The original album was released on November 14th, 1969 on the Philips label in the UK as ‘David Bowie’, and the Mercury label in the U. S. as ‘Man Of Words / Man Of Music’. The album was then re-titled as ‘Space Oddity’ when re-issued on RCA in 1972, resulting in a UK album chart peak of no. 17 in November of that year.
The album, produced by Tony Visconti (bar ‘Space Oddity’ itself which was produced by the late Gus Dudgeon), was a giant leap forward in terms of songwriting for Bowie compared to his eponymous debut, and can be considered as the first truly essential David Bowie album. Noted for a list of collaborators, including session players Herbie Flowers, Tim Renwick, Terry Cox and Rick Wakeman, the album delves into psychedelic folk-rock, as well as prog, with its genre-defying template creating a blueprint of what would become over the next decade and more, one of the most inimitable British artists.
Quotes from publications at the time had Penny Valentine describing the album for Disc & Music Echo as “… an album a lot of people are going to expect a lot from. I don’t think they’ll be disappointed.” Music Now! hailed the album as “Deep, thoughtful, probing, exposing, gouging at your innards… This is more than a record. It is an experience. An expression of life as others see it. The lyrics are full of the grandeur of yesterday, the immediacy of today and the futility of tomorrow. This is well worth your attention.” (emimusic. ca)