"The Man Who Sold the World" is a song by David Bowie. It is the title track of his third album, released in the U.S. in November 1970 and in the UK in April 1971. It was later re-popularised and introduced to a new generation by Nirvana's cover on their MTV Unplugged in New York album. In the wake of this cover, Bowie bemoaned the fact that when he performed the number himself he would encounter "kids that come up afterwards and say, 'It's cool you're doing a Nirvana song.
In common with a number of tracks on the album, the song's themes have been compared to the horror/fantasy works of H. P. Lovecraft. The lyrics are also cited as reflecting Bowie's concerns with splintered or multiple personalities,and are believed to have been partially inspired by the poem "Antigonish" by William Hughes Mearns:
- Yesterday upon the stair
- I met a man who wasn't there
- He wasn't there again today
- I wish that man would go away