David Bowie Performs “The Man Who Sold The World” On Saturday Night Live, 1979

Saturday Night Live has released a clip from a December 1979 episode in which a beautifully made-up David Bowie performed a theatrical version of his song The Man Who Sold the World, the title track of his third album. That’s Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias singing backup for him. Bowie and band were introduced by guest host, the former President of the United States (at least on The West Wing), Martin Sheen.

Fun Fact: In the wake of Nirvana’s cover on their MTV Unplugged in New York performance and release, Bowie, according to The Complete David Bowie book, bemoaned the fact that when he performed the number himself he would encounter “kids that come up afterwards and say, ‘It’s cool you’re doing a Nirvana song.’ And I think, ‘Fuck you, you little tosser!'”

1979 Saturday Night Live – 1 – The Man Who Sold The World from alikzubr on Vimeo.