Blogging from A to Z: W is for “Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud”

wSong: Wild-Eyed Boy from Freecloud

Album: Space Oddity (1969)

Personnel: David Bowie (vocals, guitar), Paul Buckmaster (arco bass), Tony Visconti (orchestral arrangements), Mick Ronson (guitar, handclaps)

What I love about this track:  Bowie started out in jazz, and then moved on to folk music.  “Wild Eye Boy from Freecloud” is a ballad about someone who stands out from society … and not in a good way, according to said society.  In Bowie’s own words about the song: “It was about the disassociated, the ones who feel as though they’re left outside, which was how I felt about me. I always felt I was on the edge of events, the fringe of things, and left out. A lot of my characters in those early years seem to revolve around that feeling. It must have come from my own interior puzzlement at where I was” (as quoted in Charles Welch’s We Could Be Heroes).

space oddityTrivia: This is reputed to be Mick Ronson’s first appearance on a Bowie recording.

Why I chose this video:  While there were some live versions, they cut the song short and segued into another tune.  I decided to use this audio-only track from a BBC radio performance with just Bowie and his band rather than a full-on orchestra.  There is something elegant in the spare arrangement that speaks to me.


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