Recording: Oh! You Pretty Things

David Bowie recorded a demo of ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’ on Tuesday 18 January 1971.

The previous day he had performed his new single ‘Holy Holy’ for the Granada TV show Six-O-One Newsday in Manchester. While there Bowie spoke to television producer Roger Damon Price, who told him about a children’s sci-fi series he was working on called The Tomorrow People.

The original series ran on the UK’s ITV network from 1973 to 1979. The show was about the emergence of the next evolutionary stage of humans, the Tomorrow People. In the show they were referred to as both Homo Novis and Homo superior.

At 4am the next morning Bowie woke up with a new melody in his head, and the line “Got to make way for the Homo superior”, which he incorporated into his new song ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’.

I woke up and this song was going round in my head. I had to get out of bed and just play it out of me so that I could get back to sleep again.
David Bowie
Mojo, August 1995

With the writing complete, Bowie called his publisher Bob Grace at Chrysalis Music. Grace invited him to record the song that day at the Radio Luxembourg Studio at 38 Hertford Street, London.

Grace was preparing to go to the Midem music fair in Cannes. He took the demo of ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’ and played it to producer Mickie Most, who thought it the perfect song to launch former Herman’s Hermits frontman Peter Noone’s solo career. Bowie played piano on Noone’s version on 26 March.

Last updated: 3 April 2023
Television: Six-O-One Newsday
Travel: London to Washington Dulles International Airport
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