WCSX Classic Cuts
David Bowie: “Life on Mars”
The Hook: Written in a small demo studio on Regent Street in London.
Album: Hunky Dory
Writer: David Bowie
Stats: Never released as a single in America, it reached number-three on the British charts.
Background: Although never released as a single in America, “Life on Mars” became an enduring rock radio track for David Bowie, and was even covered by Barbra Streisand at the time. In a 1980s interview, the late Spiders from Mars guitarist Mick Ronson recalled how the song was written and recorded.
In a 1980s interview, the late Spiders from Mars guitarist Mick Ronson on “Life on Mars.” OC:…that one. :24
“We used to go to these offices in Regent Street and we used to sort of hang out down there. And they used to have a music room in the offices where people used to just plan demos. And David was sitting around in the office, I remember, and he was playing the beginnings of ‘Life On Mars’ in the office there. And that’s how that song originally came about. When we recorded it, we thought we’d have it orchestrated, put strings on it and everything. And we got Rick Wakeman to play piano on that one.”