David Bowie ‘The Mercury Demos’ detailed

Single LP box set available June 28th via Parlophone Records

As part of the ongoing celebrations marking 50 years since David Bowie’s first hit, “Space Oddity,” and following the recent Spying Through A Keyhole and Clareville Grove Demos collections, Parlophone is releasing a further set of recordings known as The ‘Mercury’ Demos.

The ‘Mercury’ Demos are ten early Bowie recordings captured live in one take to a Revox reel to reel tape machine in Bowie’s flat in spring 1969, with accompaniment from John “Hutch” Hutchinson on guitar and vocals.

The version of “Space Oddity” from The ‘Mercury’ Demos, originally released with edits on the Sound & Vision boxed set, is presented here in its true context for the first time. The other nine recordings on the album are all previously unreleased. In addition to the Bowie originals, the session also includes the Roger Bunn composition “Life Is A Circus” (which features in an earlier demo version on the Clareville Grove Demos set) and the Lesley Duncan composition “Love Song,” later recorded by Elton John for his Tumbleweed Connection album. Bowie’s own “Conversation Piece” is announced as a new song and “Janine” features a short, 19-second section sung to the melody of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude.”

The session was a basic recording of the “Bowie & Hutch” duo’s set list at the time and was committed to tape at the request of Mercury Records A&R man, Calvin Mark Lee, who wanted the tracks to send them to his boss Bob Reno. Both Lee and Reno are referenced during the 41-minute recording, and the demos were key in securing Bowie his recording deal with Mercury Records.

The ‘Mercury’ Demos set will come in a replica of the original tape box and will feature one LP, a print, two photo contact sheets, and sleeve notes by Mark Adams. The labels of the LP feature the same EMIDISC acetate styling as Spying Through A Keyhole and Clareville Grove Demos with the song titles in Bowie’s own handwriting.

LP

Side One:

  1. Space Oddity
  2. Janine
  3. An Occasional Dream
  4. Conversation Piece
  5. Ching-a-Ling
  6. I’m Not Quite (aka Letter To Hermione)

Side Two:

  1. Lover To The Dawn
  2. Love Song
  3. When I’m Five
  4. Life Is A Circus

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.