Oh! You Pretty Things

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"Oh! You Pretty Things"
Song by David Bowie from the album Hunky Dory
Released 17 December 1971
Recorded Trident Studios, London, early summer 1971
Genre Glam rock
Length 3:12
Label RCA
Writer David Bowie
Producer Ken Scott, David Bowie
Hunky Dory track listing
"Oh! You Pretty Things"
"Eight Line Poem"
19 second sample from David Bowie's "Oh! You Pretty Things".

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"Oh You Pretty Thing"
Single by Peter Noone
B-side "Together Forever"
Released 1971
Format 7" single
Length 3:04
Label RAK
Writer(s) David Bowie
Producer(s) Mickie Most

"Oh! You Pretty Things" is a song written by David Bowie in 1971 for the album Hunky Dory. It opens with only piano and Bowie's vocal, before entering the catchy refrain. The simple piano style is often compared to The Beatles' "Martha My Dear".[1][2] Thematically, the song has been seen as reflecting the influence of occultist Aleister Crowley and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche,[1][3] and heralding "the impending obsolescence of the human race in favour of an alliance between arriving aliens and the youth of the present society".[2]

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".[4]


Live versions[edit]

Other releases[edit]

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ a b David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story: p.115
  2. ^ a b Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: pp.40-41
  3. ^ David Sheppard (2007). "Wishful Beginnings", MOJO 60 Years of Bowie: p.24
  4. ^ Carr & Murray (1981): p.117
  5. ^ Harvey, Michael (2007-01-19). "The Old Gray Whistle Test - 8 February 1972". The Ziggy Stardust Companion. Retrieved 2011-01-29. 

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