Be warned! The voice mix of David Bowie’s Life on Mars is going to leave you craving more. Why on earth is there only the first minute you are going ask. Where can I hear more? For the moment this is all there is, so we might as well appreciate it as it is. Even if we’re left hanging, it is certainly a great showcase for Bowie’s voice and phrasing.
The voice mix of Life on Mars was created by Ken Scott, the original co-producer, for a Swedish TV documentary on the track. Scott produced a number of other mixes, including an instrumental mix, a piano mix, and a short recorder mix. None of the mixes were used on the TV programme, but, luckily, they have been posted on the Frokor YouTube channel.
That was great, but don’t say you weren’t forewarned about wanting more. Luckily there is always the original track to return to. There is a fascinating story behind Life on Mars which initially appeared on Hunky Dory (1971). According to Wikipedia, Bowie was asked to write English lyrics for the french song Comme d’habitude. Bowie was peeved when his lyrics were rejected. To add insult to injury, Paul Anka reworked the song into My Way, which became a signature song for Frank Sinatra.
The great popularity of My Way was salt on Bowie’s wounds, so he wrote Life on Mars with My Way as the template as “a parody of Sinatra’s recording”. Given that Life on Mars is one of Bowie’s best-loved songs, it is a pity that he didn’t have lyrics for foreign-language songs rejected more often! For those still craving more of the voice mix of Life on Mars, Bowie’s stripped-down version of Life on Mars with Mike Garson on piano, might do the trick. Bowie is a little older, but he sure can sing.
David Bowie is considered one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century. The records he released in the 1970s are particularly highly regarded. Besides the quality of his albums, Bowie is remembered for both his remarkable ability to shift between music styles and his capacity for personal reinvention.
David Bowie passed away on 10 January 2016, at the age of 69. If you would like to see more from David Bowie, you can subscribe to their YouTube channel.