UK single release: Rubber Band

David Bowie’s ‘Rubber Band’ single was released in the UK on Friday 2 December 1966.

The b-side was ‘The London Boys’. Both songs had been recorded on 18 October at RG Jones Studios, situated in Morden Manor on London Road in Morden, south-west London.

Bowie’s backing band was the Buzz – guitarist Billy Gray, bassist Derek ‘Dek’ Fearnley, keyboard player Derek ‘Chow’ Boyes, and drummer John ‘Ego’ Eager.

‘Rubber Band’ was Bowie’s first single since signing to Decca Records on 27 October 1966.

DAVID BOWIE is a bright and original new star who looks set to make his mark on the disc scene with this first DERAM release.

“RUBBER BAND” is a ballad of lost love – it’s original in production, unique in presentation and was written by David.

There’s a neat off-beat approach to the lyrics that touch on such topics as garden tea parties, waxed moustaches and the First World War. Yet the underlying sentiment reflects the ideals and humour of this London-born singer.

David is 18-years old, he studied art at Bromley Art School before drifting towards a musical career that encompassed the group scene and stints in Paris and London.

Now David lives with his family in Kent, works hard on a cabaret act and has high hopes that “RUBBER BAND” will advance his ambitions. Personally we don’t think he’ll have much difficulty in achieving them!

Deram press release

The single accrued some positive reviews in the UK music press, but was not a commercial success. Its fate was predicted by Disc and Music Echo in December 1967:

I do not think Rubber Band is a hit. What it is is an example of how David Bowie has progressed himself into being a name to reckon with, certainly as far as songwriting is concerned. He is not the David Bowie we once knew. Even a different voice – distinctly reminiscent of a young Tony Newley – has emerged.

Listen to this record then turn it over and listen to The London Boys, which actually I think would have been a much more impressive topside. But both are worth thinking about.

‘Rubber Band’ was re-recorded on 25 February 1967 for Bowie’s self-titled debut album. The new recording was 20 seconds longer owing to a slower tempo, and contained a lyrical change of 1912 to 1910.

Last updated: 24 June 2022
Live: David Bowie and the Buzz, Maid's Head, King's Lynn
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