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"The Prettiest Star" is a song by David Bowie, originally released as a single in March 1970.

In January 1970, Bowie re-recorded an old Deram track, "London Bye Ta Ta", intended as a follow-up single to "Space Oddity". However, the same sessions spawned a new composition named "The Prettiest Star", which Bowie had written for Angela Barnett, reputedly playing it down the telephone as part of his proposal to her. It's in Greek "hassapiko" dance style, as a tribute to Angie's Cypriot ethnic origin. He also chose it as his next single, to the displeasure of manager Kenneth Pitt, who favoured "London Bye Ta Ta".[1]

The track featured Marc Bolan on guitar, with whom Bowie would spend the next few years as a rival for the crown of the king of glam rock. Producer Tony Visconti, who brought the two aspiring pop stars together in the studio, recalled that the session went well until the end when Bolan's wife June remarked to Bowie, "Marc is too good for you, to be playing on this record!"[1]

Despite receiving good notices, the single reportedly sold fewer than 800 copies, a major disappointment on the back of the success of "Space Oddity". A more glam-influenced version, recorded in New York in December 1972,[2] was included on the album Aladdin Sane, with Mick Ronson recreating Bolan's original guitar part almost note-for-note.[3]

Contents 1 Track listing 2 Production credits 3 Other releases 4 Cover versions 5 Notes 6 References 7 External links

Track listing[]

1."The Prettiest Star" (David Bowie) – 3:09 2."Conversation Piece" (Bowie) – 3:05

Production credits[]

Producer: Tony Visconti

Musicians (1970 original single version): David Bowie - lead vocals, acoustic guitar Marc Bolan - electric guitar on "The Prettiest Star" Tony Visconti - bass guitar, string arrangement John Cambridge - drums Derek Austin - Hammond Organ

Tim Renwick, John 'Honk' Lodge and John Cambridge were all from the band Junior's Eyes, who briefly served as Bowie's backing band for live appearances and on an October 1969 BBC Radio session.[4][5][6] Musicians (1973 Aladdin Sane version): David Bowie - lead vocals, acoustic guitar Warren Peace - backing vocals, handclaps Mick Ronson - electric guitar, backing vocals Trevor Bolder - bass guitar David Sanborn - tenor saxophone Mike Garson - piano Woody Woodmansey - drums

Other releases[]

The Aladdin Sane version was released as the B-side of the US single "Time" in April 1973. The Aladdin Sane version also appeared on the Japanese compilation The Best of David Bowie in 1974. The single version from 1970 was included, in its original mono format, in the Sound + Vision box set, in 1989, and on Re:Call 1, part of the Five Years (1969–1973) compilation, in 2015. The single version was also included on the career-spanning Marc Bolan box set 20th Century Superstar. On The Best of David Bowie 1969/1974 in 1997, the 1970 recording was issued for the first time in stereo, described on the sleeve as "Bolan Stereo Mix"; the same version later appeared on The Platinum Collection (2006). The song appeared on the musical soundtrack of the film Kinky Boots.

Cover versions[]

Finnish musician Hector recorded a version for his 1977 album, HEC. French industrial metal band Treponem Pal recorded a version for their 1989 debut album, Treponem Pal. Ian McCulloch recorded a version for Starman: Rare and Exclusive Versions of 18 Classic David Bowie Songs, a Bowie tribute album from the March 2003 issue of Uncut magazine.[7] British singer Simon Turner recorded a version for Oh! You Pretty Things: The Songs of David Bowie, a 2006 Bowie tribute album.


1.^ Jump up to: a b David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story: pp.80-81 2.Jump up ^ Kevin Cann (2010). Any Day Now - David Bowie: The London Years: 1947-1974: p.292 3.Jump up ^ Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: p.32 4.Jump up ^ Junior's Eyes discography at 5.Jump up ^ David Bowie and Junior's Eyes BBC recording session at The Illustrated db Discography 6.Jump up ^ Battersea Power Station (Junior's Eyes) Liner Notes, David Wells (2000) 7.Jump up ^ "Starman: Rare and Exclusive Versions of 18 Classic David Bowie Songs". Uncut. London: IPC Media. 3 March 2003.


Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5 "The Prettiest Star" at Teenage Wildlife

External links[]

Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics