The ‘Mercury’ Demos cover artwork (2019)Written by: Lesley Duncan
Recorded: 1969

Released: 28 June 2019

Available on:
The ‘Mercury’ Demos
Conversation Piece

Personnel

John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson: vocals, guitar
David Bowie: vocals, guitar

‘Love Song’ was written by singer-songwriter Lesley Duncan, and recorded as a demo by David Bowie in 1969.

Bowie first met Duncan in 1966, and they had a sporadic relationship for some months. She introduced him to the works of Jacques Brel, via the recordings of her former beau Scott Walker, both of whom became key influences on Bowie.

In the mid-60s, I was having an on-again, off-again thing with a wonderful singer-songwriter who had previously been the girlfriend of Scott Walker. Much to my chagrin, Walker’s music played in her apartment night and day. I sadly lost contact with her, but unexpectedly kept a fond and hugely admiring love for Walker’s work. One of the writers he covered on an early album was Jacques Brel. That was enough to take me to the theater to catch the above-named production [Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris] when it came to London in 1968. By the time the cast, led by the earthy translator and Brooklynite Mort Shuman, had gotten to the song that dealt with guys lining up for their syphilis shots (‘Next’), I was completely won over. By way of Brel, I discovered French chanson a revelation. Here was a popular song form wherein poems by the likes of Sartre, Cocteau, Verlaine, and Baudelaire were known and embraced by the general populace. No flinching, please.
David Bowie
Vanity Fair, November 2003

Bowie’s trio Feathers, with John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson and Hermione Farthingale, performed Duncan’s ‘Love Song’, which was later recorded by Elton John on his third album, 1970’s Tumbleweed Connection.

Bowie and Hutch recorded an acoustic demo of ‘Love Song’ in spring 1969. Hutch took lead vocals, with Bowie joining on harmonies.

The demo was first released in June 2019 on The ‘Mercury’ Demos. It was included again in the box set Conversation Piece in November that year.

Lyrics

The words I have to say
May well be simple but they’re true
Until you give your love
There’s nothing more that we can do

Love is the opening door
Love is what we came here for
No one can offer you more
Do you know what I mean?
Have your eyes really seen?

You say you find it hard
To leave the life that we once knew
But there’s no other way
So now it’s really up to you

Love is the key we must turn
Truth is the flame we must learn
Freedom the lesson we must learn
Do you know what I mean?
Have your eyes really seen?

Love is the key we must turn
Truth is the flame we must burn
Freedom the lesson we must learn
Do you know what I mean?
Have your eyes really seen?