie spotted their drummer Cambridge who happened to have his drums with him, so he set up and joined in. Bowie later asked him to join the band he was forming.

Tim Hughes was at the club, reporting on Bowie for Jeremy magazine:

This is the Speakeasy, the club for Top Pop People. David is doing the late night spot. Perched precariously on two boxes – a luminous elfin face surrounded by an aureole of blonde curls – he looks very vulnerable. He works hard. Numbers from the LP… Jacques Brel, some bawdy poems by Mason Williams, Buzz The Fuzz. Throughout the act there is a smattering of blasé applause. The reaction is disturbingly muted. It’s all over and David joins us at the bar. The elfin face looks puzzled. “I can’t believe it. The manager says I got a good reception. If that’s what happens when they like you – what happens when they hate you?”

Record Mirror, January 17

Record Mirror, January 17

Friday January 9

Tim Hughes and Trevor Richardson visited Haddon Hall with Johnnie Clamp, who photographed Bowie for Jeremy magazine (published in March).

The house is a monstrous folly of a place in deepest Beckenham. Light on. Door open. No sign of David. He’s just popped down to the shops for paraffin and meat for the night’s stew.

David takes us on a conducted tour of his mansion – ramshackle, yet strangely beautiful in its decay. Sweeping staircases, stained-glass windows, moulded ceilings, carved and tiled fireplaces. Liberty print blocks, art deco lamps, William Morris screens. There is an almost child-like excitement about the way he pounces on each new treasure. It’s infectious.

“We have only been here for a month, and we’ve hardly started yet. There is so much to do and it’s the wrong time of the year.” We wonder if he doesn’t get professional help. “No, it’s my first real place and I want to do it by myself.”

Sunday January 11

Live: Beckenham Arts Lab

Tuesday January 13

Trident Studios

The Prettiest Star
London Bye Ta-Ta

Wednesday January 14

Live: Old Tiger’s Head, Lewisham

Thursday January 15

Trident Studios

The Prettiest Star
London Bye Ta-Ta

Sunday January 18

Live: Beckenham Arts Lab

Thursday January 22

Live: Beckenham Arts Lab

Thursday January 29

Television: Cairngorm Ski Night
Grampian Television, Queens Cross, Aberdeen
Presenter: Jimmy Spankie
In-house band: Alex Sutherland Band

London Bye Ta-Ta

Broadcast February 27 (Grampian Television)

The only known picture of Bowie's performance on Cairngorm Ski Night

Friday January 30

Live: Johnston Halls, Aberdeen University, Aberdeen

Tony Visconti (bass)
Tex Johnson (congas)

Saturday January 31

Stage: The Looking Glass Murders
Gateway Theatre, Leith Walk, Edinburgh

In 1968 Bowie had worked with Lindsay Kemp on a production of Pierrot In Turquoise. Kemp was working on a new adaptation in Edinburgh and, hearing that Bowie was headed his way, had contacted Ken Pitt to ask if Bowie would be available. For the production Bowie reprised the role of Cloud and wrote two new tracks, Harlequin and Columbine as well as a new lyric for London Bye Ta-Ta, which became Threepenny Pierrot. These were recorded as a backing track along with Bowie’s When I Live My Dream. Kemp’s pianist Michael Garrett played organ.

Bowie (1979): I'm pretty eclectic, and I borrow and steal everything that fascinates me. I'm sort of a jackdaw, or is it a magpie? I can never remember. And Lindsay introduced me to things like Cocteau and the Theatre of the Absurd and Antonin Artaud and the whole idea of restructuring and going against what people generally expect – sometimes for the shock value, sometimes as an educational force. He just gave me the idea that you could experiment with the arts and do things and take dangerous risks that you wouldn't do in real life. And so you can use it as a kind of experimental area for trying out new life styles without having to take the consequences.



February 1970

Sunday February 1

Stage: The Looking Glass Murders
Gateway Theatre, Leith Walk, Edinburgh

Brian Mahoney filmed the production for the Scottish Television avant-garde arts series Another World, renamed Gateway after the theatre.

Bowie and Lindsay Kemp

Broadcast: July 8 on Gateway (Scottish TV)
Released: Love You Till Tuesday DVD (Universal 2004)

Tuesday February 3

Live: Marquee Club, 90 Wardour Street, Soho, London

Billed as David Bowie Junior’s Eyes

David Bowie (vocals, guitar)
Tim Renwick (guitar)
Tony Visconti (bass)
John Cambridge (drums)

John Cambridge had been raving about Mick Ronson, who he’d played with in The Rats in Hull. Bowie asked Cambridge to bring him to London.

Cambridge found Ronson working for the Hull Parks Department as a greenkeeper. Ronson was initially reluctant to throw in a steady job but agreed to come down to check out Bowie’s act. At the Marquee Cambridge introduced them, and they all went back to Haddon Hall.

Mick Ronson (1984): I picked up a guitar and jammed with him, Bowie said, "Hey, do you wanna come down to this radio show (John Peel's Sunday Show) and play with me?"

Bowie (1995): When I first heard him play, I thought ‘Ooh, that’s my Jeff Beck. He is fantastic, this kid is great’ and so I sort of hoodwinked him into working with me.

Wednesday February 4

There was no time to rehearse for the radio show as Bowie had a meeting with a film executive and an interview with Disc writer Penny Valentine who asked Bowie about his recent success and the upcoming award for Brightest Hope at the upcoming Disc awards.

“I suppose I want success, but not for the reason that people would think. I want to establish myself so that I can fulfil other desires by using success as a springboard and then swiftly disestablish myself . I suppose people think I am an escapist, but I get drunk with the things I want to do – and my own ambitions come before any career as such. Of course I’m pleased about the award. It’s probably based more on Space Oddity than anything, because that single stuck in people’s minds … The next album will be more solid. As the first side will be completely augmented it means specially writing a whole set of new material. The second side will be just me with guitar.”

Thursday February 5

Radio session: The Sunday Show introduced by John Peel
BBC Paris Studio, Lower Regent Street, London
Producer: Jeff Griffin

David Bowie (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Mick Ronson (guitar)
Tony Visconti (bass)
John Cambridge (drums)

Bowie solo acoustic:
Amsterdam (Brel-Shuman) / God Knows I’m Good / Buzz The Fuzz (Biff Rose) / Karma Man

With Visconti and Cambridge:
London Bye Ta-Ta / An Occasional Dream

Full band:
The Width Of A Circle / Janine / Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud / Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed / Fill Your Heart (Rose-Williams) / Waiting For The Man (Reed) / The Prettiest Star/ Cygnet Committee / Memory Of A Free Festival

After a quick morning rehearsal at Haddon Hall, the group had an afternoon soundcheck/rehearsal at the BBC for Ronson’s debut with Bowie.

Tony Visconti (2006): We were very under-rehearsed which was plain for all to hear.

Mick Ronson (1984): I didn't know anything, none of the material. I just sat and watched his fingers. After that he said, "Well, how about coming along and playing with me all the time?” So I agreed.

Ronson then returned to Hull to finish up at his council job.

Broadcast February 8 (Radio One)
Waiting For The Man was cut due to the radio session overrun.

Amsterdam, God Knows I’m Good, The Width Of A Circle, Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed, Cygnet Committee and Memory Of A Free Festival released on Bowie At The Beeb (Virgin 2000). The BBC master tape of this show was missing presumed wiped so Bowie provided a copy from his archive.

Sunday February 8

Live: Beckenham Arts Lab

Thursday February 12

Live: Beckenham Arts Lab

Friday February 13

Disc & Music Echo Poll Awards
Café Royal, Regent Street, London

Presenter Tony Blackburn presented the award, a gold disc in a leather case, to Bowie who gave it to Ken Pitt.

Bowie (1993): I was getting a prize for Brightest New Hope from Disc magazine. Wasn’t particularly pleased to meet Cliff, I was never a great fan of his.


Mick Ronson's plans announced in The Hull Daily Mail:

Ex-Rat gets his chance in big time

Saturday February 14

Bowie, Angela, Visconti and Liz Hartley took a quick trip to Hull to shop for antiques and to see Ronson, who was preparing to join them at Haddon Hall. Ronson introduced Bowie to Stuart George who had been working for The Rats, and would become Bowie’s bodyguard for the next decade.

Monday February 16

Mick Ronson moved into Haddon Hall, sleeping upstairs on the gallery overlooking the entrance hall staircase.

Anne Nightingale reported that Bowie could be ‘the giant heartthrob that Scott Walker was’ and that Bowie’s next single release would be The Prettiest Star. David and Angela had also decided to replace London Bye Ta-Ta with Conversation Piece, a leftover from the recent David Bowie album sessions.

Thursday February 19

Live: Beckenham Arts Lab

Sunday February 22

Live: Implosion, The Round House, Chalk Farm Road, London

David Bowie and Hype (billed as David Bowie) supported Caravan, The Groundhogs and Bachdenkel on the regular Sunday night event, Implosion.

Bowie had told Ken Pitt he wanted to introduce an element of hype into the launch of the new band, so Pitt suggested they name it Hype.

Bowie and Angela had suggested to the others at Haddon Hall (where most of the band were now living) that some sort of stage wear was needed to spice up the act. As the band rehearsed, Angela browsed the Charing Cross Road shops with neighbour and friend Mark Pritchett, devising costumes for the band based on different characters.

Liz Hartley, a creative seamstress, put the finishing touches. Accordingly, Bowie became Rainbow Man with silver crocheted briefs and a cape, John Cambridge was Cowboy Man, Ronson was Gangster Man and Visconti was Hypeman, dressed in white leotard with a cape and H crest.

Hype at the Round House photographs © Ray Stevenson

Bowie (1989): Bolan was there, and he was open-mouthed that we had the balls to camp it up so much. I think that was the first glam-rock performance. It was all jeans and long hair at that time, and we got booed all the way through the show. People hated it. They absolutely loathed what we were doing. It was great!

Friday February 27

Cairngorm Ski Night broadcast on Grampian Television.

Saturday February 28

Live: Basildon Arts Lab, Basildon, Essex

Hype shared top billing with High Tide, which included collaborators from Bowie's past – Tony Hill from Turquoise (1968), and the future – Simon House, who later joined Hawkwind and played violin on Bowie’s 1978 tour.

March 1970

Sunday March 1

Live: Beckenham Arts Lab

Tuesday March 3

Live: White Bear, Hounslow

Thursday March 5

Live: Beckenham Arts Lab

Friday March 6

Live: University of Hull West Refectory, Hull

Another ex-Rat, Benny Marshall joined them on Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed, reprising his harmonica part on the David Bowie album.

The Prettiest Star 3:11 Conversation Piece 3:05

single released in UK (Mercury 1135)

The Prettiest Star
Mono version reissued on
Sound + Vision (Rykodisc 1989)
Stereo version reissued on
The Best Of David Bowie 1969/1974
(EMI 1997)
and David Bowie (EMI 2009)

Conversation Piece
Recorded 1969 during the David Bowie (1969) sessions
David Bowie (vocals, guitar) Mick Wayne (guitar)
John Lodge (bass) John Cambridge (drums)
Produced by Tony Visconti
Mono version reissued on Space Oddity (Rykodisc 1990)
Stereo version reissued on David Bowie (EMI 2009)

True to Ken Pitt’s predictions, the single sold poorly and received a lukewarm response from radio although the music press was supportive:

Peter Jones, Record Mirror: Chart cert.

Penny Valentine, Disc: David Bowie has been very clever by not trying to repeat Space Oddity – an impossible task anyway – and yet managing to steer clear of his album material, which would have been far too heavy for a single … This has the most compact, catchy melody I’ve ever heard. A hit indeed.

The World Of David Bowie

compilation released in UK
(Decca SPA 58)

Side one
Uncle Arthur 2:05 / Love You Till Tuesday 3:08 / There Is A Happy Land 3:05 / Little Bombardier 3:22 / Sell Me A Coat 2:57 / Silly Boy Blue 3:47 / The London Boys 3:19

Side two
Karma Man 3:02 / Rubber Band 2:16 / Let Me Sleep Beside You 3:23 / Come And Buy My Toys 2:07 / She's Got Medals 2:23 / In The Heat Of The Morning 2:57 / When I Live My Dream 3:22

Cover photograph © Ted Bebbington

Ken Pitt and Bowie curated this collection of Bowie’s earlier recordings for Decca, drawing mainly from the 1967 debut album David Bowie (produced by Mike Vernon) with four tracks dropped to make way for The London Boys, a 1966 B-side and three previously unreleased tracks – Let Me Sleep Beside You, Karma Man and In The Heat Of The Morning. Recorded in 1967 and 1968, they were Tony Visconti’s first productions for Bowie.

Bowie had dismissed the songs at the time as ‘pop rubbish’ but in October 1969 Bowie played Let Me Sleep Beside You on the Dave Lee Travis Show radio session, telling listeners, “We’ve got a number that we’ve dug up today which was written about four years ago and hasn’t been out of the house. It’s the first airing it’s had anywhere … My mother thought the lyrics were dirty.”

Reissued in 1973 with a new Ziggy era cover photo, this was the first of many reissues of Bowie's recordings for Decca, PYE and Parlophone.

Saturday March 7

Live: Regent Street Polytechnic, London (David Bowie and Hype)

Gavin Petrie, Disc & Music Echo: David Bowie, in ten-league boots and groovy gear, presented his new backing group line up Hype, at London’s Regent Street Polytechnic on Saturday. He needs an expert on sound balance who should effectively solve the teething problems of the new line up. This show was a disaster. The volume on Mick Ronson’s lead guitar was so high that not only did he block out David’s singing but also completely overpowered John Cambridge’s drums. The volume also cleared the seats in a direct line with his speaker. That magic that makes for greatness is there but suppressed, sometimes even hidden. If my ears ever recover I expect to see David plus Hype in a few months’ time ... shining through.

Wednesday March 11

Live: Atomic Sunrise, The Round House, Chalk Farm Road, London

Sharing the bill with Genesis the performance was part of the week-long Atomic Sunrise festival. For the event, Angela and Bowie further developed his stage attire, on this occasion a silver jacket, a metallic belt and the sparkly silver tights he’d worn in the Space Oddity clip in 1969’s Love You Till Tuesday promotional film (first released in 1984). He topped it off with a satin cape and buccaneer style thigh-length leather boots.

The set included Memory Of A Free Festival, The Supermen, Waiting For The Man and Lennon’s Instant Karma.

Concert film Atomic Sunrise screened at The Round House March 11 & 12, 2013

Thursday March 12

Live: Royal Albert Hall, London [solo]

Bowie's 20-minute set was well received, despite most of the crowd being there for the main act, Irish tenor Josef Locke. Also on the bill were The Faces. After the concert Bowie and Angela told Pitt of their marriage plans.

Friday March 13

Live: Locarno Ballroom, Sunderland

Hype performed a one-hour set, again in costumes.

Saturday March 14

Live: University of Surrey, Guildford [solo]

Thursday March 19

Live: The Three Tuns, Beckenham [solo]

Bowie and Angela spent the afternoon at Kensington Antique Market, choosing Angela’s wedding dress for the following day. Bowie opted for black satin trousers.

Friday March 20

David and Angela Bowie's marriage ceremony
Bromley Registry Office, Beckenham Lane, Bromley

They overslept and arrived half an hour late. Bowie’s mother Margaret 'Peggy' Jones wasn't invited but turned up, having heard a rumour and found out the details. Visconti was busy at a Strawbs recording session, but Liz Hartley attended, along with John Cambridge, Roger Fry and artist Clare Shenstone. Cambridge was to be witness but Mrs Jones pushed forward to sign the register herself. Clare Shenstone was the second witness and signatory.

To their surprise, the press greeted them outside, as Bowie’s mother had alerted both the local papers. The group repaired to the Swan & Mitre pub across the street, where Bowie told The Bromley Times that there would be no honeymoon. “Unfortunately, I’m far too busy working.”

Saturday March 21

Trident Studios

Memory Of A Free Festival

Following the commercial failure of The Prettiest Star, Mercury had requested a new version of Memory Of A Free Festival which would be split over two sides of a single.

Sunday March 22

Trident Studios

Memory Of A Free Festival

Monday March 23

Trident Studios

Memory Of A Free Festival
The Supermen

The band also began work on a new song The Supermen, which traced back to 1965 when Bowie was in The Manish Boys. Working on their single I Pity The Fool was session guitarist Jimmy Page.

Bowie (1997): He just got a fuzz box and he used that for the solo, he was wildly excited about it and he was quite generous that day and he said, "Look, I've got this riff but I'm not using it for anything so why don’t you learn it and see if you can do anything with it".

The session was marred by John Cambridge’s difficulties with the rhythm. Ronson suggested Bowie replace him with ex-Rat Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey.

Wednesday March 25

Radio session: Sounds of the 70s: Andy Ferris
Playhouse Theatre Studios, London
Producer: Bernie Andrews

Waiting for the Man
The Width of a Circle
The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud
The Supermen

All songs except The Supermen broadcast April 6
Waiting For The Man released BBC Sessions 1969-1972 Sampler (NMC 1996)
The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud released Bowie At The Beeb: The Best Of The BBC Radio Sessions 68-72 (Virgin 2000)

Saturday March 28

'Hype and David Bowie's Future' by Raymond Telford, Melody Maker

Monday March 30

Live: Croydon Star Hotel, Croydon

John Cambridge’s final appearance with Bowie and Hype.

April 1970

Thursday April 2

Trident Studios

Memory Of A Free Festival

Friday April 3

Advision Sound Studios, 23 Gosfield Street, London

Memory Of A Free Festival

Visconti hired a Moog synthesiser from George Martin’s Air Studios. It was installed by engineer Chris Thomas, who had worked on The Beatles. Ralph Mace saw Ronson having difficulty with the Moog and told him “I can save you a lot of time if you let me do that.”

Saturday April 4

Trident Studios

Memory Of A Free Festival

Tuesday April 7

John Cambridge returned to Hull early in the morning, as Woody Woodmansey got the train from there to meet Bowie and Angela at Haddon Hall. Bowie played him all his songs on guitar and his two albums. Woodmansey passed the audition and, like Ronson, threw in his Hull job and moved in.

Ronson, Woodmansey and Visconti then signed a new separate record contract for Hype with Philips. Hype was paid an advance of £4000, which they put toward a new PA system and tyres for the van.

Photographer Pete Sanders took some publicity pictures of Ronson, Woodmansey and Visconti:

Visconti, who had begun soundproofing the basement at Haddon Hall to create an inhouse rehearsal space photographs © Pete Sanders

Tony Visconti (1982): We'd just go into the basement and make a lot of noise, and David would drift down every now and then for 15 minutes and say, "Hey! What's going on?" when we could get him away from Angie, so we had a lot of sketchy songs that we'd written in the basement.

Sunday April 12

Live: Harrogate Theatre, Harrogate (two shows) [solo]

On Ronson’s recommendation, Trevor Bolder came down from Hull to see Bowie perform.

Tuesday April 14
Wednesday April 15

Advision Sound Studios, 23 Gosfield Street, London

Memory Of A Free Festival

Friday April 17

Recording: The Man Who Sold The World
Trident Studios
Producer: Tony Visconti

All The Madmen

Still concerned about Ken Pitt’s management, Bowie met with Olav Wyper, who suggested three lawyers. He chose the first on the list – Tony Defries, who had worked with producer Mickie Most. Defries told Bowie he would get him out of Pitt’s management contract.

Bowie (1976): He said ‘I’m Tony Defries and I’m going to make you a star!’ .. haha!

Friday April 24

Bowie and Angela fired Ken Pitt as personal manager by letter.

Saturday April 25
Sunday April 26

Recording: The Man Who Sold The World
Trident Studios

Monday April 27

Live: Poco-a-Poco Club, Stockport [solo]

Bowie took the stage alone as Woodmansey had injured his finger.

Wednesday April 29

Pitt’s response to Bowie’s letter rejected claims of mismanagement and suggested they discuss ways of ending their professional relationship.

Thursday April 30

Recording: The Man Who Sold The World
Trident Studios

She Shook Me Cold

May 1970

Recording: Demos
Haddon Hall, Beckenham

Tired Of My Life

Bowie wrote the song when he was 16, and it was demo'd for the album but dropped without being recorded. Bowie later used the melody and some lyrics in the middle eight for It’s No Game in 1980.


Friday May 1

Recording: The Man Who Sold The World
Trident Studios

Running Gun Blues
Saviour Machine

Ralph Mace, who had worked on Memory Of A Free Festival, again played Moog on Saviour Machine.

Upstairs at Trident, Swedish journalist Bosse Hansson interviewed Bowie, telling him “You are going to be the Bob Dylan of the Seventies.” Bowie dismissed the comparison, and later expressed his disappointment with Dylan’s semi-retirement on Song For Bob Dylan.


Visconti and Bowie at Trident • Photographs © Rolf Adlercreutz

Tuesday May 5
Wednesday May 6

Recording: The Man Who Sold The World
Trident Studios

Thursday May 7

Bowie and Defries met with Ken Pitt to discuss the settlement of his management contract. Having invested money and time in Bowie, Pitt asked to be compensated for loss of future earnings. Defries stalled for time and the matter was settled later.

Sunday May 10

Live, television: Ivor Novello Awards
Talk of the Town, Charing Cross Road, Westminster

Space Oddity

Equal winner with Peter Sarstedt, Bowie picked up the award for Most Original Song for Space Oddity, which he performed solo with guitar, accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Les Reed.

Telecast live to Australia, US and Europe; broadcast on BBC Radio One

Tuesday May 12
Wednesday May 13
Sunday May 17

Recording: The Man Who Sold The World
Advision Sound Studios

Sessions from 2pm to midnight.

Thursday May 21

Live: The Penthouse, Scarborough, Yorkshire

Mark Pritchett guested on guitar for Woodmansey’s first gig with Bowie.

Friday May 22

Recording: The Man Who Sold The World
Advision Sound Studios

The Man Who Sold The World

The last song recorded for the album, with Bowie writing the lyrics on the spot at the last minute. With the vocals recorded and the mixes done, the album was complete. Later, outside Defries’ office on Regent Street, Visconti expressed his frustration – as producer – with Bowie's lazy attitude during the sessions, and his blind faith in Tony Defries.

Tony Visconti (1986): I said to David, ‘If you go with Tony Defries, I’m not going to go with you.’

Tony Visconti (2006): I felt terrible but Marc [Bolan] was about to become almost a full-time job for the next two years of my life.

Saturday May 23

Bowie and Angela in Scotland on a belated honeymoon.

June 1970

Tuesday June 16

Live: Cambridge University May Ball, Jesus College, Cambridge

Coming on after Deep Purple at 4am, Bowie and Hype played an acoustic set with Woodmansey on bongos and Mark Pritchett, who later described their performance as haphazard.

Friday June 26

Memory Of A Free Festival Pt 1 3:59 Memory Of A Free Festival Pt 2 3:31

single released in US
(Mercury 6052 026)

July 1970

Saturday July 4

Live: Queens Mead Recreation Ground, Bromley

The all-day outdoor concert was organised by Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green and included Mark Pritchett’s band Rungk, who would form the basis of Arnold Corns the following year.

Sunday July 5

Live: Implosion, Round House, Chalk Farm, London

Bowie’s last performance with Visconti and Hype Photographs © Byron Newman

Saturday July 18

Live: Fickle Pickle Club, Cricketers Inn, Southend-on-Sea

August 1970

Saturday August 1

Live: Rock With Shelter fundraiser festival, Southend-on-Sea

Bowie accompanied by Ronson on bass.

Tuesday August 4

As live work dried up so did the wages, so Ronson and Woodmansey moved home.

Woody Woodmansey (2013): We went back to Hull and started a band called Ronno. A while later we got a call from Bowie saying, ‘I’ve got new management, I’ve been writing and you’re the only guys who get where I’m at.’

Visconti and Liz Hartley had already moved out, tired of communal living.

Tony Visconti (2006): Haddon Hall had also become overcrowded with not just us, Angie and David, Mick Ronson, Woody Woodmansey, and Roger the Lodger, but also a constant stream of visitors staying late into the night.

September 1970

His band and producer gone and no work on the horizon, Bowie was despondent. Angela began chasing up work and suggesting new approaches.

Bowie’s publishing contract with Essex Music had expired and Defries was looking for a new deal. Lawrence Myers suggested Bob Grace of Chrysalis Music.

Bob Grace (1986): David came up to interview me with his wife, and he really did have some idea of where he was going. Played me what was then his latest single, Holy Holy, which I thought was great; of course I’d loved Space Oddity, and I took him on simply because I thought he was great and his songs were great. Everyone was telling me not to, that he was a has-been.

October 1970

Friday October 23

Bob Grace booked time at Radio Luxembourg studios to record demos. Bowie had no difficulty fulfilling Grace’s expectations of him.

Bob Grace (1987): All of a sudden, all these great songs suddenly started appearing. We used to do all the demos at the Radio Luxembourg studios. We could never have more than a couple of inches of lead on the guitars, otherwise it acted as an aerial and picked up the mini-cab rank down the road. That was why the place was so cheap. But it suited us, simply because David was writing so much stuff.

Saturday October 24

Visconti's production for Marc Bolan, T. Rex’s Ride A White Swan, reached number 2 in the UK chart.

November 1970


Wednesday November 4

The Man Who Sold The World

album released in US (Mercury 61325)

Side one
The Width Of A Circle
All The Madmen
Black Country Rock
After All

Side two
Running Gun Blues
Saviour Machine
She Shook Me Cold
The Man Who Sold The World
The Supermen

Monday November 9
Friday November 13
Monday November 16

Island Studios, Basing Street, Notting Hill
Producer: Herbie Flowers

Holy Holy

David Bowie (vocal, guitar), Herbie Flowers (bass), Alan Parker (guitar), Barry Morgan (drums)

Producer/bass player Herbie Flowers had worked with Bowie on Space Oddity. He enlisted Parker and Morgan from his band Blue Mink.

Letter to Bob Grace


December 1970

Bowie and Brian Eno both attended a performance by Philip Glass and his ensemble at the Royal College of Art.


Bowie Golden Years v2.0 will be launched in 2020

Bowie Golden Years v1.0 created and designed by Roger Griffin 2000
Bowie Golden Years v2.0 under construction 2017-2019

Photographs and texts have been credited wherever possible

this page updated December 10, 2019