“As I ask you to focus on”
David Bowie’s Life On Mars? single was released forty five years ago today in the UK, June 22nd, 1973.
Though taken from the 1971 classic, Hunky Dory, it wasn’t released in its own right until 1973. Possibly capitalising on its popularity as a live number during the Ziggy Stardust shows in 1972, the song wasn’t actually performed often on the Aladdin Sane Tour of 1973, during which it was released. Nevertheless, it reached #3 on the official UK singles chart.
Pictured here is a still from Mick Rock’s beautiful Life On Mars? promotional video. Alongside it are the sheet music, the music press advert and the single cover (all UK) and the US Hunky Dory cover.
David’s handwriting at the top of the montage is taken from the original US trade advert for Hunky Dory, wherein David had scribbled a few notes on a piece of headed hotel stationary from The Warwick in New York regarding each of the tracks on Hunky Dory.
Taking into account the insertion and crossing out that David made to his original annotation, the entry for Life On Mars? read: “Life on Mars - This is a sensitive young girl’s reaction to...The Media.”.
However, a bit of close quarter scrutiny reveals what he had originally written: “Life on Mars - This is a sensitive young girl’s reaction to songs like My Way, films like Love Story and newspapers.”.
This is kind of ironic considering the note Bowie scribbled for Life On Mars? on the back sleeve of Hunky Dory read: “INSPIRED BY FRANKIE”, a reference to My Way being a part of the song’s history. But that’s a whole other story.
Watch Mick Rock’s reworked video for Life On Mars? (2016) on the Official David Bowie YouTube channel.
#HunkyDory #LifeOnMars #BowieMickRock #BowieLOM