David Bowie’s second single, ‘I Pity The Fool’, was released in the UK on Friday 5 March 1965.
It was recorded on 15 January, along with its b-side, ‘Take My Tip’.
Credited to The Manish Boys, the single was released as Parlophone R 5250.
‘I Pity The Fool’ was first recorded in 1961 by American blues singer Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland. The songwriter is unclear – it was originally credited to Duke record label owner Don Robey under the pseudonym Deadric Malone, although it is more likely to have been written by R&B singer-songwriter Joe Medwick, who often sold songs to Robey along with composition credits.
The song was Bowie’s last cover version until ‘Fill Your Heart’ on the Hunky Dory album.
Also performing on the single was session guitarist Jimmy Page, who was booked by producer Shel Talmy. During the session Page taught Bowie a riff which was later incorporated into ‘The Supermen’ on The Man Who Sold The World.
When I was a baby, I did a rock session with one of the bands, one of the millions of bands that I had in the ’60s – it was the Manish Boys, that’s what it was – and the session guitar player doing the solo was this young kid who’d just come out of art school and was already a top session man, Jimmy Page. And he just got a fuzz box and he used that for the solo. He was wildly excited about it and he was quite generous that day and he said, ‘Look, I’ve got this riff but I’m not using it for anything, so why don’t you learn it and see if you can do anything with it?’ So I had his riff, and I’ve used it ever since! [laughs]. It’s never let me down.
ChangesNowBowie, BBC Radio 1, 8 January 1997
Also on this day...
- 1976: Live: Kiel Auditorium, St Louis, Missouri
- 1970: Live: David Bowie and Hype, Three Tuns, Beckenham
- 1968: Stage: Pierrot In Turquoise, Mercury Theatre, London
- 1966: Live: David Bowie and the Buzz, Trent Bridge Rowing Club, Nottingham
- 1966: Record signing: Crane and Sons, Birmingham
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.