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David Bowie – Life On Mars? (Original “Unbleached” Promo, Restored, Extended & Remastered, 1973)

June 22nd, 2023 | by Nick
David Bowie – Life On Mars? (Original “Unbleached” Promo, Restored, Extended & Remastered, 1973)

It is 50 years since David Bowie released Life on Mars as a single, on the 22nd of June 1973.

The release was accompanied by Mick Rock’s iconic promo video. Many permutations of it came to exist, but here it can be seen for the first time in its “Unbleached” original form, restored and remastered at HD, extended with outtakes and synced to the “Original Ending Version” of Life On Mars, from the 2022 album, Divine Symmetry.

Life On Mars was originally released, in 1971, a track on David Bowie’s “Hunky Dory” album. 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 (in very low definition).

The original “unbleached” version, is virtually impossible to see these days, especially in good quality. 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 the “Original Ending Version” of Life On Mars, from the 2022 album, Divine Symmetry, which contains the original unedited, unfaded longer ending, that features the voice of a frustrated Mick Ronson, cursing about the ringing telephone which he thinks has spoiled their take. To fill the additional running time, outtakes from the Life On Mars video shoot have been used.

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 Blandford West Ten Studio | Ladbroke Grove, West London | 13 June 1973 | Directed by Mick Rock | Remastered by Nacho | 2023

Audio Source:
David Bowie | Life On Mars | “Original Ending Version” | from the 2022 album, Divine Symmetry | Recorded at Trident Studios, London | 6 August 1971 | Produced by David Bowie & Ken Scott | Life On Mars originally released as a single 22 June 1973

David Bowie | vocals
Mick Ronson | guitars, recorders, string arrangement
Trevor Bolder | bass guitar
Woody Woodmansey | drums
Rick Wakeman | piano
Unknown musicians | strings

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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