David Bowie’s third studio album, The Man Who Sold the World was released in America on this day (November 4th) in 1970. Moving away from the psychedelic arrangements in 1969’s iconic Space Oddity, the album introduced the tight rocking trio of guitarist Mick Ronsoin and drummer Woody Woodmansey - the original nucleus of what would become the "Spiders from Mars", backing band.
With it’s cryptic and evasive lyrics, and Bowie’s haunting, phased vocals, the album and it’s title track represented a more serious turn for the glam pioneer. Despite the fact the track was never released as a single, and even went relatively unnoticed upon first release, a series of high-profile covers put the song on the commercial map. In 1974, Scottish singer, Lulu’s version of “Man Who Sold The World,” produced by Bowie and Ronson, peaked at No. 3 on the UK Singles chart; and in 1993 Nirvana introduced the song to a whole new generation when the included it in their now legendary MTV Unplugged set.
Retrospectively, Bowie's original recording has been named one of his best songs, and the singer would revisit the track later live later in his career, including a darker, eerie interpretation that appeared in the setlist throughout 1995’s Outside Tour, which you can watch below.
David Bowie | “The Man Who Sold the World” 
Bowie re-recorded the song in an acoustic arrangement in 1996 for the documentary ChangesNowBowie, which was released on his 2020 EP of the same name, which you can stream below.
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