If perchance you were in a coastal town called Falmouth on this night — that’s in Cornwall, all the way at the southern tip of England — you could have dropped by a club called the Magician’s Workshop to see David Bowie open for the Steve Miller Band. (I bet you’d still be bragging about it today.) At the time Bowie was still a nobody — the first recording of “Space Oddity” was several months away — and had been booked by a friend as a favor. The SMB were an up-and-coming outfit with two albums out, but not yet the megastars they would become; their hit song “Space Cowboy” would not be released until 1969.1

But the groundwork for the future was being laid. Even at this moment Apollo 8 was orbiting the moon to scout landing sites, ultimately enabling Apollo 11 to land on the moon. Or at least I think so. Almost 50 years later, the belief that the moon landing was fake remains a popular conspiracy theory, as does the idea that Paul McCartney was replaced with a lookalike circa 1966.

I have to say, Faul (as they call him) did a heckuva job with “Blackbird,” “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Get Back,” and “Let It Be.” And the moon thing was certainly a very elaborate hoax. On Christmas Eve 1968 so-called “Apollo 8” supposedly entered so-called “lunar orbit,” and the so-called “astronauts” did a live broadcast for the poor suckers back on “Earth.”

Earlier in the day — if you believe in such things — one of them had taken the famous image at the top of this post. And if you don’t believe … well, that’s your right. But I feel bad for you.