Written by: Biff Rose
Recorded: 5 February 1970
Producer: Jeff Griffin
Released: 28 May 2021
The Width Of A Circle
Mick Ronson: guitar
Tony Visconti: bass guitar
John Cambridge: drums
‘Buzz The Fuzz’ was written by Biff Rose, and recorded by David Bowie during a BBC radio session in early 1970.
Rose’s version appeared on his 1968 debut album The Thorn In Mrs Rose’s Side, which also featured his song ‘Fill Your Heart’.
The song tells the story of “a rookie cop” in Los Angeles who meets a femme fatale named Alice Dee, a play on LSD. Corrupted by her evil ways, and via a series of excruciating puns, he soon becomes “the pusher on the force… taking pills and shots”.
Bowie performed ‘Buzz The Fuzz’ live in 1970 and 1971. The song remains a quaint period piece, though why he decided to record an anti-drug song well after the hippie dream had died is unknown.
A recording from Aylesbury on 25 September 1971 was released on the 2022 box set Divine Symmetry.
David Bowie’s fourth BBC radio session was recorded on 5 February 1970, and broadcast on Radio 1 three days later. It took place at the BBC Paris Studio on Lower Regent Street, London.
Bowie was backed by Mick Ronson on guitar, Tony Visconti on bass, and John Cambridge on drums. Jeff Griffin produced the session, which was for an edition of The Sunday Show.
Fifteen songs were recorded: ‘Amsterdam’, ‘God Knows I’m Good’, ‘Buzz The Fuzz’, ‘Karma Man’, ‘London Bye Ta-Ta’, ‘An Occasional Dream’, ‘The Width Of A Circle’, ‘Janine’, ‘Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud’, ‘Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed’, ‘Fill Your Heart’, ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’, ‘The Prettiest Star’, ‘Cygnet Committee’, and ‘Memory Of A Free Festival’.
The entire session, apart from the believed-lost ‘I’m Waiting For My Man’, was released in 2021 on The Width Of A Circle.
Once there was a fellow
And his name was Buzz
He was just a rookie cop
Just a baby fuzz
He patrolled the Sunset Strip
In the land of the free
And the home of the hip
He protected you and me
Until he met a girl named Alice D
Alice was the girl that all good hippies dread
And they called her Sweet Alice D Head
Alice it was plain to see
Was full of pot and STP
She’d attract a great big crowd
Because her inner peace
Was much too loud
Good Buzz did the thing
That good fuzz must
Shoved his gun in Alice’s chest
And said “Dis is a bust!”
Put the flashlight to her eyes
She began to hypnotize
Buzz said “What a wild sensation
This must be halu-halu-sinay-sinay-shun-shun-shun”
Love is so sensational
When you fall in love
With eyes dilational
Buzz said “Alice, you I like
Come take ride on my fuzzy bike
Soon it will be gettin’ dark
And we can watch the stars
From Griffith Park”
So they both went out and dug astrology
Through their mutual hallucinology
Now they’re taking pills and shots
And Buzz is not afraid of Watts
Buzz and Alice D have shown
The way of where the fuzz
Might be some day
Buzz is still a cop of course
He’s the pusher on the force
He’s protecting you and me
From evil women like poor Alice D