I was living in a tiny terraced house in Harrow when David called me.
He said: ‘I want you to hear some songs I’ve got, can you come over to the house, have dinner and I’ll play them to you.’
So I went to this enormous house in Beckenham which I nicknamed Beckenham Palace.
It had a minstrels’ gallery and this beautiful walnut grand piano. He took out a battered 12-string guitar and played Changes and Life On Mars, one after the other, and they were amazing.
I stopped him and asked: ‘Why are you playing them on this battered guitar?’
And he said: ‘I write everything on this because if I can make it sound good on this, then I know when I add other musicians and the music progresses it can only get better.’
I remember driving back from the house that night with all my notes. It must have been two in the morning and I started playing on my old upright piano.
The neighbours were banging on the wall. I couldn’t wait to get into the studio.
Life On Mars stood out. I played it in the studio, I think in the morning. That was the only time I really played it, and that’s 40 years ago.
It’s a piano player’s joy – in fact, I must learn it again because it’s such a great piece of music with a wonderful chord structure.
David was one of the first people I met who had an aura about them.
People listened when he spoke, certainly in the studio about musical ideas and the things he wanted to do. He had a vision and those sessions will rank as the most memorable of the 2,000-plus I ever did.
I think Hunky Dory was such a commercial success that it gave David the basis to move on to do everything he wanted to do. The management and record companies trusted him, whether they understood him or not was another matter. They let him get on with it. That made Hunky Dory the most important album he ever did.
Every colour, race, creed and religion can relate to David because he is not one person. He is many things to many people. I don’t think anyone really knows who he is.
I love the man to bits, he’s been a massive influence in my life, but if I asked him who he is, I don’t think he could give the answer either.