David Bowie releases “The Prettiest Star” in 1970 featuring Marc Bolan on the guitar

Despite the union of the two Glam Rock giants, the commercial result wasn’t what both were expecting

David Bowie releases “The Prettiest Star” in 1970 featuring Marc Bolan on the guitar

When two icons of Glam Rock joined forces in 1970, the commercial result wasn’t what both were expecting, specially when it’s David Bowie and Marc Bolan we are talking about. After scoring a hit with the 1969 “Space Oddity”, Bowie tried to repeat the results recording “The Prettiest Star” and releasing it as a single in the UK. But at the time, Bowie was seen as one hit wonder and Ziggy hadn’t arrived yet. Bolan, was on his way to become the biggest Glam Rock star, and the two friends, who were used to compete with each other for the crown of the king of glam rock, joined forces in the song. Bolan, signature guitar sound can be heard all over the track, and producer Tony Visconti recalled that the session went well until the end when Bolan’s wife June remarked to Bowie, “Marc is too good for you, to be playing on this record!” Bowie wrote the song for his future wife Angela Barnett, reportedly playing it down the telephone as part of his proposal to her. But despite receiving good reviews, the single, released on March 6, 1970 backed with “Conversation Piece”, reportedly sold fewer than 800 copies, a major disappointment for both artists but specially for Bowie, who thought that was it for his music career. Thankfully was not and “The Prettiest Star” was re-recorded in 1972 to be included on the 1973 album “Aladdin Sane”, at the peak of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust fame with Mick Ronson recreating Bolan’s original guitar part almost note-for-note.

Listen to “The Prettiest Star” as it was originally recorded and released in 1970

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