“Hang On to Yourself” was released as a single under the name Arnold Corns (1971). A re-recorded version was released on the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The main riff is representative of glam rock’s influence as a bridge between 1950s rock and roll, specifically rockabilly, and the punk to come; it draws on rockabilly influences such as Eddie Cochran, yet is faster and grungier (thanks to guitarist Mick Ronson’s raunchy, distorted Les Paul), in a way that would influence punk records such as “Teenage Lobotomy” by Ramones.
Arnold Corns version
The Arnold Corns version of “Hang On to Yourself”—recorded at the Radio Luxembourg studios in London on 25 February 1971 was first released by B&C as the B-side to the single “Moonage Daydream” in the UK on 7 May 1971. On 11 August 1972, it was released again, this time as an A-side, by B&C.
“Hang On to Yourself” – 2:55
“The Man in the Middle” – 4:20
The Arnold Corns version was a bonus track on the 1990 Rykodisc/EMI remastering of Bowie’s album The Man Who Sold the World. In 2002, this version appeared on the bonus disc of the Ziggy Stardust album’s 30th Anniversary 2-CD reissue.
David Bowie: vocals, piano
Freddi Buretti: vocals
Mark Carr-Pritchard: guitar
Peter DeSomogyi: bass
Tim Broadbent: drums, tambourine
The official band line-up, fronted by dress designer Freddi Buretti, was a total fabrication; Buretti was at the session but his contributions were simply lost alongside Bowie’s.
The album version of the song was recorded in November 1971 at Trident Studios, London.
David Bowie – vocals, acoustic guitar
Mick Ronson – lead guitar
Trevor Bolder – bass guitar
Mick “Woody” Woodmansey – drums
It was released as the B-side of the single “John, I’m Only Dancing” in September 1972.
It was also released as the B-side to the single “Looking for a Friend” in May 1985.
The Portuguese version of the single “Starman” from September 1972 also had “Hang On to Yourself” as the B-side.
In November 1972 it was released as the B-side of the US release of the single “The Jean Genie”.
It was released as a picture disc in the RCA Life Time picture disc set.
It also appeared on the Japanese compilation The Best of David Bowie (1974).
Bowie recorded the song for the BBC radio programme Sounds of the 70s Bob Harris on 18 January 1972. This was broadcast on 7 February 1972. On 16 May 1972, Bowie again played the song on Sounds of the 70s: John Peel, and this was broadcast on 23 May 1972. Both of these versions were released on the Bowie at the Beeb album in 2000.
A live version, recorded for radio broadcast at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on 20 October 1972 was released on Santa Monica ’72. This version also appeared on the Japanese release of RarestOneBowie and on the official 2008 release of that concert as Live Santa Monica ’72.
The version played at the famous “last concert” at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, 3 July 1973, was released on Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture.
A spring 1978 performance from the “Heroes” tour was released on Stage.
A November 2003 live performance from the A Reality Tour was released on the A Reality Tour DVD in 2004, and is included on the A Reality Tour album, released in 2010.