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David Bowie – Life On Mars? (Original Unedited Version, Remastered by Nacho)

December 17th, 2021 | by Nick
David Bowie – Life On Mars? (Original Unedited Version, Remastered by Nacho)

Mick Rock’s iconic promo video for Bowie’s Life On Mars?, seen here for the first time in its “Unbleached” original form, remastered at HD and synced to the unedited version of Life On Mars, that restores the original unfaded ending.

Life On Mars is a track from David Bowie’s “Hunky Dory” album, released on this day in 1971. Eighteen months later, in June 1973, Life On Mars was released as a single in the UK. It was the height of Ziggy-mania, and the single peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart and stayed on the chart for thirteen weeks.

To accompany the ‘73 single release, a video was made, filmed and directed by Mick Rock. It was shot at the Blandford West Ten Studio in Ladbroke Grove, West London, on 13 June 1973. The video features a heavily made up Bowie, resplendent in a turquoise Freddi Buretti suit, juxtaposed against a stark white background. These gleaming almost surreally beautific images were punctuated by raucous crowd scenes, shot by Mick Rock at a Bowie gig.

Just as Duffy’s Aladdin Sane cover art is the definitive image of Bowie in the Ziggy era, Mick Rock’s Life On Mars promo went on to become the defining Ziggy video imagery. And surely the Life On Mars promo must be considered one of the most iconic music videos of all-time.

At some point over the years, a deliberately overexposed version of the promo, which bleached out much of the detail and colour, and redacted the crowd scenes, came to be the predominate version. That version is now considered to be the “official” Life On Mars video, and is widely available to view.

Whereas the original “unbleached” version, is virtually impossible to see these days, in good quality at least. As far as I know, it has never been online in HD. So this is Mick Rock’s original Life On Mars promo in all of its glory, cleaned up and remastered in high quality. Also, the video is synced to a high quality audio, that additionally contains the original unedited, unfaded longer ending, that features at the end the voice of a frustrated Mick Ronson, cursing about the ringing telephone which he thinks has spoiled their recording session. To fill the additional running time, outtakes from the Life On Mars video shoot have been used.

Like many of us, I was shocked and saddened by news of the recent death of legendary rock n’ roll photographer Mick Rock. I highly recommend the 2016 documentary about the man, “SHOT! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock”. It is a highly enjoyable and compelling insight and a righteous tribute.

I have been tinkering around with this Life On Mars remaster for several years. I was wondering what to do with it, reticent to upload it partly in fear of irritating Mick Rock. But now, since Mick has just passed, and the 50th anniversary of Hunky Dory is upon us, it feels like the right, time to put the work out there.

Out of respect for this iconic work of art, no attempt has been made to alter the original editing in any way, even for apparent errors in the original edit. Also, I didn’t reframe the video, so the rounded corners of the frames remain visible. And, I haven’t added generalised artificial de-grain, de-noise, sharpening effects or colour enhancement to the original image quality.

Enhancements were done frame by frame, mostly consisting of fixing or removing the worst of the various flaws in the print such as scratches, hairs, stains, slipped or rolling frames, etc. Each frame contains so many flaws, to completely clean up the entire video would be incredibly time consuming. And so only the most distracting flaws were tackled, which was already a sizeable task.

Thanks for watching, hope you dig it!


Video Source:
David Bowie • Life On Mars • Original 1973 Promo Video • Shot at Earls Court, London • 12 May 1973 • Directed by Mick Rock • Remastered by Nacho • 2021

Audio Source:
David Bowie • Life On Mars • Unedited Version • Recorded at Trident Studios, London • 6 August 1971 • Produced by David Bowie & Ken Scott

David Bowie • vocals
Mick Ronson • guitars, recorders, string arrangement
Trevor Bolder • bass guitar
Woody Woodmansey • drums
Rick Wakeman • piano
Unknown musicians • violins, violas, celli, string basses

Always more videos to follow, so please keep your electric eye on me babe!

I don’t own the rights, and I’m not making any money out of this etc. Just a fan making videos for other fans.

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