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Space Oddity 5:05 The Man Who Sold The World 3:53

single released in US
RCA 74-0876 Chart peak 15

Wednesday January 3

Top Of The Pops
Studio TC8, BBC Television Centre, London

The Jean Genie

Bowie played maracas and harmonica while Ronson cranked up the volume, deafening the sound engineers. The third take was chosen for broadcast.

Dr Who was being filmed in another studio. Downstairs in the canteen, the Spiders were asked what characters they were playing in it.

RCA presented Bowie with his first gold record for The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, for over 100,000 sales in the UK.

After the broadcast the BBC repurposed the tape so the performance was presumed lost until 2011, when John Henshall, a cameraman on the show, revealed that he had 2-inch tape copy of broadcast quality.

Shortly after the taping, Henshall had asked TOTP producer Johnnie Stewart for a copy to include in his company’s show reel. Henshall's company Telefex specialised in visual effects, including the fisheye effect he used on the The Jean Genie.

Friday January 5

Green's Playhouse, Glasgow (two shows)

Saturday January 6

Empire Theatre, Edinburgh

Sunday January 7

City Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne

City Hall, Newcastle photos © Ian Dickson

Monday January 8

Bowie spent his birthday with the band at RCA’s pressing plant in County Durham with a tour of the production line and a cake.

Tuesday January 9

Guildhall, Preston

Wednesday January 17

Russell Harty Plus Pop

Studio 3, South Bank Television Centre, London
Producer: Nick Barrett
Director: Mike Mansfield

Drive-In Saturday
My Death (not broadcast)

My Death photo © Joe Stevens

Bowie appeared on Harty’s chat show to perform the new single Drive-In Saturday, promote the new album and to satisfy the curiosity of mainstream Britain, answering Harty’s frank questions with candour.

Friday January 19
to Wednesday January 24

Aladdin Sane recording sessions

Trident Studios, St. Anne’s Court, Wardour Steet, London
Producers: David Bowie, Ken Scott

Cracked Actor
1984 [early version]
John, I'm Only Dancing [new 'sax' version]
Lady Grinning Soul
Let’s Spend The Night Together
Panic In Detroit

NME's Charles Shaar Murray reported the progress of the new tracks, including a new version of John I'm Only Dancing, which was eventually held over and released as a single:

The door swings open and the entrant is nearly knocked off his teenage feet by a blast furnace rendition of John, I'm Only Dancing clawing its way out of the jumbo-sized speakers. The new cut of John has a murderously high energy level, which by comparison makes the single version sound like one man with a three-stringed acoustic. It virtually blisters the ears to make it even more obvious that the Spiders are one of our best bands. [216][Murray, Charles Shaar. ‘Goodbye Ziggy and a big hello to Aladdin Sane’ (NME, 27 January 1973)]

Ken Scott (1986): We wanted to make it that much rougher. Ziggy was rock'n'roll but polished rock'n'roll. David wanted certain tracks to go like the Rolling Stones – unpolished rock'n'roll. [013]

Charles Shaar Murray's report in NME that an "incomplete track called Zion has been replaced by Lady Grinning Soul" led to years of speculation about Zion, generally thought to be a seven-minute piece that Bowie played to writer Martin Hayman during July's Pinups sessions in France.

Mike Garson (2003): Lady Grinning Soul brought out the romantic playing in me that comes from composers like Franz Liszt and Chopin. I mixed this with elements of Liberace and Rodger Williams, which were styles of music that were always put down because they were so mainstream. I played in a very un-dissonant way here, where Aladdin Sane is about as dissonant as you can get. [325][Buckley, David. ‘Aladdin Sane 30th Anniversary Edition’ (EMI, 2003)]

Bowie has said that Lady Grinning Soul was about “someone I met, that I found enchanting. It was a London song.”

The lady in question was American singer Claudia Lennear, who had sung with Delaney and Bonnie, been an Ikette for Tina Turner and appeared in the films The Concert For Bangladesh and Mad Dogs And Englishmen.

Claudia Lennear

Claudia Lennear, 1973 photo © Norman Seeff

They met in Detroit when Bowie was passing through on tour, and Bowie had asked her to join the US tour in New York to sing the Juanita Franklin and Linda Lewis vocal parts.

Claudia Lennear (2014): He asked me for some input and we struck up a friendship after that. [McLeod, Pauline 'My favourite photograph by Mick Jagger's ex girlfriend, singer Claudia Lennear' Express, March 30, 2014)]

Eventually the idea was dropped in favour of having musicians doubling up on backing vocals.

Geoff MacCormack had worked sporadically in music – at one stage singing jingles for radio DJ Emperor Rosko’s show – and was now selling advertising space for Construction News.

Geoff MacCormack

Geoff MacCormack (2008): David lived in the same hometown as my mother did, so we kept in touch. My girlfriend at the time worked in a fashion store in London. The little jackets that David and his band wore, the little tight-fitting nylon zip-up jackets, they actually came from the shop. So one day, at my office, a phone call came in from David. He simply said, “You’re coming to America.” [280]

MacCormack also appeared on Panic In Detroit – one of the last tracks completed – on backing vocals and congas.

John ‘Hutch’ John Hutchinson had played with Bowie in 1968/69 and was now based in Scarborough. He heard that Bowie was looking for a guitarist for the US tour and got in touch.

John Hutchinson (2004): Mick Ronson and David phoned me at work and said, “We’re going to New York next week. Can you come?” My role was to play 12-string because David had previously played 12-string with the Spiders From Mars but he wanted more freedom to move around the stage. And the idea was that he’d get someone to play guitar who could also do backing vocals. I think there was a bit of a budget cut so we didn’t get backing vocalists. So Geoff MacCormack and I practised our falsettos and we did the girly vocals instead. [368]

RCA and Tony DeFries restructured the tour, with more dates in fewer, larger cities. He trimmed the entourage down to the band, road crew, Suzi Fussey (wardrobe, hairdresser and PA), Pierre Laroche (make-up) and Stuart George and Tony Frost (security).

Saturday January 20


Thursday January 25

Southampton to New York

Mick Rock accompanied Bowie and MacCormack to Southampton and photographed them in their cabin on SS Canberra.

Geoff MacCormack (2009): I'd only previously travelled on ferries crossing the English channel. The SS Canberra was something else. She towered above us like some giant wedding cake and this mode of travel made what was for me a fantasy journey even more surreal. Cruising to New York took about a week. Nobody really took much notice of Bowie, apart from a couple of swooning gay hairdressers; they were far too old to know anything about him. [Geoff MacCormack, Station To Station: Travels with Bowie 1973-1976]

Tuesday January 30

Bowie and MacCormack arrived in New York, staying at the Gramercy Park Hotel in Lexington Avenue.

Wednesday January 31

Ken Scott made an Aladdin Sane master tape comprising eleven tracks, ending with the new 'sax' version of John, I'm Only Dancing.



Walk On The Wild Side (Reed) 3:37 Perfect Day (Reed) 3:42

Lou Reed single released in US
RCA 74-0887 Chart peak 16

Lou Reed's first US hit. Like the BBC, US censors missed the reference to “giving head” but replaced “the coloured girls” with “all the girls”.

Sunday February 4 - Tuesday February 13

Tour rehearsals
RCA Studio A, 155 E 24th St, New York


Photo by David Gahr

RCA Studios, New York photo © David Gahr

Studio A was favoured by Elvis Presley and was used for recording movie soundtracks. Cherry Vanilla interviewed Bowie there for tour publicity.

John Hutchinson (2012): The rehearsals were very easy going. The sax players were good readers and Mike Garson is brilliant. Mick Ronson had written chord sheets and we were to use old-fashioned big-band style music stands throughout the world tour. The result of that was that I couldn't have played without the sheets – that way you never learn the songs, never commit them to memory.

Masayoshi Sukita (2011): A few days before the show at Radio City Music Hall, Bowie did a photo session, a rehearsal and an interview at RCA Studios. Yasuko Takahashi was working as the stylist, running here and there with costumes by Kansai Yamamoto that she’d brought over from Japan. They looked marvellous. [042]

Yasuko ‘Yacco’ Takahashi contacted Kansai in Japan, advising him to come to New York to meet Bowie.

Sunday February 4

Charles Mingus at The Village Gate

Monday February 5

Bowie, MacCormack and Hutchinson spent several evenings that week at Max’s Kansas City, socialising with Todd Rundgren, Allen Ginsberg and the New York Dolls.

Geoff MacCormack (2009): David dragged me down there to see Biff Rose. He'd written the anthem Fill Your Heart on Hunky Dory. But, to be honest, his set wasn't my cup of tea and I think David was a bit underwhelmed. Then another guy came on and sat down at the same piano and began playing something equally gloomy. We'd have left there and then if we hadn't had beers to finish. Just at the point where it was all getting too much, he strapped on a Fender Telecaster and the band struck up an anthem called Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street? That was the first time David and I saw Bruce Springsteen. [054]

Bowie (1998): The moment they kicked in he was another performer. All the Dylanesque stuff dropped off him and he rocked. I became a major fan that night and picked up Asbury Park immediately. [231]

Springsteen at Max's © Lily Hou

Bowie was so impressed by Greetings From Asbury Park NJ, he later covered three of the tracks – Growin’ Up, Spirit In The Night and It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City.

Wednesday February 7

Stevie Wonder party, Genesis club, New York

Stevie Wonder performed at Carnegie Hall supported by The Main Ingredient, which featured future Bowie collaborators Carlos Alomar and Emir Ksasan. That night Bowie met singer/model Ava Cherry.

Ava Cherry (2016): I was living in New York at that time and working in a nightclub called Genesis. My manager said, "There's this guy from England named David Bowie, he's really cool and he's coming into town to perform at Radio City [Music Hall]. You gotta listen to this album." So he gave me the Ziggy album, and I was like, "Wow, what a cool-looking guy." I played the record and was very impressed by the music. It's really different.

At the time, I was hanging out with Stevie Wonder and his entourage and they were performing at Carnegie Hall. David was performing at Radio City the next night. Stevie said to me, "Where do you think we should do the after party after Carnegie Hall?" And I said, "Why don't you do it at Genesis? It's a nice place, nice size, it's intimate." So that's what happened.

The night of the party, everyone was there — Aretha [Franklin], Gladys [Knight]. At some point, my manager came over and said, "David Bowie's over there!" He went over and got him and brought him over to me, and I said, "Oh my god, it's the guy on the record! It's Ziggy!" And he said, "Are you a singer?" I was not a professional singer at that point, but of course I wasn't going to say no. He said, "Listen, I've got this tour I'm going to do in Japan. Would you be interested in going?" I said, "Yeah, I am."

Bowie and Stevie Wonder at Genesis

Thursday February 8

A full page ad in Village Voice announces the upcoming show at Radio City Music Hall is “SOLD OUT so he will do it there again.”

Monday February 12

At Max’s Kansas City, Bowie and Angie spotted Todd Rundgren and Bebe Buell and introduced themselves.

Bebe Buell and Todd Rundgren photo Anton Perich

Bebe Buell and Todd Rundgren at Max's © Anton Perich

Bebe Buell (1997): I told him, “I’m Bebe Buell and this is my boyfriend Todd Rundgren.” He looked at Todd and said “I’ve heard of you – you’re supposed to be pretty fucking smart.” Todd said, “Yes I am, and I hear you’re supposed to be ripping me off.” David looked at him like he was out of his mind.

That week, Mike Garson told Trevor Bolder that he was on $800 a week and was shocked to learn that the Spiders were still on only $80.

Trevor Bolder (2007): So we saw DeFries before the Valentine’s Day gig at Radio City Music Hall and demanded a rise, or we were going home on the next plane. Bowie took offence, said that we were disloyal and that we owed him everything, although we could barely live on our wages.

US Tour II 1973

David Bowie: vocals, guitar, Minimoog, percussion
Mick Ronson: musical director, lead guitar, vocals
Trevor Bolder: bass guitar, vocals
Mick Woodmansey: drums
Mike Garson: piano, mellotron
John Hutchinson: rhythm guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar
Geoff MacCormack: percussion, vocals
Ken Fordham: tenor, baritone, alto saxophone
Brian Wilshaw: tenor saxophone, flute
Robin Mayhew: sound engineer
Peter Hunsley: stage manager
Mick Hince: equipment manager
Willie Palin: equipment manager
Stuart George: personal security to Bowie
Suzi Fussey: wardrobe mistress, hairstylist
Bob See: lighting director
Ron Meadows: lighting operator
Stephen Hurston: lighting operator
Jaime Andrews: road manager
Tony Zanetta: tour co-ordinator (MainMan)
Barry Bethell: tour manager (RCA)
Martin Pierpoint: assistant tour manager (RCA)

Geoff MacCormack (2007): Apart from Mike Garson – who was already installed on piano and mellotron – I was one of four new recruits. We all stood at one side of the stage. I have to admit that it was like having a backstage pass but being allowed to join in. However, it was interesting to witness, at such close quarters, how hard His Bowieness worked for his supper. Not that I knew it then, but he would require considerably more effort from me in future shows. [021]

Wednesday February 14

Radio City Music Hall, New York

Bowie and Yasuko Takahashi

Bowie and Yasuko 'Yacco' Takahashi photo © Sukita

New York's A-list turned out for the opening of US Tour II. The packed house watched Bowie’s descent on the gyroscope as Wendy Carlos’s Beethoven’s Ninth boomed through the speakers.

Mike Garson (2002): It was the ultimate in drama because the encore number was Rock 'n' Roll Suicide and after the song ended he fell on the floor. He definitely went unconscious for a while and then the doctors, nurses came in and he was fine but … it was scary. [370]

Angie and Cyrinda Foxe (obscured) photo © Lynn Goldsmith


Bowie meets fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto photo © Sukita

Bowie (2000): He presented me with virtually an entire wardrobe because he knew I was wearing copies of his stuff and he realised Ziggy was becoming very popular. It was the first real connection between a designer and a rock star. [030]

Thursday February 15

Radio City Music Hall, New York

Friday February 16

Tower Theatre, Philadelphia

Saturday February 17

Tower Theatre, Philadelphia (two shows)

Sunday February 18

Tower Theatre, Philadelphia (two shows)

The Mike Douglas Show
Studio A, KYW-TV studios, Philadelphia

Monday February 19

Tower Theatre, Philadelphia (two shows)

Friday February 23

War Memorial Auditorium, Nashville

Sunday February 25

Ellis Auditorium (North Hall), Memphis (two shows)

Monday February 26

Dolph Smith exhibition, Memphis Academy of Art

Local art teacher Dolph Smith and son Tim present Bowie with a work titled A Paper Airplane Having Just Spotted a Fallen Comrade photo © Cherry Vanilla


A Paper Airplane Having Just Spotted a Fallen Comrade

A Paper Airplane Having Just Spotted a Fallen Comrade © Dolph Smith


March 1973

Thursday March 1

Masonic Temple Auditorium, Detroit

Friday March 2

Masonic Temple Auditorium, Detroit

Sunday March 4

Aragon Ballroom, Chicago

(advertised but unconfirmed)

Monday March 5

Aragon Ballroom, Chicago

(advertised but unconfirmed)

Friday March 9

Chicago to Los Angeles

Star magazine's Patty Clark meets Bowie at Union Station, Los Angeles


Saturday March 10

Long Beach Auditorium, Long Beach

Monday March 12

Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood

After the sold-out concert Bowie hosted an end of tour party at the Lost On Larrabee organic restaurant.

Tuesday March 13

Bette Midler at Music Centre, Long Beach

Bowie and Claudia Lennear had a standing ovation as they entered.

Monday March 19

Geoff MacCormack (2009): Having completed the US, David and I had the delightful problem of getting from LA to Japan. This meant criss-crossing the North Pacific on one of P&O's finest, the SS Oronsay. Not as grand as the SS Canberra - smaller, older and shabbier - we rechristened her the Old Rancid. [Geoff MacCormack, Station To Station: Travels with Bowie 1973-1976]

Wednesday March 21

San Francisco to Vancouver

Friday March 23


Wednesday March 28


April 1973

John, I'm Only Dancing 2:41 Hang On To Yourself 2:38
single released in UK • RCA 2263


Rock ’n’ Roll Now
promo compilation released in Japan


Aladdin Sane
advance promo released in Japan
RCA 6100

Thursday April 5

Arrival at Yokohama, Japan




Bowie arrives to a royal reception from fans and RCA photos © Sukita



View from the deck photos © Geoff MacCormack

Geoff MacCormack (2009): Arriving in Japan, Bowie and I were on equal footing since it was his first time in the country. We'd been very much looking forward to this leg of the journey, and it didn't disappoint. Japan was every bit as intriguing and spiritual in a completely new way. It felt like we'd arrived on another planet. [Geoff MacCormack, Station To Station: Travels with Bowie 1973-1976]

Kansai Yamamoto presented Bowie with nine new costumes to add to the five he had given him in New York.

Bowie (1973): They’re based on the traditional Noh Drama costumes. Some of the great Noh actors wear as many as fifteen, one on top of the other, so that they can peel them off layer by layer. [160][Jackie, 21 July 1973]

Kansai in his studio with Bowie and Yacco Takahashi photo © Sukita

Friday April 6

Drive-In Saturday 4:30 Round And Round* (Berry) 2:39

single released in UK
RCA 2352 Chart peak 3


Press conference at Imperial Hotel, Tokyo

Photos © Koh Hasebe / Shinko Music Archive

Zowie and Angie photo © Midori Natsukawa

Saturday April 7

Rehearsals at RCA Nippon Victor Studios, Tokyo

Sunday April 8

Shinjuku Koseinenkin Kaikan, Tokyo

Monday April 9

The Bowies and Mick Ronson attended a tea ceremony in the Imperial Gardens. Later everyone watched a performance by kabuki star Tomasa Boru who later showed Bowie the techniques of applying kabuki make-up.

Woody Woodmansey (2016): One of the hairdressers from the show was fascinated by Trevor's long black hair and offered to come and style it like a traditional Samurai warrior for the gig. It would work perfectly with the stage outfit that June [Woodmansey] had made him for the tour – a kimono-style jacket with huge wings on the shoulders.

Tuesday April 10

Shinjuku Koseinenkin Kaikan, Tokyo

Bowie’s record sales in America were low so RCA were refusing to underwrite the US arena tour planned for later in the year. Bowie decided to retire the Ziggy character at the end of the UK tour, dispense with Bolder and Woodmansey and avoid the ignominy of a cancelled tour. MainMan would focus on Ronson as a solo artist.

Suzi Ronson (2012): Mick was sworn to secrecy. [He was told] “And if you do this for us, you’re going to be the next star, you’re going to be doing this next thing, but you can’t tell the boys.” [355]

Wednesday April 11

Shinjuku Koseinenkin Kaikan, Tokyo

Thursday April 12

Kokaido, Nagoya

Saturday April 14

Yuubin Chokin Kaikan, Hiroshima

Monday April 16

Kokusai Kaikan, Kobe

Tuesday April 17

Koseinenkin Kaikan, Osaka

Wednesday April 18

Shibuya Kokaido, Tokyo

Thursday April 19

Aladdin Sane

album released in UK
RCA RS 1001

Side one
Watch That Man 4:30
Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?) 5:15
Drive-In Saturday 4:38
Panic In Detroit 4:30
Cracked Actor 3:01

Side two
Time 5:10
The Prettiest Star 3:28
Let's Spend The Night Together (Jagger-Richards) 3:10
The Jean Genie 4:06
Lady Grinning Soul 3:53

The LP went gold on advance orders of 100,000 in UK,
entering the chart at number 1.

• Aladdin Sane album production and release details •

Friday April 20

Shibuya Kokaido, Tokyo

Angie and Zanetta started screaming and swinging chairs around to create hysteria which caused structural damage to the venue. Police demanded that RCA hand them over. Police were watching flights to London and San Francisco so Leee Black Childers got them on a plane to Honolulu.

Saturday April 21 – Tuesday April 24

Yokahama to Nakhodka (aboard Felix Dzerjinsky)

Geoff MacCormack (2008): It really was a wrench to leave, but we had another boat waiting at the port of Yokohama, a Russian ship taking us the very long way home via Siberia and Mother Russia.


Bowie plays a short acoustic set with MacCormack on bongos

Geoff MacCormack (2008): There must have been no more than 200 people there. Most people didn’t know who he was, though there were a few Japanese tourists who did. By and large the people watching him play thought he was just this kind of redheaded freak.

We arrived in Nakhodka late in the evening. The short walk from ship to train was not an occasion that has stuck in my mind. The train, however, was memorable. The dark wood panelling, brass fittings and tasselled decor made each car look like the interior of a Parisian brothel.

Nakhodka, the eastern terminus for the Trans-Siberian Railway was the only port in the Russian Far East open to foreigners.

Tuesday April 24 – Monday April 30

Nakhodka - Vladivostok - Khabarovsk

Khabarovsk - Irkutsk - Krasnoyarsk - Novosibirsk - Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg) - Moscow

From Nakhodka they took the boat train to Khabarovsk to board the Trans-Siberian Railway for the 6650-mile trip to Moscow, accompanied by UPI news correspondent Bob Musel who had arranged to cover the trip as part of his Great Train Journeys series.

"I won't fly,” Bowie told him, "because I've had a premonition I'll be killed in a plane crash if I do. If nothing happens by 1976 I'll start to fly again.* But I love trains and I'd probably take this ride anyway, it's supposed to be the greatest of them all." [225][Musel, Bob. ‘Rail Journey Through Siberia’ (UPI, 1973)]

Bowie shot footage of the trip on a 16mm camera that he picked up in Japan. Years later he edited it together using his ambient pieces as soundtracks. Leee Black Childers finally got his Russian visa and flew from Japan to Russia, joining Bowie on the train at Irkutsk.


MacCormack and Bowie go deluxephoto © Leee Black Childers

Bowie (1973): There are three ways you can travel. Deluxe – two bunks in a simple compartment, sharing a toilet and bathroom with the rest of the carriage – that's what I had. Then there's first class, which is four bunks per compartment, and hard class – bunks right up both sides with people sleeping on the floor. [125][Fox-Cumming, Ray. ‘Aladdin Scotland’ (Disc, 2 June 1973)]

Geoff MacCormack (2008): At dinner, Bowie got talking with a Russian intellectual we had met through Bob Musel, a big shot at United Press International who was covering the trip. The intellect was admiring a Japanese book that David had with him (the book was by some radical artist). Yet when David offered it to him the guy looked around nervously and explained he couldn't be seen to accept it as it was on the banned list. When we got back to our cabins we had been left three items: a book entitled Marx, Engels and Lenin on Scientific Communism, a list of do's and don'ts in the Soviet Union, like what we could or could not photograph, and a newsletter (propaganda) with various so-called scraps of international news, my favourite being a searing condemnation of the cartoon characters Tom and Jerry.

Photo © Leee Black Childers

At Sverdlovsk, Childers suggested they stretch their legs on the platform.

Leee Black Childers (1986): I was taking pictures of David and sneaking pictures of the soldiers who were on the platform with us but unfortunately they caught me at it. The soldiers came and tried to get my camera but I was fighting back. David began to film it all. Then they got really crazy, trying to get David’s movie camera and to arrest us.

Two burly female train attendants intervened and carried them back onto the train while fending off the guards.


Photos © Leee Black Childers

Monday April 30


On their arrival, guides escorted Bowie and MacCormack to the Intourist Hotel (a high-rise hotel on Tverskaya Ulitsa built in 1970, since demolished) where they checked in, then went sightseeing.


Bowie and Bob Musel in Red Square, Moscow
photo © Leee Black Childers


Photo © Geoff MacCormack

Bowie asked that they eat ‘like the Russians’ so Musel took them to GUM department store cafeteria and was unsurprised when Bowie found the food inedible. They moved on to the National Hotel and dined on smoked salmon, caviar and fresh sturgeon.

May 1973

Aladdin Sane

album released in US
RCA LSP-4852
Chart peak 12


Satellite Of Love (Reed) 2:53Walk And Talk It (Reed) 3:24
Lou Reed single released in US
RCA 74-0964
A-side produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson
B-side from the Lou Reed album

Raw Power

Iggy & the Stooges album released in US
Columbia KC 32111 Chart peak 182


Tuesday May 1


Bowie filming from his room at the National Hotel
photo © Geoff MacCormack

Bowie, MacCormack and Musel attended the May Day parade.

Wednesday May 2

Moscow – Poland – Berlin – Paris on Orient Express

Thursday May 3

In Paris they met up with Angie, Cherry Vanilla and RCA Press Officer Andrew Hoy at the George V Hotel, where a press conference was held in the Rouge Room.

Photo Claude Gassian

Photo © Claude Gassian

Friday May 4

Paris – Boulogne – Dover – London

Photo © Barrie Wentzell

Bowie and entourage (Angie, MacCormack, Childers, Vanilla and Hoy) arrived late at the Gard du Nord to find the 12.30 boat train to Calais had left. "Seven thousand miles, and we miss the bleedin' train on the last leg,” Bowie groaned. They would have to take the hovercraft from Boulogne to Dover which, to Bowie, was as bad as a plane. "It flies – it's death," he groaned.

Photo © Joe Stevens

They whiled away the wait for the train to Boulogne at the Cafe du Nord Brasserie with NME's Charles Shaar Murray and Joe Stevens, Melody Maker's Roy Hollingworth and Barrie Wentzell.

Hollingworth and Bowie

With Roy Hollingworth photo © Barrie Wentzell

Bowie told Hollingworth, “I'm sick of being Gulliver. You know, after America, Moscow, Siberia, Japan. I just want to bloody well go home to Beckenham, and watch the telly. I've got to work harder this year than I've ever worked in my life. You know that? We're going to do a 79-date tour of America this year in about as many days. I might die. But I have to do it."

Photo © Barrie Wentzell

Barrie Wentzell: We went to a Brasserie across the road for something to eat and a few beers. It's interesting I got the board with the prices into the shot. The Melody Maker's famous duo were completely broke by then, so David had to pay for everything.

Photo © Barrie Wentzell

Barrie Wentzell: Angie's explaining the principle of how a hovercraft works and David doesn't like the idea at all. But he seemed to mind less after a few beers. He drank all the way to London.

Hollingsworth MacCormack and Bowie

Photo © Barrie Wentzell

Following the hovercraft ordeal, he regained his composure at Dover with a cup of tea and a British Rail sausage roll. Meanwhile fans were gathering to welcome him home at Charing Cross station. The train finally rolled in to the sound of a high-pitched howl from the mass of teenage girls who mobbed Bowie as he stepped from the train.

Photo © Barrie Wentzell

Barry Wentzell: Home at last. The way girls materialised out of nowhere was amazing. They seemed to have some sort of telepathy and knew far more about his movements than we ever did. You can tell he’s glad to be back.

Saturday May 5

Bowie was welcomed home with a party at Haddon Hall. Among the friends were Tony Visconti with Mary Hopkin, Lindsay Kemp, Mick Ronson, Chelita Secunda, Ken Scott, Freddie Burretti, George and Birgit Underwood and Charles Shaar Murray.

Suzi Fussey made a cake with red and blue streaks and 'Welcome Home Aladdin Sane' written across the top. Also there from MainMan were Andrea (fan club assistant) and Corinne Schwab.

Corinne Schwab (2001): I first met David at a welcome home party at Haddon Hall in 1973. He and Geoffrey [MacCormack] had just arrived back from Japan on the Trans Siberian Express. My first impression was how tired and skinny he seemed! The famous red hair was a bit crumpled but his essence, the warmth and kind gentleness was there (through that worldly weariness) and he hugged Andrea and me and made us feel welcome. Andrea and I had been working at MainMan for several months and had not actually met him yet. [389]

Life at Haddon Hall by this time had become impossible, with fans camping outside day and night. Angie arranged to rent Diana Rigg’s apartment in Vale Court on Hall Road, Maida Vale.

During the week Bowie and the band rehearsed for the last leg of the tour at Manticore, a converted Odeon cinema in Fulham owned by Emerson Lake & Palmer.

Monday May 7

Hitler: The Last 10 Days premiere at Empire Cinema

Tuesday May 8

Behind The Fridge at Cambridge Theatre, Camden

Having renewed his friendship with Tony Visconti, Bowie suggested they go out to see Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s show. Bowie and Angie picked up Visconti and his wife Mary Hopkin from their flat in Courtfield Gardens, Kensington.

Tony Visconti (2006): I was giving the babysitter instructions when David walked into our kitchen dressed in full Ziggy Stardust regalia. The babysitter, unbeknownst to me, was a Bowie fan. She dropped the pan filled with warm water that contained the baby’s bottle on the kitchen floor and shrieked. David was amused.

The Bowies and Viscontis arrived at the theatre in Bowie’s limo, which was so large it became wedged between the cars on either side of the street.

Tony Visconti (1982): Angie heckled Peter Cook and Dudley Moore all night, and it was quite a bizarre evening, but exactly the evening I expected, strained and full of tension and real culture shock. As you may know, Mary, my wife, is a very subdued, laidback and, in her own description, ‘twee’ person, and here we were going out with these two extroverts in the personas of David and Angie Bowie. However, we bridged the gap very quickly and got friendly again.

Backstage with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore
photo © Keystone/Getty Images

UK Tour II 1973

Saturday May 12

Earl's Court, London

Angie arrives at Earl's Court photo © Mick Gold

John Ritchie (later known as Sid Vicious) in Earl's Court car park

The opening concert of the tour was a disaster after DeFries booked the 18,000 seat Earl's Court – more than twice the size of anywhere Bowie had played before. Tickets sold out in the first three hours, but the arena was not yet ready for rock concerts – the acoustics were terrible and the stage was too low, resulting in a crush at the front as fans attempted to get a better view.

The music press had a field day the following Saturday, with headlines like “Bowie Fiasco - What Went Wrong?” and “Aladdin Distress”.

Bowie (1973): After about three-quarters of the way back, everything was totally lost and it became just an aerodrome. Somebody had been put in charge of getting the acoustics together, and it hadn't been done sufficiently well. [219][Murray, Charles Shaar. ‘The Bowie experiment (NME, 9 June 1973)]

Tuesday May 15

Bowie and the Spiders took the train from Charing Cross to Aberdeen and checked into the Imperial Hotel, where Martin Hayman (Sounds) and Ray Fox-Cumming (Disc) interviewed Bowie.

Bowie and Ronson on the train to Aberdeen photo © Mick Rock

Wednesday May 16

Aberdeen Music Hall, Aberdeen (two shows)

Despite a day of preparation, both shows suffered from sound problems.

Thursday May 17

Caird Hall, Dundee

The tour coach stopped by the side of the A92 for a band photo opportunity before travelling on to Dundee, where they checked in to the Angus Hotel.

Friday May 18

Green’s Playhouse, Glasgow (two shows)

Bowie (1973): We had, I think, four couples making it in the back row, which was fabulous. It's the first time I've heard of that happening. There was also a whole row of seats physically torn out of the floor, which sounds like the Fifties to me. That's what my brother used to do in Brixton. Can you imagine how much energy has to be used to tear out a theatre seat? [219]

With Suzi Fussey in Glasgow photo © Mick Rock

Saturday May 19

Empire Theatre, Edinburgh

The Monty Python troupe was in Edinburgh for their First Farewell Tour, sharing the Post House Hotel with Bowie’s people who partied late.

Michael Palin (1973 diary entry): Went to bed. Could not get to sleep, owing to presence of David Bowie and his acolytes in the hotel. Bowie is currently the hottest touring property in Britain, having recently played to 18,000 in Earl's Court. Tonight Bowie was in Edinburgh – and staying about a couple of doors down on the same floor as myself. They weren't exactly noisy, there was just so many of them. From 2am to 3am and beyond it was like trying to sleep through the invasion of Poland. [028]

Monday May 21

Theatre Royal, Norwich (two shows)

Tuesday May 22

Odeon Theatre, Romford

Wednesday May 23

Brighton Dome, Brighton

filmed by Nationwide (BBC)

Bernard Falk and a BBC film crew shot a short segment on the Bowie phenomenon for Nationwide.

Bowie (2002): One of their ‘Good Heavens, whatever next?’-type reports. Lots of confused questioning and following me swanning around backstage, putting silly clothes on. It was all too funny.

They interviewed fans outside his Bedford Hotel room, filmed the performance and the ensuing mayhem at the Brighton Dome, his return from the venue – still in full stage costume – and his departure the next morning for Lewisham, home of teenage Bowie fan 'Boy' George O’Dowd.

Thursday May 24

Lewisham Odeon, Lewisham

Boy George (1995): I spent the day hanging around Lewisham, watching the crowd well up. Hundreds of Ziggy and Angie clones. Girls in fox-fur stoles and pillbox hats, boys in glitter jackets. [025]

Friday May 25

Bournemouth Winter Gardens, Bournemouth

Watch That Man, Hang On To Yourself and Time
filmed by Nationwide

Sunday May 27

Civic Hall, Guildford (two shows)

Monday May 28

Civic Hall, Wolverhampton

Tuesday May 29

Victoria Hall, Hanley

Wednesday May 30

New Theatre, Oxford

Thursday May 31

King George’s Hall, Northgate, Blackburn

June 1973

Time 3:38 The Prettiest Star 3:25

single released in US

Raw Power

Iggy & the Stooges album released in UK
CBS 65586

Friday June 1

St George’s Hall, Bradford

Saturday June 2

University of Leeds, West Yorkshire (cancelled)

The matinee and evening shows were cancelled because the stage was too small and backstage was unsuitable for a dressing room. “It would have meant David walking through the audience to get to the stage which is out of the question.” The shows were moved to June 29 at the Rolarena.

Sunday June 3

New Theatre, Coventry

Monday June 4

Gaumont, Worcester

Tuesday June 5

Nationwide broadcast (BBC)

The program included the ten-minute feature on Bowie’s UK tour, filmed in Brighton and Bournemouth.

Wednesday June 6

City Hall, Sheffield (two shows)

Afterwards Bowie and the entourage partied in the bar at the Hallam Tower hotel. Lulu and Labi Siffre were also in town and put on an impromptu show.

Lulu (1973): Mike Garson was playing piano, and David said: “I'd love to write a song for you.” I said, great, never thinking it would come through. But he came through, and said, “I'd like to record you.” And it happened. [313]

Thursday June 7

Free Trade Hall, Manchester (two shows)

Photo by Kevin Cummins/Getty Images

Cherry Vanilla (1973): Hysterical little girls were of course dragged off the stage but uniquely enough, little boys got on stage. They were calm and, after they straightened out their clothes, went over to David, shook his hand and patted him on his back – gave the power salute and calmly walked off. David loved it. Stu couldn’t deal with it.

Friday June 8

Newcastle City Hall, Tyne and Wear (two shows)

Cherry Vanilla (1973): Newcastle was the peak of aggro on this tour. Bowie arrived at 7.00 for a 6.00 show – traffic, so he said – I had police all over the north and Midlands looking for him.

Saturday June 9

Guild Hall, Preston

Sunday June 10

Empire Theatre, Liverpool (two shows)

Photo by Mick Rock

Other future pop stars were in the Liverpool audience – Ian McCulloch and Marc Almond, who had been ‘bottled’ by thugs on the way to the show. All was forgotten when Bowie reached out and took Almond’s hand in the finale of Rock 'N' Roll Suicide.

Marc Almond (2008): I was a mess of blood, glitter and cheap, badly applied makeup, but in a state of near religious ecstasy. [298]

Bowie had called off security and the crowd surged forward. Melody Maker reported, “Liverpool won’t forget David Bowie in a hurry. There’s a couple of dozen smashed seats, two broken crash barriers, and one young kid in hospital after Sunday night.”

Also in town was Fanny, who were touring UK.

Jean Millington (2015): We were staying at the same hotel in Liverpool, and he sent an invitation to us to attend Trevor Bolder's birthday party. It was great to be able to meet him and hang out he was extremely gracious.

Bowie and Millington began a relationship that continued for the next year and a half. Both she and her sister June ended up singing on the Young Americans album.

Monday June 11

De Montfort Hall, Leicester

Tuesday June 12

Central Hall Theatre, Chatham (two shows)

Wednesday June 13

Life On Mars video shoot
Ladbroke Grove

Director: Mick Rock


Bowie in Freddi Burretti suit with make-up artist Pierre Laroche photos Mick Rock

Mick Rock (2007): We had two cameras and we also used stills, so it was relatively sophisticated for its era. It stands up. I didn’t make a single penny out of those films at the time. However, once David split from MainMan and made his final settlement he gave me the visual rights. He has always been a gentleman. [057]

The Gaumont State, London

Thursday June 14

City Hall, Salisbury

Bowie was injured in a stage dive from the PA stack and performed the encore in a chair.

Mike Garson (1985): I thought, 'This guy thinks he can fly.’ There may be some acrobats could have handled that. He’s a pretty rubbery guy, but I knew it was too high. He went flying past me at the piano and just wiped out. [016]

Friday June 15

Odeon, Taunton (two shows)

Bowie ignored doctor’s advice and soldiered on, sitting through the performance, falling into the audience and eventually being carried off.

Saturday June 16

Town Hall, Torquay

Monday June 18

Colston Hall, Bristol (two shows)

Tuesday June 19

Guild Hall, Southampton

Thursday June 21

Birmingham Town Hall (two shows)

Friday June 22

Birmingham Town Hall (two shows)


Life On Mars? 3:48
The Man Who Sold The World 3:55
single released in UK
RCA 2316 Chart peak 3


The Prettiest Star 2:42
Love Around (King) 2:21
Simon Turner single released in UK

Turner was a child actor then aspiring singer who had became friends with Angie Bowie, for whom The Prettiest Star was originally written. Johnny Arthey was credited with the arrangement, despite it being identical to Tony Visconti’s on Bowie’s original 1970 single. Later in the year, DeFries signed Turner to MainMan but nothing came of it.

Reissued: Oh! You Pretty Things : The Songs Of David Bowie
(Castle Music 2006)

Saturday June 23

Gliderdrome, Boston

Sunday June 24

Fairfield Halls, Croydon (two shows)

Monday June 25

New Theatre, Oxford (two shows)

Tuesday June 26

New Theatre, Oxford

Wednesday June 27

Top Rank Suite, Doncaster

Thursday June 28

Bridlington Spa Ballroom, Bridlington

Friday June 29

Leeds Rolarena, Leeds (two shows)

Saturday June 30

City Hall, Newcastle (two shows)

Life On Mars? enters the UK Top 30, charting for 13 weeks

July 1973


Vicious (Reed) 2:55Goodnight Ladies (Reed) 4:18

Lou Reed single released in US
RCA APB0-0054

Produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson
Goodnight Ladies arranged by 'Herbie Flowers and some of his friends'.

Monday July 2

Hammersmith Odeon, London

Celebrated filmmaker DA Pennebaker and his crew arrived in London at RCA’s behest to film the concert the following night. After the show Woodmansey told Peter Harvey (Record Mirror), “You don’t know what is going to come up next or what you might fancy doing next; whether it’s to do with music or what.” [138]

Tuesday July 3

Hammersmith Odeon, London

The dash to the stage door behind Hammersmith Odeon

My Death - Jacques Brel via Scott Walker

Bowie: “No, it’s not Suzi Quatro on lead guitar”
photo by Chalkie Davies

Photo by Debi Doss

White Light/White Heat: “I’d like to do a number by a guy who tonight is in London somewhere making an album and I think he’s a friend of mine… anyway, he’s one of the best songwriters around today. His name’s Lou Reed!” photo by Debi Doss

A guest appearance by Jeff Beck

Mick Ronson (1973): Jeff Beck was my idol. I used to copy everything he did. That's why I was so knocked out when he agreed to come and play on the last couple of numbers. [259]

After Round And Round, Bowie stepped up to the microphone: "Of all of the shows on this tour, this particular show will remain with us the longest because not only is it the last show of the tour, but it’s the last show that we'll ever do. Thank you."

DA Pennebaker (2003): It was as if nobody quite believed him, and the way he said it was so offhand. There were misperceptions within the band: I think Mick [Ronson] had been delegated to tell the boys, but refused. They were desolate. The audience all screamed and yelled, but then they screamed and yelled every time David moved.

Mick Rock: He had told me about it a couple of days beforehand. Like everyone else, I wasn't quite sure whether he meant he wasn't going to perform live ever again, or whether he just meant as that persona. He'd come to feel trapped by Ziggy. He'd started to get lost in it. ['Gimme Your Hands’ (Uncut, 2003)]

Geoff MacCormack (2008): David told me ahead of time that it would be his last show. I felt quite guilty knowing that, especially as I was one of the lowly cats in that particular performance. [280]

Tony Visconti (2003): Mick Ronson was told about it and David said, “Do you want to tell the guys or shall I tell the guys?” and Mick said, “Well, we’ll wait until after the show, and… you tell them.” [373]

Charles Shaar Murray (1993): I was the one who got the tip-off, thereby enabling NME to have its "Bowie: That's It, I Quit" cover story rolling off the presses before Bowie had made the onstage announcement. [223]

Kid Jensen was the first to break the news at 10pm that David Bowie had retired on stage that night.

Wednesday July 4

The Last Supper, Café Royal, Piccadilly

Celebrity guests included Ringo and Maureen Starr, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Lou Reed, Lulu, Keith Moon, Edgar Broughton, Spike Milligan, Elliot Gould, Tony Curtis, Britt Ekland and Barbra Streisand.

Stuart George arrives with the Bowies photo by John Rodgers

Bianca and Angie photo © Mick Rock

Reed, Jagger, Lulu, Bowie and MacCormack (standing)
Photo © Mick Rock

Lulu: [David and I] talked about working on a single. He liked the idea of producing me singing one of his songs. The following week, I went to see him at the Hyde Park Hotel.

Trevor Bolder: The worst thing for me and Woody is that Bowie and Jagger were there, Jeff Beck was there, Aynsley Dunbar was there, Lou Reed and a bunch of other people were there sitting at a big table having a jolly good time, and me and Woody were ignored like we weren't even in the band. You couldn't get a proper answer out of anybody as to what was going on, except, "That's it. That's the end of it."

Bowie told Peter Harvey, “It’s been a great run, but this scene is all finished for me now. It’s time I moved on. I’ve had lots of film offers and will probably take one of them up.” [140] He told Ray Fox-Cumming he didn’t want to do any concerts again “for a long, long time – not for two or three years at least.”

MainMan newsletter no. 1:
The world’s largest rock and roll tour, David Bowie USA Tour III, has been cancelled. The massive arenas of 80 US and Canadian cities will not now, or perhaps ever again, hold within their walls the magic essence of a live Aladdin Sane. Bowie will spend the summer in France and Italy recording, relaxing and writing the script of his future.

Bowie (2002): It was a big decision for me and it actually took me time to make it. Also, I was incredibly drained. We toured, the schedules that MainMan were putting us on were insane. [116]

Tony Zanetta (2009): It was to be this mega-mega-tour. But the truth of it was, the business didn’t warrant a tour like that. David’s stardom was illusory, it was more in the press. It didn’t translate into real numbers. So the promoters were very hesitant to do the kind of deal and the really major arena tour that DeFries wanted to do. 'Retiring' was a business decision. [040]

In Chicago, Ava Cherry received a telegram from MainMan saying that the tour was off so her services were not required.

Ava Cherry (1987): That was my first lesson - that you shouldn’t count on things unless you’re absolutely sure they are going to happen. I took all the money I had and decided to go to Europe anyway and find him and tell him what he did was low and tacky. [121]

Thursday July 5

Confirmation of Woodmansey’s sacking came on the morning of his wedding to girlfriend June. MainMan called Mike Garson who was presiding over the ceremony as an official of the British Church of Scientology. Garson waited until after the wedding to tell him.

Mike Garson (1986): Woody was devastated. This was his life and he thought he was going to the top with David.

Trevor Bolder (2012): I was really upset, and with Mick doing a solo album, I was wondering what was gonna happen to me. I think the reason he broke the band up was that Woody was being very odd with him. Woody had gotten into Scientology through Mike Garson. And, in a way, Woody thought he was God because he found religion. And he just disagreed with everything that David was doing. [411]

At Hyde Park Hotel, Bowie began planning the Pinups album, working through a pile of 60s singles. They picked 12 to record, including two apiece from favourites The Who, Yardbirds and The Pretty Things.

Lulu came and listened to a few Bowie tracks to record as a single, settling on The Man Who Sold The World and Watch That Man.

Lulu (2008): I didn’t think it would happen but he followed up two days later. He was über cool at the time and I just wanted to be led by him. I loved everything he did. I didn’t think The Man Who Sold The World was the greatest song for my voice, but it was such a strong song in itself. I had no idea what it was about. [298]

Bowie visited Reed at Morgan Studios to ask Aynsley Dunbar and Jack Bruce to join the sessions in France. Dunbar accepted – he had even played in the Mojos, whose 1964 hit Everything's Alright was chosen for Pinups.

Ken Scott (2006): The initial move of bringing in Aynsley worked. I don't think it would have been better with Woody and I'm all for new participants to stir things up a little. [394]

Jack Bruce was committed to West, Bruce & Laing so Bowie offered the spot to Trevor Bolder.

Trevor Bolder (1995): Mick told me to keep my mouth shut or I wouldn’t be working, because David would get rid of me as well. David had actually said to me, “If you don’t like it, you can clear off and we’ll get another bass player as well.” When everything calmed down, David said to me, “Come over here, I’ve got some songs to play you.” And he played me all the songs he was going to do on Pinups. [010]

Live And Let Die premiere, Odeon Leicester Square

Saturday July 7

Charles Shaar Murray’s interviews with Garson and Ronson “Say Hello to Weird and Gilly” published in NME.

Monday July 9

London to Paris

Bowie arrived in a white Rolls Royce at Victoria Station with Angie, who saw him onto the 10.30am boat train for the trip to Dover and Calais and on to the Château d’Hérouville studio complex, north-east of Paris.

Tuesday July 10

Life On Mars? peaks at number 3 in the UK chart

Tuesday July 10 – Tuesday July 31

Pinups recording sessions
Strawberry Studio, Château d’Hérouville, Pontoise

Ken Scott: David had decided that he wanted to record in France at Château d’Hérouville instead of at Trident, just like Elton and for exactly the same reason, to avoid paying British tax on royalties. I'd already done the two albums over there, Honky Chateau and Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player, so I knew the place and was very comfortable with it.

• Pinups feature page •

Wednesday July 11

Interviewed by Kid Jensen Broadcast July 14 (Radio Luxembourg)

I’ve still not thought it out too well. I knew I had to stop performing for a little while. There’s a lot of things that I’ve always wanted to do on stage and I found I wasn’t fulfilling those particular needs at the moment. So I have to step back a little bit and have a look at what I was doing and see what adjustments can be made before I think of coming back on stage again.
I had a lot of good things told to me about it, people like Elton John told me it’s a very good place and Ken Scott, my co-producer had worked here often with Elton and with other people and he suggested that I give it a try, especially for this kind of record, which is very much a hard rock album.
I’m retracing my own past really, my own likes and preferences for music in the early to mid 60’s. Very much the London sound, because we were at the height of the Liverpool sound which was sweeping England and America. And there was a lot of material that really went unnoticed in those days and that’s the kind of stuff I wanted to put down. Things like the early Yardbirds things, even things that had some kind of nominal success like ‘See Emily Play’. We’re doing a lot of very interesting tracks, all my favourites.
America does that to you. It hardens you up musically, whereas Japan had the reverse effect. The stuff I’ve written in Japan was a lot lighter.
It made me feel that I didn’t want to waste my time doing a continual show which lasted twenty-four hours. Being on the road you do freeze up somewhat and you start to forget what the rest of the world’s like. The Russian trip did a lot of things to me that way. I want to do a lot more travelling.

Monday July 16

Lulu recording sessions

Strawberry Studio, Château d’Hérouville, Pontoise
Producers: David Bowie, Mick Ronson
Engineer: Andy Scott

The Man Who Sold The World
Watch That Man

Bowie called a break in the Pinups sessions to make the record he'd promised Lulu. They recorded one take of The Man Who Sold The World with Bowie providing a guide vocal for her then two takes of Watch That Man.

Photos © Mick Rock

Lulu (1973): It was amazing we got it together so quickly, because I was working, and he was working. I had two days, and flew over to Paris, did it and came back. [313]

Over the week of sessions lasting up to 12 hours, they completed the Pinups tracks and Lulu backing tracks. Trevor Bolder returned to England.

Bolder (1995): It was really bad... the band thing had gone then. Once you pull any member out of a band, it changes. It was sad not having Woody there. [010]

Wednesday July 18

British Vogue cover / Pinups photo shoot
Vogue studio, Paris

Photographer: Justin de Villeneuve
Make-up: Pierre Laroche

The photo session was originally a Vogue cover idea that Twiggy and her manager Justin de Villeneuve successfully pitched to the editor.

Justin De Villeneuve (2012): When I showed Bowie the test Polaroids, he asked if he could use it for the Pinups record sleeve. I said: "I don't think so, since this is for Vogue. How many albums do you think you will sell?" "A million," he replied. "This is your next album cover!" I said. When I got back to London and told Vogue, they never spoke to me again. [243]

Monday July 23

Terry O’Neill photo session for Daily Mirror
Château d’Hérouville

Angie debuts as model Jipp Jones in a Daily Mirror fashion spread

Photos © Terry O’Neill

Bowie became the first solo artist to have all five of his RCA albums in the UK top 40, three of them in the top 15.


Tragic Moments

When Martin Hayman visited, Bowie had played him a rough working mix of another new project. “It’s going to be a musical in one act called Tragic Moments, probably running straight through two sides. This is something I've always wanted to do."

Martin Hayman (1973): We listen to perhaps seven minutes of music. I am confused. The contrast between Tragic Moments and Pinups could not be greater. The former is a highly arranged, subtly shifting music with just a touch of vaudeville: Mike Garson's piano flashes through like quicksilver. Perhaps the closest approximation to what has gone before would be the title track of Aladdin Sane. [141]

Ken Scott was back for the last week at the Château. Bowie and Ronson worked on vocals and various overdubs. Ronson spent any spare time with his manuscript paper, writing string arrangements.

Bowie-ing Out

Bowie and Ronson also began remixing the tapes of the 'retirement' concert for a planned live album, provisionally titled Bowie-ing Out. Ronson told Charles Shaar Murray, “It really is live. There's been no going back and redoing it in the studio. A lot of groups take the tapes into the studio and then strip it and start correcting the mistakes. They might put a fresh guitar solo on or something.” [222]

Ava Cherry was in Paris when she heard Bowie on the radio. “I was supposed to work with this man,” she told a friend, who replied, “His friend is staying at my house.” The friend – Geoff MacCormack – took Cherry out to the Château where she resumed her relationship with Bowie. They worked on demos and planned to have her signed as 'a MainMan artiste'.

August 1973

Let's Spend The Night Together (Jagger-Richards) 3:01
Lady Grinning Soul 3:42

single released in US

Time 3:38Panic In Detroit 4:27

single released in Japan
RCA SS-2299

Wednesday August 1

Paris to Rome

The Bowies, Mick Ronson, Suzi Fussey and Stuart George spent a week at Villa Ofmilla in Tenuta San Nicola. They were joined by Zowie, Daniella Parmar and Bowie’s personal assistant Gloria Harris.

Tuesday August 7

The Bowies and Stuart George returned to London, where Ken Scott was mixing Pinups at Trident. Ronson stayed there with Suzi Fussey at the villa and started planning Slaughter On 10th Avenue.

Suzi Ronson (2010): We actually fell in love in Italy, right after he’d done the Pinups album. We had a villa outside Rome and everything just came together. It was a wonderful romance. [206]

Wednesday August 22

Mad Dog, starring Marianne Faithfull at Hampstead Theatre


September 1973

Slaughter On 10th Avenue sessions
Château d’Hérouville

Bowie returned to the Château to help Ronson, contributing Growing Up And I’m Fine, lyrics for Ronson’s Hey Ma Get Papa and English lyrics for Italian song Music Is Lethal.

Friday September 7

The Rolling Stones at Empire Pool, Wembley

Thursday September 13

The Rolling Stones at City Hall, Newcastle

Bowie's presence sidestage was distracting the audience. Jagger noticed and glared at Bowie who withdrew further into the wings. After the show the Jaggers took Bowie and Scott Richardson to a casino where Bowie and Jagger competed to lose the most money.

October 1973

Best Deluxe

compilation album released in Japan
RCA SRA 9412/13

Tuesday October 9

NBC-TV announces the Midnight Special will feature Bowie's upcoming 1980 Floor Show.

Friday October 12

Sorrow (Feldman-Goldstein-Gottehrer) 2:53
Amsterdam (Brel-Shuman) 3:20

single released in UK
RCA 2424 UK chart peak 3


Sunday October 14

Angie featured in Sunday Times Arts and Review fashion section

Wednesday October 17

The 1980 Floor Show rehearsals
Manticore Studios, Fulham

Thursday October 18
Friday October 19
Saturday October 20

The 1980 Floor Show production
Marquee Club, London

• 1980 Floor Show feature page •


Friday October 19


album released in UK
RCA RS 1003
Chart peak UK 1 US 23

Side one
Rosalyn (Duncan-Farley) 2:27
Here Comes The Night (Berns) 3:09
I Wish You Would (Arnold) 2:40
See Emily Play (Barrett) 4:03
Everything's Alright (Crouch-Konrad-Stavely-James-Karlson) 2:26
I Can't Explain (Townshend) 2:07

Side two
Friday On My Mind (Vanda-Young) 3:18
Sorrow (Feldman-Goldstein-Gottehrer) 2:48
Don't Bring Me Down (Dee) 2:01
Shapes Of Things (Samwell-Smith-McCarty-Relf) 2:47
Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere (Townshend-Daltrey) 3:04
Where Have All The Good Times Gone (Davies) 2:35

Late October

1984/Dodo recording sessions
Trident Studios, London

Producer: Ken Scott

The session was Bowie’s last recording with his two most significant collaborators of the past three years, Mick Ronson and Ken Scott.

Ken Scott (2006): When we recorded 1984/Dodo it became obvious that he was starting to change direction, so it was probably for the best. [394]

Bowie (1997): I had particular ideas that I wanted to expand upon, and it wasn't stuff that Mick would be terribly happy to follow in. It was getting harder all the time to get Mick to move along into the possibility of where we could go. His two role models were Jeff Beck and Free. If Mick had been more open to widening that which he already knew, we may have lasted as a partnership. [123]

Diamond Dogs recording sessions
Studio 2, Olympic Studios, Barnes

Producer: David Bowie
Engineer: Keith Harwood

Bowie moved from Trident (and its Ziggy associations) to Olympic Studios, favoured by The Rolling Stones. He retained only Mike Garson on piano, Herbie Flowers replaced Trevor Bolder on bass and the drumming was shared between Aynsley Dunbar and Tony Newman. Bowie decided (initially) to play most of the guitar and saxophone parts himself.

Bowie (1991): I don't think I really got into messing about with recording technique until then, where it was virtually just myself doing everything. I played a great percentage of everything on Diamond Dogs, apart from the odd lead guitar, and the bass and drums. But most of the other lead guitars and the rhythm guitars and the keyboards, and saxophones, were just me. [153][Horkins, Tony. Tin Machine: Bowie & Gabrels’ (International Musician, December 1991)]

A more proficient guitarist was needed for a new version of 1984 without the Dodo section. He called in Alan Parker who played a wah-wah guitar part à la Theme From Shaft and Tony Visconti whom he asked to write some sort of 'Barry White strings’ for it.

Saturday October 27

Disc reported that Bowie had completed six songs including 1984.

Tony Ingrassia was working with Bowie on a script for a stage musical based on George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. “We have not fully acquired the rights to the book yet and it is still possible we will have to call it Nineteen Eighty-Three, or something like that!”

Bowie (1976): [Orwell's widow] put the clappers on it by saying no. So I, at the last minute, quickly changed it into a new concept album called Diamond Dogs. [117]

November 1973

Saturday November 3

Sorrow peaks at number 3 in the UK chart

Friday November 16

The 1980 Floor Show broadcast
on The Midnight Special in US (NBC)

Despite NME's later report that ITV had secured the British screening rights, it was never broadcast in the UK.

Saturday November 17

Rolling Stone interview
Oakley Street
with William Burroughs by Craig Copetas

"Bowie's house is decorated in a science fiction mode: a gigantic painting, by an artist whose style fell midway between Salvador Dali and Norman Rockwell, hung over a plastic sofa. Soon Bowie entered, wearing three-tone NASA jodhpurs. He jumped right into a detailed description of the painting and its surrealistic qualities. Burroughs nodded, and the interview/conversation began. The three of us sat in the room for two hours, talking and taking lunch: a Jamaican fish dish, prepared by a Jamaican in the Bowie entourage, with avocados stuffed with shrimp and a Beaujolais nouveau, served by two interstellar Bowieites." [093]

They had expressed an interest in meeting each other and in the weeks leading up to the interview Bowie found time to read Burroughs's Nova Express and was already familiar with his cut-up writing methodology.

Bowie (1977): Burroughs was very instrumental, as soon as I met him. He convinced me about the marvellous things you can do with the cut-up technique and I incorporated that in some of the stuff like Diamond Dogs and I’ve never dropped it. In fact it reveals itself to its fullest extent, I guess, on "Heroes" more than anything else. [338]

Bowie (1980): It was taking three different points of view of any given subject. You have one subject and you look at it from three different perspectives. And then you intercut the different perspectives. Logistically you just take sentences and cut the sentences up. [352]

Bowie (1974): It seemed that it would predict things about the future or tell me a lot about the past. It’s really quite an astonishing thing. I suppose it’s a very Western tarot. [353]

Bowie and Burroughs, photographed for Rolling Stone by Terry O'Neill

• Read article: Beat Godfather Meets Glitter Mainman •

Late November

Recording session
Studio 2, Olympic Studios, Barnes

Growin' Up

Ron Wood dropped in and played guitar on this, one of three Springsteen covers recorded during the Olympic sessions. It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City was begun (left unfinished until 1975) and he produced Spirits In The Night for the Astronettes.

December 1973

Monday December 3

Astronettes recording sessions
Studio 2, Olympic Studios, Barnes

Producer: David Bowie
Engineer: Keith Harwood

The Astronettes project was a dry run for his next project – a fusion of Afro-American soul music with Latin rhythms and Springsteen. Ava Cherry, MacCormack and Jason Guess took turns on vocal with Mark Pritchett, Herbie Flowers, Mike Garson and Aynsley Dunbar providing the backing.

Songs recorded over the next few weeks included Bowie compositions I Am Divine, I Am A Laser, People From Bad Homes and Things To Do.

Tony Visconti (1982): One of the songs David recorded with them was God Only Knows, which they did about four times slower than the Beach Boys, a very funky, laid-back version, and I did strings for a few of those tracks.

Lulu recording sessions

Producer: David Bowie
Engineer: Keith Harwood


Bowie and Lulu worked on this version of Dodo (detached from 1984) as a possible follow up single.

Diamond Dogs reissue (Rykodisc/EMI 1990)
Diamond Dogs 30th Anniversary 2CD Edition (EMI 2004)

Tuesday December 4

A Patriot For Me, Palace Theatre, Watford

Bowie and Amanda Lear visited lead actress Marianne Faithfull backstage for the afterparty. Leslie Watford interviewed Bowie for local radio.

Wednesday December 5
Thursday December 6

Recording session
The Wick, Richmond

It's Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (with The Rolling Stones)

Mick Jagger was at Ron Wood’s house – The Wick – where Wood was recording I’ve Got My Own Album To Do in his home studio.

Bowie dropped in and jammed with Jagger and Wood and Faces drummer Kenney Jones on a new song It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll. Bowie joined in on backing vocals and handclaps. Keith Richards later worked on the song for the new Stones album and next single. Several overdubs later rendered Bowie’s vocal contribution on the finished version inaudible.

Friday December 14

Mott The Hoople at the Hammersmith Odeon

Bowie and Jagger watched from behind Morgan Fisher's piano. Ian Hunter led the group back on for the encore and announced: "Three things made tonight so enjoyable: David Bowie, Mick Jagger and you."

Tuesday December 25

Christmas with Mick and Bianca Jagger at home in Chelsea. Bowie gave Jagger a video recorder, a luxury item at the time (about £500).

Thursday December 27

Recording session
Trident Studios, Soho, London

Rebel Rebel

Alan Parker (2004): On Rebel Rebel, he had the riff about 75% sorted out. He wanted it a bit like a Stones riff, and he played it to me as such, and I then tinkered around with it. I said, "Well, what if we did this and that and made it sound more clangy and put some bends in it?" and he said, "Yeah, I love that, that's fine". I used an old Les Paul standard, a black one, and it was an old Fender reverb amp with a single Wharfedale speaker in them. [326]

Friday December 28

“The Odd Couple: Lulu teams up with Bowie” by Deborah Thomas published in the Daily Mirror.

Photo © Kent Gavin

Saturday December 29
Sunday December 30

The Astronettes recording sessions
Studio 2, Olympic Studios, Barnes

Monday December 31

Rules, Covent Garden, London

RCA Records gave a lunch at the prestigious restaurant in Bowie’s honour, for having six different albums in the charts for five weeks in 1973 and five in the Top 50 for 19 consecutive weeks.

Bowie responded, “I don’t know what to say, I feel like a rock'n'roll star. At least it keeps the kids on the streets. Thanks to everyone who bought or were given the albums.”

His framed album presentation, inscribed “Awarded to David Bowie for outstanding musical achievements. From your friends at RCA”, took pride of place in Bowie's Oakley Street house.

Photo © Michael Putland/Getty Images



Bowie Golden Years v1.0 created and designed by Roger Griffin 2000
Bowie Golden Years v2.0 2017-2020

Photographs and texts have been credited wherever possible

this page updated February 19, 2022