Diamond Dogs album coverWritten by: David Bowie
Recorded: October 1973; 1973
Producers: David Bowie, Ken Scott (1973)

Released:

Personnel

1973:
David Bowie: vocals, baritone saxophone
Mick Ronson, Mark Carr-Pritchard: guitar
Trevor Bolder: bass guitar
Mike Garson: piano, electric piano
Aynsley Dunbar: drums
Geoff MacCormack: vocals, congas
Ava Cherry, Jason Guess: vocals
Unknown: violin, viola, cello

1974:
David Bowie: vocals, guitar, baritone saxophone
Herbie Flowers: bass guitar
Mike Garson: piano, electric piano
Aynsley Dunbar/Tony Newman: drums
Unknown: trumpet, trombone

‘Dodo’ is an outtake from David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs sessions.

The song was originally titled ‘You Didn’t Hear It From Me’, after a key line in the chorus. It was written and demoed in September 1973 for Bowie’s planned stage adaptation of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

‘Dodo’ was performed in a medley with ‘1984’ at London’s Marquee Club in October 1973, as part of Bowie’s The 1980 Floor Show. It was never again played in public.

The medley was recorded at Trident Studios later that month. It was released in 1989 on the Rykodisc box set Sound + Vision, and in 2004 on the 30th anniversary reissue of Diamond Dogs.

In the end, my version of ‘Dodo’/‘1984’ failed to make the cut for Diamond Dogs. It did, however, eventually appear on one of the many compilations down the road.
Ken Scott
Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust

The medley was the final time Bowie worked with producer Ken Scott, who had produced the albums Hunky Dory, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, Aladdin Sane, and Pin Ups. Scott had been struggling to secure payment for his work from Bowie’s management company MainMan, and the conflict put some strain on the session.

With all the legal wranglings still swirling about, communication had broken down a lot, and generally the session felt very strange, but we carried on regardless and eventually finished the track.

When it was time to mix, most unusually David chose to be there, and was obviously now very influenced by American music, as he kept playing me Barry White songs and saying, ‘I want it to sound like that.’ The mix went all night long.

It wasn’t long after that we, the Trident mob, heard through the grapevine that David had booked time at Olympic, very obviously without me. I know I was pissed off, but more because I was never told anything by David in relation to not actually doing the album.

Ken Scott
Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust

In the weeks after the ‘1984’/‘Dodo’ session, Bowie decamped to Olympic Studios in Barnes, London, where he worked on new recordings for himself, and finished producing the singer Lulu’s cover of ‘The Man Who Sold The World’. He was also invited to visit the band Jethro Tull at London’s Morgan Studios, and played saxophone on their album Now We Are Six.

Bowie reworked ‘Dodo’ during the Olympic sessions as an entirely new song. Bowie intended it to be a duet with Lulu, and a recording with both singers has appeared on bootleg collections.

I first met Bowie on tour in the early ’70s, when he invited me to his concert. And back at the hotel, he said to me, in very heated language, “I want to make an MF of a record with you. You’re a great singer.” I didn’t think it would happen, but he followed up two days later. He was über-cool at the time and I just wanted to be led by him. I didn’t think ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ was the greatest song for my voice, but it was such a strong song in itself. In the studio, Bowie kept telling me to smoke more cigarettes, to give my voice a certain quality. We were like the odd couple. Were we ever an item? I’d rather not answer that one, thanks!

For the video, people thought he came up with the androgynous look, but that was all mine. It was very Berlin cabaret. We did other songs, too, like ‘Watch That Man’, ‘Can You Hear Me?’ and ‘Dodo’. ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ saved me from a certain niche in my career. If we’d have carried on, it would have been very interesting.

Lulu
Uncut, March 2008

The Olympic recording, with Lulu’s contribution omitted, was included in the 1990 and 2004 reissues of Diamond Dogs.