Relive David Bowie’s first-ever TV performance from 1969
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring“—David Bowie.
It can feel a bit trivial when you call David Bowie ‘an artist’, the truth is he was far more than that. With every performance he confirmed it, one song at a time. His style was like no other and his ability to flit between the light and shadow of the pop world made him a global mega-star. But it all had to start somewhere.
A cultural figure who transcended fashion, music, and everything else in between to create something entirely singular. Bowie created his own life and made it art. So at a time when millions of people are forced to remain home amid a strict social distancing lockdown, we’re adding a portion of David Bowie nostalgia to our day and take a look back at the beginning of it all, the moment he first set foot on our TV airwaves.
The footage below shows the first TV performance of Bowie’s enigmatic and now seminal song ‘Space Oddity’ which had reached number five in the UK charts that year.
The clip sees a young Bowie performing at the prestigious Ivor Novello Awards in the autumn of 1969. The live performance is candid and authentic, it shows Bowie at the start of something incredible. He would later come off stage to accept the ‘Special Merit Award for Originality’. Just a few short years before he would storm the world with his persona Ziggy Stardust and inspire thousands. Many believe the song to be written for the moon landing, however, Bowie later confirmed it was actually inspired by the time he got stoned and went to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Though Bowie had just released his eponymous LP to a varying degree of success he shows no signs of the transition that would catapult him into the stratosphere. Only one year later Bowie would go on to share The Man Who Sold The World, his first with the Spiders from Mars, and create his own niche, his own fanbase and sow the seeds of his legacy.
Although below you can see that clip, he also had lip-synched the same song on a Swiss TV show Hits A Go Go earlier that year, which you can also see further down.