Listen: The Prettiest Star / David Bowie
Although re-recorded for the ALADDIN SANE album in Fall ’72, this original mono version of ‘The Prettiest Star’ came from sessions at London’s Trident Studios during January ’70 when, with his then backup band Junior’s Eyes and Marc Bolan as guest guitarist, the intent was to followup David Bowie’s first hit, ‘Space Odditiy’.
To his credit, he never gave up trying for that initial success, which took five years in the making, from “Liza Jane’ in ’64 through various attempts with Parlophone, Deram and UK Pye/US Warner Brothers. Every door was shut in David Bowie’s face. Read THE PITT REPORT sometime. It’s an eye opener.
So with ‘Space Oddity’, a #5 UK hit in the Fall of ’69, seemingly positioning him for a much smoother career ride, the original plan was to cut a new version of his final Deram submission ‘London Bye Ta Ta’, which that company had rejected as a fourth single, thereby dropping him. The story goes that during those sessions, ‘The Prettiest Star’ was also recorded and became his choice as followup.
Even more fun is the often documented detail of ‘The Prettiest Star’ selling just under 800 copies when current, a desperately shocking result off the back of a Top 10 hit. That number sounds rather exaggerated now, with even total stiffs moving more copies than 800, given loads of singles were sold regularly then.
Decades later, when included on various compilations, it’s the stereo version of ‘The Prettiest Star’ that’s chosen. To my knowledge, this original mono only ever saw the light of day on those initial pressings like the one above and a BEST OF from ’87.