The new version of the video has been made to support the release of a new compilation album of Bowie’s greatest hits, called ‘Legacy‘.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Rock recalls his experience of shooting the original film.
“RCA had decided to release Life on Mars as a single. David called me – if he wanted me to make a video, he’d call me one or two nights before – and said we needed to get another video together. He liked to do them, and so did I – not that there was any budget. I somehow got hold of a completely white studio and that dictated the concept – it was as simple as that. We showed up around noon, because none of us liked to start too early. As a cameraman, I had the guy who had shot the John, I’m Only Dancing video the year before, on stage at the Rainbow theatre. I was second cameraman.
David looked amazing in his blue suit – it was made by his mate Freddie Burretti, who made the Ziggy costume. Pierre Laroche, who also worked on the Aladdin Sane cover, did the great makeup. And there we were – we just shot for no more than five hours, and then I had a couple of days to do an edit. We never had time to discuss any concept. And David never asked me to change anything. He was a very positive person to work with, very encouraging – he had the ability to get people to do great things for him.
He took direction very well. He was willing to do whatever you wanted him to do. I never found him resistant in any way, and he brought his charisma to the table. If he wanted to work with someone, he would let them get on with it. He would ask: “What do you want me to do, Mick?” And then he would do his thing. It was never like pulling teeth with David, it was like pulling gems.
I had an amazing subject and an amazing song – this was the song that had turned me on to David – so what else did I need? David never looked like this at any other time. He never wore that suit again, never had that makeup on again. He never looked more amazing – like a space doll. When his videos got inducted into the Museum of Modern Art in New York, this was the one that everyone stood for – there were no distractions, no dancing girls, just David.
At the time it was hardly seen at all, and it gathered some serious moss. In the late 90s, David gave me the copyrights for the four videos I had made for him, because I had never been paid for them – not that I had looked for any money. So when Parlophone contacted me about re-editing it I said: absolutely. I had a little gem and I wanted to polish it into a state where it was absolutely perfect.
I had the black and white segments, and when I came across that very last bit after the music stopped, I thought it was a little gift, so I made it into an epilogue. People like the original video, but I think this version takes it to another level. The scenes really add a new flavour for it. I’m really happy with it, and I’m interested to see what the fans make of it.”