Sunday, December 7, 2008
He'd Like to Come and Meet Us but He Thinks He'd Blow Our Minds
Do you know which song marked David Bowie's first foray into the U.S. Top Forty? It's probably not the song you're thinking of, so let's take a few moments first to dispose of what was not a Top Forty Bowie hit.
* "Space Oddity" was released as a single in the summer of 1969, timed to coincide with the moon landing. Bowie was 22 at the time. It went to Number Five in England, but failed to chart in the U.S. When it was re-released in 1973, it went to Number Fifteen on the Billboard charts - after the song we're looking for.
* The Man Who Sold the World came out in November 1970, and no singles were released from it. Face it, none of them would have been hits anyway, except maybe the title track.
* "Changes" was released as the first single from Hunky Dory on January 7, 1972. It peaked at Number 41 on the pop charts - oh so close!
* The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars was released on June 6, 1972; its first single was "Starman," which went to Number Ten in England. Here in the U.S., though, it topped out at Number 65. No other singles were released from Rise and Fall.
Finally, in November of 1972, Bowie put out something that Casey Kasem could talk about. In introducing the song on the countdown, Casey noted that its writer and producer was far more famous than the band that had recorded it. Casey mentioned that Time and Newsweek had both run stories on him despite that fact that he had yet to have a Top Forty hit of his own.
Thus it was that Mott the Hoople's "All the Young Dudes," reaching the Top Forty on November 4, 1972, and written, produced and featuring both backing vocals and handclaps by David Bowie, represented the first Top Forty hit of Bowie's career.