“It can all but break your heart, in pieces”
March 6th 1970 saw the release of both an album and a single for David Bowie in the shape of the Mercury 45, The Prettiest Star/Conversation Piece, and the Decca album, The World Of David Bowie.
The Prettiest Star was the beautifully melodic and worthy follow-up to Space Oddity and yet another label change for Bowie. Mercury was the sixth label that David had released UK singles on.
However, it looked like the label’s faith was well-placed with the signs looking good for another top ten UK hit, as suggested by an NME review of the single.
Sadly that was not to be and taking in to account the gentleness of both sides of the 45, it was an unusual follow-up considering David was plugging his new, rather loud, electric band, The Hype, in both the press and on stage around the time of the single's release.
Bowie obviously recognised how strong a song The Prettiest Star was as he rescued it for the 1973 Aladdin Sane album, with Mick Ronson faithfully recreating Marc Bolan's original solo.
The B-side, Conversation Piece, was also re-recorded thirty years later for the Toy project and finally issued in 2002 as a Heathen bonus track.
Despite their attitude towards Bowie's post-Deram album offerings, DECCA realised it was time to cash in their chips following the Philips label's success with Space Oddity, and they did exactly that withThe World Of David Bowie (SPA58) on March 6th 1970.
The compilation rounded up ten tracks from the original fourteen-track UK Deram album, (marked thus * in the tracklisting below) discarding We Are Hungry Men, Join The Gang, Maid of Bond Street and Please Mr. Gravedigger.
Joining the ten album tracks were The London Boys, plus three unreleased tracks recorded with Tony Visconti in 1968. Here's the tracklisting...
1 Uncle Arthur*
2 Love You Till Tuesday*
3 There Is A Happy Land*
4 Little Bombardier*
5 Sell Me A Coat*
6 Silly Boy Blue*
7 The London Boys (From Deram single DM 107)
1 Karma Man (Previously unreleased)
2 Rubber Band*
3 Let Me Sleep Beside You (Previously unreleased)
4 Come And Buy My Toys*
5 She's Got Medals*
6 In The Heat Of The Morning (Previously unreleased)
7 When I Live My Dream*
Originally, the single versions of both Love You Till Tuesday and When I Live My Dream were meant to replace the album versions for this compilation, but this didn't transpire.
Illustrated in the montage here is the original copy of the album, complete with the nineteen shillings and eleven pence recommended retail price sticker, (this was pre-decimal) as advertised in the trade press advert, also pictured.
As well as the German picture sleeve for The Prettiest Star, the other two items pictured are the UK 8-track cartridge along with its outer cardboard slipcase. This format had the same content as the vinyl version, albeit with the tracks in a different running order.