David Bowie’s demo of his 1969 single ‘Space Oddity’ is among the songs which is likely to officially be heard for the first time in a new BBC4 documentary, The People’s History Of Pop.
In the the documentary, which will be screened in July 2016, presenter Danny Baker is also given access to a “swearing” version of Bowie’s 1967 novelty comedy single ‘The Laughing Gnome’.
Baker was also played Bowie’s demo of Frank Sinatra’s classic song ‘My Way’. Bowie’s version of ‘My Way’ actually precedes the rendition popularised by Sinatra: In 1968, Bowie’s music publisher had the then-unknown singer pen English lyrics for Claude François and Jacques Revaux’s ‘Comme d’habitude’, the basis of the song ‘My Way’.
Sinatra eventually chose lyrics by Paul Anka, a singer who had hits in the 1950s. Although Bowie’s lyrics were rejected, he admitted that his 1971 hit ‘Life On Mars?’ was influenced by ‘My Way’.
Baker was given access to the unreleased vault of material by Bowie biographer and collector Kevin Cann. Much of it has been bootlegged and can be heard on YouTube, but ‘The People’s History Of Pop’ will be its first official airing.
The People’s History Of Pop is a four-part BBC4 series covering music fans’ recollections of 1956-1996. The first episode, which aired in April, covered the formation of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
As well as Bowie, the second episode in July will feature Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Marc Bolan and Northern Soul. It covers the mid 1960s to early 1970s. A BBC statement said: “The show meets music fans, including some who fell in love with the psychedelic sounds of Sgt Pepper, hippies who discovered peace and love at the Isle of Wight Festival, and Black Sabbath fans who turned to the new sounds of heavy metal.
“The producers have previously appealed to music fans around the UK to upload details about their most precious music memorabilia to the series website at www.bbc.co.uk/mygeneration. Currently over 3,400 items – including photos, videos and audio of their musical treasures – have been uploaded. Episodes three and four will focus on the two decades from mid 70s to mid 90s, so the programme-makers would love to hear from people around the country who have treasured mementos from that time.”