Bowie regrouped after meeting choreographer Lindsay Kemp, who instilled in him a keen appreciation for image and artistry. He also began a relationship with dancer Hermione Farthingale. This burst of inspiration resulted in his second album and the title song, which was recorded in February 1969. Released on 11 July, just five days ahead of Apollo 11's landing on the Moon, the song was an immediate hit and a breakthrough for Bowie, who was largely unknown at the time.
The song didn't make Bowie an overnight superstar, but it did raise his profile and his next two albums - The Man Who Sold the World (1970) and Hunky Dory (1971) - did a lot better before Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972) blew him through the stratosphere.