His 1971 song 'Life on Mars' featured heavily, with Rick Wakeman being interviewed about his role in arranging the piano part. But what the programme didn't mention was that the song was written in Beckenham, via a bus journey to Lewisham. In a 2008 article in the Daily Mail, Bowie recalled:
'This song was so easy. Being young was easy. A really beautiful day in the park, sitting on the steps of the bandstand. 'Sailors bap-bap-bap-bap-baaa-bap.' An anomic (not a 'gnomic') heroine. Middle-class ecstasy. I took a walk to Beckenham High Street to catch a bus to Lewisham to buy shoes and shirts but couldn't get the riff out of my head. Jumped off two stops into the ride and more or less loped back to the house up on Southend Road.
Workspace was a big empty room with a chaise longue; a bargain-price art nouveau screen ('William Morris,' so I told anyone who asked); a huge overflowing freestanding ashtray and a grand piano. Little else. I started working it out on the piano and had the whole lyric and melody finished by late afternoon. Nice. Rick Wakeman came over a couple of weeks later and embellished the piano part and guitarist Mick Ronson created one of his first and best string parts for this song which now has become something of a fixture in my live shows'.
The park with bandstand he mentions is presumably the Croydon Road Recreation Ground in Beckenham where Bowie and friends once organised a festival (the subject of his 1969 song 'Mermory of a Free Festival'). The house in Beckenham was the now demolished Haddon Hall at 42 Southend Road, where Bowie lived in the ground floor flat from 1969 to 1972 (working on the classic Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust albums).
|David Bowie outside Haddon Hall in Beckenham|
(he also lived for a while in 1969 in Flat 1, 24 Foxgrove Road, Beckenham)