David Bowie‘s team has paid tribute to jazz guitarist and three-time Bowie bandmate John Hutchinson, after he passed in hospital over the weekend following a long period of illness.
The news was confirmed by the official David Bowie Twitter account, who described him as “a semi-retired and little-known jazz guitarist and a veteran of three important David Bowie bands for seven years between 1966 and 1973”.
Ours thoughts are with the family and friends of John Hutchinson who passed in hospital yesterday after a long illness. John was described as “a semi-retired and little-known jazz guitarist and a veteran of three important David Bowie bands for seven years between 1966 and 1973.“ pic.twitter.com/hTwgPSidcv
— David Bowie Official (@DavidBowieReal) July 25, 2021
Perhaps Hutchinson’s most notable contribution to Bowie’s legacy is his involvement in the creation of the song ‘Space Oddity’, playing guitar on multiple early versions. In February of 1969, Bowie and Hutchinson recorded the earliest version of ‘Space Oddity’, with Hutchinson playing guitar and Bowie playing the Stylophone.
The official studio version of ‘Space Oddity’, which appears on Bowie’s self-titled 1969 album, does not include Hutchinson. However, the demo later featured on both a 2009 reissue of the album, along with a 7″ single collection titled the ‘Clareville Grove Demos’ in 2019.
Listen to that version below:
Hutchinson also performed in multiple bands with Bowie, mostly backing him up. According to Hutchinson’s website, the guitarist auditioned to be a part of Bowie’s band in England in 1966, with the latter inviting Hutchinson to perform as part of David Bowie and the Buzz for a residency at London venue Marquee Club. The group went on to make TV and live appearances throughout the UK.
In 1968, Hutchinson formed the band Feathers with Bowie and Bowie’s then-partner Hermione Farthingale, performing a handful of concerts as a trio between September 1968 and early 1969.
In 1973, the pair reunited as bandmates once again after Bowie asked Hutchinson to join the Spiders from Mars as a touring member, performing 12-string guitar on Bowie’s ‘Aladdin Sane’ tours in the US, UK and Japan.