BBC4 given access to vault of previously secret Bowie material for ‘The People’s History Of Pop’.
A treasure trove of unreleased David Bowie music is set to be aired in a new BBC4 documentary.
Bowie’s demo of his 1969 No 1 single ‘Space Oddity’ with alternative lyrics is among the songs which is likely to officially be heard for the first time in The People’s History Of Pop.
The show, which will be screened in July, also had presenter Danny Baker given access to a version of Bowie’s 1967 novelty comedy single ‘The Laughing Gnome’ featuring swearing in its sped-up vocals.
Baker was also played Bowie’s demo of Frank Sinatra’s classic song ‘My Way’. Before Sinatra released the song in 1969, songwriters including Bowie were invited to write English lyrics for the original song ‘Comme D’Habitude’ (which translates as ‘As Usual’) by French songwriter Claude Francois.
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.
A BBC spokeswoman told NME: “The programme is still being made, but we can confirm that there will be some rare and special Bowie material in it.”
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 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. Visit the website to find out more.”
A large amount of unreleased David Bowie material is known to exist, including an album entitled ‘Toy’ which he recorded in 2001.
An album of unreleased material was included in Bowie’s box-set Five Years. Released in 2015, it covered his music from 1969-1973. A second volume of his box-sets is rumoured to be released this autumn.
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Following Bowie’s death in January, it was revealed that the sleeve of the vinyl edition of his final album ‘Blackstar’ changes from black to a multi-coloured galaxy image if it’s left in the sun.