Lost David Bowie Footage Uncovered

'Top of the Pops' appearance from 1973 to air on BBC Christmas special

December 21, 2011 9:20 AM ET
David Bowie
David Bowie circa 1973
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

A rare videotape of David Bowie performing on Top of the Pops in 1973 has surfaced and will be shown on a BBC Christmas special tonight. Bowie's performance of his hit "The Jean Genie" had been considered lost to history, part of an ongoing policy of television networks "wiping" old shows to reuse videotape, which was very expensive at the time. 

Cameraman John Henshall, who kept a copy of the performance for himself, mentioned it recently during a radio appearance. When excited Bowie fans let him know the rarity of his tape, he loaned it to a British Film Institute event and made it available to the BBC.

"I just couldn't believe that I was the only one with it," said Henshall. "I just thought you wouldn't be mad enough to wipe a tape like that."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Stillness Is the Move”

Dirty Projectors | 2009

A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

More Song Stories entries »