Upon his return from his first American trip, David Bowie entered perhaps his most prolific songwriting period. On 25 February 1971 he recorded versions of newly-written songs ‘Moonage Daydream’ and ‘Hang On To Yourself’.
Unusually, they weren’t for release under his own name. They were for both sides of the debut single by The Arnold Corns, a side project band fronted by fashion designer Freddie Burretti.
Bowie played guitar and sang, with backing from the band Rungk: guitarist Mark Pritchett, bassist Pete De Somogyl, and drummer Tim Broadbent. Although Burretti was the band’s nominal frontman, and was present at the recording, he appeared on neither song.
What became Arnold Corns was a band called Rungk, which was me and two fellow students at Dulwich College. David was a neighbour. He lived across the street; I used to do stuff at his folk club – I probably had more equipment than he did. After The Man Who Sold The World flopped, David was having arguments with his label, and was writing all this stuff and wanted to get some of it down; he just wanted to get it out there around his current contracts.
After The Man Who Sold The World the band all left, but I was still there across the street. He thought, ‘I can do this with a load of public schoolboys’ – he loved it, and he wanted Freddie Buretti to front it up. Freddie had been around for a bit. I said to David, ‘Freddie can dance and he can pose, but he cannot sing.’ The first one, ‘Moonage Daydream’ and ‘Hang On To Yourself’, is Rungk, bass, drums and guitar – I play a bit of piano on it – and David singing. Freddie, also known as Rudi Valentino, he made the cosrumes but he didn’t have a great set of tonsils on him.
David Bowie: Ultimate Record Collection (Uncut)
The ‘Moonage Daydream’ single was released in the UK on 7 May 1971.
Also on this day...
- 1976: Live: Forum, Montreal
- 1973: Live: Ellis Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee
- 1972: Live: Avery Hill College, London
- 1967: Recording: Rubber Band, Love You Till Tuesday, When I Live My Dream
- 1966: Live: David Bowie and the Buzz, Kasbah Club, Southampton
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.