David Bowie leaves Mercury Records

Mercury Records agreed to terminate their deal with David Bowie on 14 May 1971.

Bowie, his wife Angela, and manager Tony Defries, met Mercury executives Robin McBride and Charlie Fasch for lunch at the Londonderry Hotel in London’s Mayfair.

The contract with Mercury was due to expire the following month, and the label had the option to extend it for a further three years. However, Defries demanded that they release Bowie without delay, and said he would not record for them again unless they did so.

The execs reluctantly agreed to Defries’s demands, on condition that the label would be reimbursed their advance, recording and production costs.

Bowie had become unhappy with Mercury Records’ treatment of The Man Who Sold The World, and in the first half of 1971 he almost only recorded for other acts: Peter Noone, Micky King, and The Arnold Corns.

Last updated: 6 April 2023
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