Filming: Space Oddity

On 13 December, just hours before boarding the RHMS Ellinis to England, David Bowie was in RCA’s Studio 3 in New York City, where Mick Rock directed a promotional film for ‘Space Oddity’.

We filmed the promo in five hours in RCA’s New York recording studio. Later that day David sailed back to England on the QE2. The next day I went back to film the oscilloscope and other studio equipment. I viewed the studio as Major Tom’s ‘tin can’.
Mick Rock
Moonage Daydream: The Life And Times Of Ziggy Stardust

Bowie mimed to the song with a guitar. The promo was to support the single ‘Space Oddity’, with ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ on the b-side. It was released in January 1973 and became Bowie’s first US hit, reaching number 15 on the Billboard chart.

Low-tech space has always appealed. I had already done a funky little video for ‘Space Oddity’ back in the late Sixties, which had also belaboured the no-budget factor. This didn’t really worry me, as after the movie 2001: A Space Oddity who wanted to compete with that dazzling and realistic hi-tech look? Again, Rock pretty much just set his camera up, popped on a couple of really red lights, and shot away as I sang. I only had a few hours for him as I hadn’t yet finished packing the huge trunk that accompanied me on all my nautical travels. I really hadn’t much clue why we were doing this, as I had moved on in my mind from the song, but I suppose the record company were re-releasing it again or something like that. Anyway, I know I was disinterested in the proceedings and it shows in my performance. Mick’s video is good, though.
David Bowie, 2002
Moonage Daydream: The Life And Times Of Ziggy Stardust

Last updated: 12 October 2023
Press conference: New York
Travel: New York to London
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