Rubber Band

Album: David Bowie (1966)
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Songfacts®:

  • In "Rubber Band," David Bowie sings as an Englishman who went off to fight in World War I (known at the time as "The Great War") and comes home to find his partner has left him for the leader of a band. Yes, the "rubber band" referred to in the song is a musical band, not a loop of latex and rubber.

    According to Rebel Rebel author Chris O'Leary, Bowie got the story for this song from the real life-experience of his grandfather, Jimmy Burns.
  • "Rubber Band" is the third track on Bowie's self-titled debut studio album.

    Bowie first released the song as a single on December 2, 1966, before David Bowie was made. The single sold poorly but got Bowie a recording contact with UK Decca Records subsidiary Deram, with whom he made the album.

    Deram was set up to release unique music that defied the standard rock and pop stuff, often with classical instrumentation. Two of their crown jewels were Days Of Future Passed by the Moody Blues and "Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum.
  • Bowie recorded the first version of the song with his band The Buzz on October 18, 1966. On the same day, they did "The London Boys," used as the B-side for the UK single. The B-side for the US single was "There Is A Happy Land."
  • With this song, Bowie was heavily influenced by UK celebrity Anthony Newley, who was a popular actor as well as a musician and songwriter. Along with his many accolades (including a 1989 induction into to the Songwriters Hall of Fame), he co-wrote "Feeling Good" by Nina Simone.

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