David Bowie left Cannes for New York aboard the SS France on 3 April 1974.
He and friend Geoff MacCormack had arrived in Cannes earlier that day. They had intended to stay for three nights but were only there for a brief time before the ship set sail.
David fell in love with a girl on a revue show and I had a girlfriend there [in Paris] at the time. We had a suite in the Carlton Hotel for three nights but all we managed was to get back just in time to grab a banana, have a quick wash and get in a limo taking us back to get our boat, which we nearly missed.
Station To Station: Travels With Bowie 1973-76
During the transatlantic voyage, Bowie gave an impromptu performance to the ship’s crew in their canteen.
We enjoyed more than 10 songs and especially Space Oddity which was the first one, and a few crew members took instruments too and played with him.
It was a really, really good time. He was a very ordinary person and very friendly to us. We really enjoyed it.
SS France receptionist 1972-74
The SS France arrived in New York on 11 April. Bowie and MacCormack stayed at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel on 5th Avenue.
Bowie had left Britain for France on 29 March. Although he returned to the UK many times, he never again lived permanently in his country of birth.
Also on this day...
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.