Of the many musicians that David Bowie worked with briefly in the 1960s as he flitted in and out of a number of bands and struggled to build a solo career, John "Hutch" Hutchinson may have been the most important. Hutchinson met Bowie in early 1966, when Bowie formed the band that backed him until December 1966, the Buzz, in which Hutchinson was lead guitarist. The Buzz supported Bowie on a couple of 1966 singles, but they and the singer went separate ways when Bowie decided to go solo. They did, however, back him on early 1967 sessions for Bowie's debut solo album.
Hutchinson and Bowie reconnected in late 1968, when Hutchinson was looking for work in London and phoned his former bandleader for ideas. Bowie asked Hutchinson to be part of his short-lived folk-rock-ish trio Feathers, which also included Bowie's girlfriend of the time, Hermione Farthingale. Hutchinson and Farthingale were both on an unreleased single Bowie recorded in October 1968, "Ching-A-Ling,"/"Back to Where You've Never Been," the A-side of which was released in the '80s as part of the Bowie '60s rarities LP Love You Till Tuesday. When Feathers broke up when Bowie and Farthingale ended their relationship, Bowie formed a folky duo with Hutchinson, somewhat in the pattern of Simon & Garfunkel.
This is a relatively undocumented phase of Bowie's development, but one which saw him compose or refine much of the material that appeared on his second album, including the hit "Space Oddity." Hutchinson was an important foil for Bowie during this time, as a (usually) harmonizing backup vocalist and guitar accompanist. He also helped Bowie with his songs, including "Space Oddity," for which Hutch threw in some chords and suggested scraping the guitar strings to simulate to sound of a rocket launch, although Hutchinson did not get a songwriting credit.
Hutchinson and Bowie did an entire, drumless audition tape of material in 1969 on which they are the only instrumentalists and singers; it has since been issued on bootlegs. Including several songs that Bowie would re-record in 1969 and 1970, it is one of the most interesting bodies of unreleased work produced by Bowie in his entire career. It contains an early version of "Space Oddity" that would be officially issued on Bowie's Sound and Vision box set. Hutchinson also appears on a February 1969 studio version of "Space Oddity" that was recorded for Bowie's Love Me Till Tuesday film, and was issued on the Love Me Till Tuesday album. Hutchinson is also on another track on the Love You Till Tuesday album, a remixed version of "Sell Me a Coat" (from Bowie's first LP) that has additional vocals from Hutchinson and Farthingale. The two also appear in some sequences in the Love You Till Tuesday film, available on video.
Hutchinson dropped out of the picture when Bowie got a new record deal and recorded his second album. He did return to the Bowie fold briefly in 1973 by playing rhythm guitar with him on-stage as a member of his backup band, the Spiders from Mars.