Written by: Mark Carr-Pritchard
Recorded: 17 June 1971
Released: 11 August 1972
Mark Carr-Pritchard: vocals, guitar
David Bowie: vocals
Mick Ronson: guitar
Trevor Bolder: bass guitar
Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey: drums
‘Man In The Middle’ was the b-side of ‘Hang On To Yourself’, the second single by Arnold Corns.
The band was formed by David Bowie in 1972, for which he wrote and performed. The frontman was Freddie Burretti, although his role was purely ceremonial.
Our next meeting came one day in the spring of 1971 when I found myself scheduled on another session with David. He had booked time at Trident to produce a single with a friend of his, Freddie Burretti, who later became one of his clothing designers. Now Freddie was … how shall I put it? … very effeminate, and on this occasion he was wearing a very, very, tiny pair of hot pants and I, along with the rest of the Trident family, was extremely worried that he might suffer a major wardrobe malfunction, but thankfully the gods were with us on that day. I never did know if I was assigned to work on this session purely because David and I had previously worked together or whether he had asked for me, but as luck would have it, or those same gods, there we were together again.
Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust
Their debut single contained early versions of ‘Moonage Daydream’ and ‘Hang On To Yourself’. It failed to chart upon its release in May 1971.
A second single, ‘Looking For A Friend’, was scrapped, but the proposed b-side, ‘Man In The Middle’, appeared on the band’s actual follow-up, a reissue of ‘Hang On To Yourself’. It was released on 11 August 1972 by B&C Records, and again did not chart.
Bowie was working on a side project around the time we rejoined him, a band called Arnold Corns, whose name was inspired by Pink Floyd’s ‘Arnold Layne’. It was fronted by a clothes designer and gay friend of Bowie’s called Freddie Burretti. In hindsight, Freddie was supposed to be a sort of proto-Ziggy Stardust. The B&C label had released Arnold Corns’ awful single – versions of ‘Moonage Daydream’ and ‘Hang On To Yourself’ – in May 1971, and it disappeared without trace. That track had been recorded in February.
Spider From Mars: My Life With Bowie
‘Man In The Middle’ was written by guitarist Mark Carr-Pritchard, who also sang on the recording. It was taped at London’s Trident Studios on 17 June 1971, on the same day as ‘Looking For A Friend’.
He used to come and see my band [Rungk] and say, ‘I like that one.’ ‘Man In The Middle’ he particularly liked – probably because it was about him. It’s about when he was getting into dresses rather than his jeans and his long Afghan overcoat. When he started doing all his Lauren Bacall stuff I thought, ‘There’s a man in the middle,’ and he laughed and I thought, ‘I’ll write a song about that.’
David Bowie: Ultimate Record Collection (Uncut)