The song was first released by Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits, in a single on which Bowie played piano. It became a #12 hit in mid-1971. Noone replaced Bowie's line "The Earth is a bitch" with "The Earth is a beast", in a performance that NME editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray opined to be "one of rock and roll's most outstanding examples of a singer failing to achieve any degree of empathy whatsoever with the mood and content of a lyric".
A performance of the song by Bowie and Mick Ronson as a duo, broadcast on the BBC show Sounds of the 70s: Bob Harris in September 1971, was released on the Japanese edition of the 2000 release Bowie at the Beeb and on the 2016 vinyl version of that album.
Bowie played the song at the BBC show Johnny Walker Lunchtime Show on 22 May 1972. This was broadcast in early June the same year and in 2000 was released on Bowie at the Beeb; it was also issued as a promo single in France in 2000.
It was also recorded on 8 February 1972 for The Old Grey Whistle Test on the BBC, though the performance was not broadcast until over 10 years later. This performance is available on the Best of Bowie DVD. An outtake from the same session, in which Bowie stumbles over the lines and gets them wrong on several occasions, is hidden among easter eggs on the same DVD.