To celebrate 40 years since the release of David Bowie’s album of covers, Pin Ups, BBC 6 Music has been given exclusive access to a 15-minute mock radio show made as a promotional tool for the release of the album in 1973.
Created by Bowie and record producer Ken Scott, the show, which features five tracks from the album, never made it to the airwaves.
It was only discovered years later, in an old tape vault, by the man who oversees Bowie’s back catalogue, Nigel Reeve.
“It was in an old tape vault on 1/4” tape with simply the words ‘Radio Show’ written on it,” revealed Reeve. “This is such a rare find. No one knew of its existence, apart from David and Ken. To play it for the first time was quite simply a jaw-dropping moment.”
The five covers – the Pretty Things’ Rosalyn, Them’s Here Comes the Night, the Yardbirds’ I Wish You Would, the Merseys’ Sorrow and the Who’s I Can’t Explain – are interspersed with Bowie’s musings and insights into the London music scene of the early 70s, delivered in the style of his music-loving, club-going man about town alter ego, Londoner David Jones.
His idiosyncratic presentation offered up such gems as:
““The Liddyball [Liverpool] thing didn’t mean a light up Richmond. It affected one band who dropped the ‘beat’ bit and became The Merseys. Never saw ‘em play but they hung about a lot.”
The promo will be played out across the day on 6 Music, with the first part being broadcast during Shaun Keaveny’s breakfast show at 9:30am, and further clips airing during Lauren Laverne, Radcliffe and Maconie and Steve Lamacq, before the final part is heard in Marc Riley’s evening show.
Keaveny is clearly thrilled to be playing the promo: “It’s beyond exciting for 6 Music to be showcasing the first-ever airing of this historic recording, in a year that has been all about the Bowie comeback,” he said.
The commemoration of Pin Ups is also being used to celebrate cover versions as a whole on the station, with listeners being asked to nominate their favourites, culminating with Gideon Coe’s show being comprised entirely of covers suggested by the listeners.