It’s hard to imagine that David Bowie existed prior to Space Oddity. You see, I don’t think he did. For all the cuteness of “Love You Till Tuesday” and inane charm of “The Laughing Gnome”, that really was someone else.
I’m not even talking about poor songwriting (ah but it is poor, even if I still have a soft spot for the totally made-up 1966 single “Can’t Help Thinking About Me”). I’m talking about his identity, at the time when he was no longer Davy Jones but David Bowie trying to be Ray Davies. It’s not such a bad thing to emulate Ray Davies, but Bowie had to try a fake identity for it to work.
And in his case – it always did. Even when the 80s took hold and it didn’t. If that’s not unique, nothing is.