Scarborough guitarist and David Bowie collaborator John 'Hutch' Hutchinson dies following illness

Scarborough musician and early David Bowie collaborator John Hutchinson passed away in hospital on Saturday following a long period of illness.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 6:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 1:46 pm
Scarborough-born guitarist John 'Hutch' Hutchinson pictured with David Bowie in the late 1960s. (Photo: David Bowie Official)

The news was confirmed by David Bowie s official team who paid tribute to the jazz guitarist and three-time Bowie bandmate.

Describing John, they said: "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's most notable contribution to Bowie's music was his involvement in the creation of Space Oddity, playing the guitar on multiple early demos.

John 'Hutch' Hutchinson pictured in 2019. (Photo: David Bowie Official)

Bowie and Hutchinson recorded the earliest version of Space Oddity in February 1969, with Hutchinson playing the guitar and singing the part of 'Ground Control' to David Bowie's 'Major Tom', which Bowie had purposely written for them to perform as a duo.

The official studio version of Space Oddity, which appears on Bowie’s self-titled 1969 album, does not include Hutchinson. The demo later featured on a 2009 reissue of the album.

Singer, songwriter and guitarist John, better known as 'Hutch' began his rock career as a member of the Tennesseans.

John returned to Scarborough from Sweden in 1966 from where he went to London and heard from Marquee Club owner Harold Pendleton that a not-yet-prominent David Bowie was looking for a guitarist.

Bowie was reportedly impressed with John's Swedish clothes when they met and invited him to join his newly forming backing group the 'Buzz'.

The Buzz had a residency at the Marquee Club at the height of the Swinging '60s and appeared on TV's Ready, Steady, Go.

Returning from Canada following the break-up of 'Buzz' Bowie again asked John to join him and then-partner Hermione Farthingale in 'Feathers' in 1968 at London's Roundhouse and later supported The Who at the same venue.

John Hutchinson and David Bowie continued as a duo including a short tour with Marc Bolan's T. Rex.

In 1973, the pair united again as bandmates after Bowie asked John to join the Spiders From Mars, playing 12-string guitar, on his 1973 'Aladdin Sane' tours of Japan, the USA, and the UK.

John also appeared with Bowie at Ziggy's final live appearance, which was filmed at the Hammersmith Odeon.

John continued playing live and formed American Echoes in 1979 whose single Las Vegas was made Dave Lee Travis' 'Record of the Week' as well as making radio and TV appearances.

David Bowie died after a battle with cancer in 2016.

Scarborough writer Ray Moody's book 'Nearly Famous' provided background for this article and is available on Amazon.