David Bowie’s iconic 1972 song “Starman” marked a turning point in his career, and a working draft of the lyrics he wrote is going up for auction in Los Angeles. Experts say it could sell for a bargain basement price of around $5,000.
Bowie, who died at 69 this past January, was at the height of his career and going through one of his metamorphoses when the tune was released.
He launched his band Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in London in February 1972.
Critics say his influence from that period has lasted longer and has been more celebrated than almost any other force within pop music.
His album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was released the same year.
“Starman,” the lead single was released ahead of the album. It went straight to No. 1 and remained on the charts for two years.
Lyrics in the working draft are noticeably different from the song’s final version.
The first line, for example originally read: “Some cat was layin’ down some rock ‘n’ roll, ‘lotta soul, he said.”
But when the track was released the line read: “Some cat was layin’ down some get it on rock ‘n’ roll, he said.”
The working draft also contains another key change. The line “Came back on a wave of phase” was switched to “Came back like a slow voice on a wave of phase haze.”
“‘Starman’ was one of the most important songs of Bowie’s career and was his first hit in the 1970s,” Auctioneer Darren Julien told London’s Daily Mirror newspaper.
“This being an actual version of his working lyrics makes this item one of Bowie’s most important working manuscripts to come up for auction,” he added.
The paper is not signed by the iconic musician but is being sold with a letter of authenticity proving Bowie hand wrote the lyrics.
The annotations are written in black ink. The title “Starman” at the top of the page is underlined and in block capital letters.
The auction is scheduled in Los Angeles on Nov 4. Check out a video of the tune below.