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26 July 2021

John Hutchinson, David Bowie Guitarist, Dies After Long Illness

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Photo: Alamy Stock Photo
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John Hutchinson, who collaborated with David Bowie early on in his career and appeared on the original demo of Bowie’s Space Oddity in 1969, has died, following a long illness. His death was confirmed by the Bowie estate.

“Ours [sic] thoughts are with the family and friends of John Hutchinson who passed in hospital yesterday after a long illness,” read a post shared on the David Bowie social media accounts. “John was described as ‘a semi-retired and little-known jazz guitarist and a veteran of three important David Bowie bands for seven years between 1966 and 1973.”

Hutchinson, who first auditioned to be part of David Bowie’s band in 1966, went on to play a residency with David Bowie & The Buzz (pictured above during a 1966 appearance on Ready Steady Go!) at London’s Marquee Club, in addition to other live and television appearances throughout the UK with the group.

In 1968, Hutchinson formed the folk-styled group Feathers with Bowie and Bowie’s then-girlfriend Hermione Farthingale. The trio played a handful of shows between September 1968 and early 1969 before parting ways. They recorded the original Space Oddity demo following Farthingale’s departure from the band and it was eventually released on the 2019 set, Clareville Grove Demos.

Though Hutchinson and Bowie parted company in the late 60s, Hutchinson was asked to join Bowie’s Spiders From Mars to play 12-string guitar on the Aladdin Sane world tour in 1973.

Hutchinson revealed in his 2014 memoir, Bowie And Hutch, that he quit working with Bowie twice and was fired once but they both remained friends “at a distance” throughout the years. “We do at least stay in touch by means of an email now and then. I do have to remember not to pester David, mind you, as we are many years and miles apart now, and there are constraints that lifestyle and fame impose upon old friends of stars like David Bowie.”

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