David Bowie – Sound + Vision

12th November 2022 · 1970s, 1977, Music

This was always my favourite song from Low. This is the story of the day David Bowie played it for me in private – at my own request.

It’s over a minute before the backing vocals appear – sung by Brian Eno and Mary Hopkin, who sang one of the first singles I ever bought – and it’s almost two minutes before Bowie comes in with that glorious croon: “Don’t you wonder someti-i-i-i-imes…”

Twenty-five years later, in what will always be the most prized highlight of my entire career, Bowie sang me the song in a New York rehearsal studio – AT MY REQUEST

I’d been in NY to interview him about the 2002 Meltdown Festival which he was curating at the South Bank that summer, and the next day he invited me down to the studio where he was rehearsing for his performance of Low in its entirety.

I arrived, breathless with anticipation and Paul Carey, from his UK publicists, and after nodding hello to various band members in the underground corridors (“Michael Garson,” smiled a large balding figure out of the subterranean gloom, extending his hand), I settled into a battered sofa.

I sank into it sandwiched between Paul on my right and, on my left, Tony Visconti – Bowie’s longtime record producer. I was in heaven. And, about fifteen feet in front of me, there was Bowie’s whole band – Garson, Gail Ann Dorsey, Earl Slick, Gerry Leonard, Sterling Campbell.

And there, in the middle, David Bowie.

To complete the experience, he acted as if it was a real concert, announcing that he had a “special guest” in the audience. “Have you got a request, Tim?” he inquired. “What would you like us to play next?”

This is what I wanted him to play. And he did.