Tuesday, December 24, 2019

David Bowie - BBC Sessions, Volume 3: 1971

I recently posted a David Bowie performance in which he played for the BBC in 1970 for a full hour. This similarly covers him at the BBC in one year, but is mostly made up of two appearances.

Tracks two through 19 are from a live BBC concert hosted by DJ John Peel. Tracks 20 through 26 are from a BBC studio session. When I first posted this, many of the songs were unreleased. But everything has since been officially released on the album "A Divine Symmetry," so the sound quality is excellent.

At this time, Bowie was almost entirely a British phenomenon, and in fact even in Britain he wouldn't break really big until 1972. Thus, he didn't appear on many TV or radio shows outside of Britain. However, I did manage to include one. The first song, "Moonage Daydream," actually comes from a Radio Luxembourg performance, not a BBC one.

One strange thing about Bowie at this time was he kept collaborating with musicians who weren't nearly as talented as he was. This album is a case in point. For three of the songs, two of them written by Bowie, he had someone else sing lead vocals while he merely accompanied them. One of those singers, Dana Gillespie, already had two albums released before she briefly collaborated with Bowie, and she went on to have a long career as a blues singer. But the other two, George Underwood and Geoffrey MacCormack, stayed in musical obscurity except for their brief spotlight with Bowie.

I tried to avoid including two versions of the same song. But there are three such cases here: "The Supermen," "Kooks," and "Andy Warhol." At least for one of the versions of "Andy Warhol," the first version is sung by Gillespie, and the second version is sung by Bowie.

This album is 58 minutes long.

UPDATE: On April 17, 2023, I updated the mp3 download file. In 2022, the official archival release "A Divine Symmetry" included better and complete versions of the BBC performances here.

01 Moonage Daydream (David Bowie)
02 talk (David Bowie)
03 Queen Bitch (David Bowie)
04 talk (David Bowie)
05 Bombers (David Bowie)
06 talk (David Bowie)
07 The Supermen (David Bowie)
08 talk (David Bowie)
09 Looking for a Friend (David Bowie)
10 talk (David Bowie)
11 Almost Grown (Geoffrey MacCormack & David Bowie)
12 talk (David Bowie)
13 Kooks (David Bowie)
14 talk (David Bowie)
15 Song for Bob Dylan (George Underwood & David Bowie)
16 talk (David Bowie)
17 Andy Warhol (Dana Gillespie & David Bowie)
18 talk (David Bowie)
19 It Ain't Easy (David Bowie, Geoffrey Alexander & George Underwood)
20 The Supermen (David Bowie)
21 Oh, You Pretty Things (David Bowie)
22 Eight Line Poem (David Bowie)
23 Kooks (David Bowie)
24 Fill Your Heart (David Bowie)
25 Amsterdam (David Bowie)
26 Andy Warhol (David Bowie)


For the cover art, I found a photo that I think is from 1970. The photo was undated, but that's pretty much the only time he had a haircut like that.


  1. "At this time, Bowie was almost entirely a British phenomenon, and in fact wouldn't break big in *Britain* until 1972."

    Did you mean America there? ;)

    1. I meant Britain. In that country, he was mostly seen as a one-hit wonder, with Space Oddity in 1969. It was only in 1972, with his next hit Starman, and subsequent hits, as well as the whole Ziggy Stardust phenomenon, that he was seen as a really big deal.

      I probably should have phrased that better though. I'll try to fix it.

    2. Having scanned the Wiki, I see what you meant, and you phrased it better.