Credit: Gerald Fearnley/ACC Edition

Enjoy a rare recording of David Bowie covering The Beatles song ‘This Boy’ live

Taking a trip down memory lane with the great David Bowie is just about as fun as it can get. Meandering down that same lane with Bowie and The Beatles is the pinnacle of rock and roll greatness, where two icons meet.

Back in 1972, while Bowie was blowing away stunned audiences as part of his momentous Ziggy Stardust Tour, the Starman was always keen to add a little extra mystery to his shows. Never on to settle on a setlist he even put together a special cover version of Beatles rarity ‘This Boy’ while performing at Locarno in Bristol.

The song, first released by The Beatles in November 1963 as the B-side of the band’s Parlophone single ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’, was written by John Lennon in the style of Motown icon Smokey Robinson. It is at this juncture that the flame-haired rock and roll alien from outer space arrives.

While the song was never a major hit for the Fab Four themselves, alternative recordings of the track have also been officially released which included a live version performed on Two of a Kind back in 1963. With that in mind, we’re focusing on our favourite version, the live version of the song brought to you by none other than David Bowie.

Read John Lennon's furious letter sent to Linda and Paul McCartney, 1971

In a groundbreaking performance in Bristol, Bowie rolled through some of the songs that would cement Ziggy as his most prominent persona. Songs such as ‘Queen Bitch’, ‘Ziggy Stardust’, ‘Moonage Daydream’ and more were all given a glimmering glam rock debut in the South West. But Bowie had another treat up his expertly decorated sleeve, he surprised fans with his Beatles cover.

Clearly in the mood to celebrate some of his peers that evening, Bowie also covered two Velvet Underground songs with renditions of ‘I’m Waiting for the Man’ and ‘White Light/White Heat’ before ultimately finishing the set with a cover of Chuck Berry hit ‘Around and Around’.

It’s an inspirational look into the workings of Bowie. Not only was he one of the foremost artists at the time but he was desperately trying to carve himself into the Rushmore of rock with his gender-bending and genre-melding performances. Yet, like any true artist, Bowie is able to take these songs and make them feels like his. Well, Ziggy’s.

On this occasion though, it’s all about ‘This Boy’. Enjoy the audio, below.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Delivering curated content