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Space Oddity

4.5 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 11, 2008
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David Bowie - Space Oddity - Cd

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This 1969 release features David Bowie's first hit single, "Space Oddity," and sets the tone for the spacey Ziggy Stardust to come. But other than the title track, Space Oddity isn't a glam-rock album. For that phase, one must move ahead to 1970's The Man Who Sold the World. These folk-based tracks largely present Bowie as a surrealist singer-songwriter. The uncharacteristically bitter and sarcastic "Letter to Hermione" is the most impassioned track here, presenting, as it does, the angry side of this master of cool. While still earlier recordings are noted for their Anthony Newley affectations, Space Oddity is where the Bowie myth begins to take shape. --Rob O'Connor
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 11, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: June 11, 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Parlophone
  • ASIN: B00001OH7M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,747 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Mark Barry TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 22, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This November 2009 EMI Limited Edition 2CD set (Oct in the UK) is a 40th Anniversary celebration of Bowie's long forgotten and criminally underrated 2nd album - "David Bowie" [later known as "Space Oddity"]. There's a lot on here, so let's get to the details...

Disc 1 (46:12 minutes)
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album "David Bowie" issued 14 November 1969 on Phillips SBL 7902 in the UK (produced by TONY VISCONTI). Released in the same month in the USA but with slightly altered artwork (the photo on the cover is used as the 1st page of the booklet), the US version was re-titled as "Man Of Words/Man Of Music" and issued on Mercury SR-61246.

Disc 2 (63:47 minutes):
1. Space Oddity (early 'Demo' version featuring duet vocals with John "Hutch" Hutchinson, recorded January 1969)
2. An Occasional Dream (early 'Demo' version also featuring duet vocals with John "Hutch" Hutchinson, recorded March/April 1969)
3. Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud (this is an alternate version put out as the non-album B-side to "Space Oddity" issued in July 1969 as a UK 7" single on Philips BF 1801. It contains the Paul Buckmaster spoken intro and less brass and strings - none of which are on the LP version)
4. Let Me Sleep Beside You
5. Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed
6. Janine
4 to 6 were recorded live for the Dave Lee Travis show on the BBC's Radio 1 on 20 Oct 1969 (broadcast 26 Oct). 5 and 6 have been issued before on the 2000 CD set "Bowie On The Beeb..." but 4 is previously unreleased
7. London, Bye, Ta-Ta (Stereo Version) (recorded in January 1970 in Trident Studios as a follow up single to "Space Oddity" but shelved, this version first appeared on the "Sound + Vision" 4CD Box set in 2003)
8.
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Format: Audio CD
Bowie's previous album "David Bowie" (1967) was his last folk music album. Bowie's next album "The Man Who Sold The World" (1971) was his first glam rock album. Right in between the two was "Space Oddity" (1969). Bowie managed to get the best of both worlds into this 10-song masterpiece. "Space Oddity," the title track, was his first commercial success (much due to the fact that it tied into the moon landing), and a nice yarn at that. Not one of his greatest, but it paved the way for songs like "Changes." "Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed" is just about as close to glam as he gets on this one, with about 3 minutes of guitar solo at the end. "(Don't Sit Down)" is the little insert which, like "Her Majesty" from The Beatles' "Abbey Road," seems almost as an afterthought. However, unlike "Her Majesty," this is quite good for all its 40 seconds. It's main flaw is that it could ONLY exist at 40 seconds. Any more, and it wouldn't be as nice. "Letter To Hermione" is his bitter plea to his recently departed (left, not dead) girlfriend Hermione Farthingale. Not much of a song, but the end ("He treats you well"/"He brings you out in style"..."And when you kiss it's something new"/"But did you ever call my name just by mistake?") is good enough to make just about any girl come back (don't you think she wishes she did, now?). "Cygnet Committee" is the grand gem of this album. 9 and a half minutes long, and great for every second of it. It weaves a talk good enough for a novel and the end brings to mind every great plea of human history, from Patrick Henry to Martin Luther King, Jr.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
A very good special edition reissue, while I don't consider this album essential for Bowie fans, it is a historically important snapshot of David Bowie at the tail end of the 60s. The reality is, while Bowie kept at the singles market throughout the 60s, he was probably too out of sync with the sensibilities of the 60s to belong to that era. He began to find his voice with this album, but he would also have a ways to go before he truly arrived. First off, the title track is a truly great piece, not only a great song, but a great record as well. The team of Producer Gus Dudgeon, and arranger Paul Buckmaster delivered such an impeccable record, that Elton John and Taupin would soon snatch them up for John's series of classic albums. Rick Wakeman's eerie Mellotron blends almost perfectly with Buckmaster's arrangement. Producer Tony Visconti takes over for the rest of the proceedings, "Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed" evolves into a good up-tempo rocker, with some hot harmonica soloing and an horn ensemble. The fun little filler known as "Don't Sit Down" is tagged on the end of "Unwashed" as all one track, and this differs from the Ryko reissue from the early 90s.

"Letter To Hermione" is a plaintive ballad about the breakup of his girlfriend. "The Cygnet Committee" is one of the more interesting tracks, as it's theme would be explored again with "Savoir Machine" off of the next album TMWSTW, as well as some thematic aspects of Ziggy Stardust, A messianic figure exploiting his followers, while his followers exploit him in kind. The song also seems to also be a scathing lament of the fallen ideals of utopian hippies, i.e. the outcome of Altamont, the career opportunism of Woodstock, etc...
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