In 1969, David Bowie made a series of one-take demos in an effort to secure a record contract with Mercury Records. Thanks to Parlophone, you’ll be able to get your hands on the early Bowie recordings this year.
Slated for release on June 28, The Mercury Demos will come as a 10-track vinyl release, featuring nine unpublished recordings. Among them are early versions of some of the Space Oddity tracks, including An Occasional Dream, Janine, Letter to Hermione, and Space Oddity.
Released inside a replica of the original tape box, the 10-track vinyl will include early versions of songs from Space Oddity as well as covers of Lesley Duncan and Roger Bunn.
Recorded with guitarist John “Hutch” Hutchinson The Mercury Demos features covers of Love Song by Lesley Duncan (later popularised by Elton John), and Life Is a Circus by Roger Bunn.
The vinyl will be released inside a replica of the original tape box, and picture below.
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MERCURY DEMOS LP BOX DUE IN JUNE “I recall how we lived on the corner of a bed…” As part of the ongoing Space Oddity 50 celebrations 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 on 28th June 2019. The ‘Mercury’ Demos are 10 early Bowie recordings captured live in one take to a Revox reel to reel tape machine in David’s flat in spring 1969, with Bowie on vocals, guitar and Stylophone and with accompaniment from John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson on guitar and vocals. The version of ‘Space Oddity’ from the Demos, originally released with edits on the S&V box, is presented here in its true context for the first time. The other recordings on the album are all previously unreleased. In addition to Bowie originals, the session also includes the Roger Bunn’s Life Is A Circus (which features as 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. David’s own Conversation Piece is announced as ‘a new song’ and Janine features a short section sung to the melody of The Beatles’ Hey Jude. The session was a document of the ‘Bowie & Hutch’ duo’s set of the time recorded at the request of Mercury Records A&R man Calvin Mark Lee for his boss Bob Reno. Both Calvin and Bob are referenced during the 41-minute recording which was key in securing David his deal with Mercury Records. The ‘Mercury’ Demos comes in a replica of the original tape box and will feature 1 mono 33 1/3 rpm vinyl 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 David’s own handwriting. Side 1 Space Oddity Janine An Occasional Dream Conversation Piece Ching-a-Ling I’m Not Quite (aka Letter To Hermione) Side 2 Lover To The Dawn Love Song When I’m Five Life Is A Circus #BowieTheMercuryDemos
You can preorder The Mercury Demos here.