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David Bowie Impersonates.....

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Published on Jan 22, 2016

update :2016-01-27 There's something else which I'm sure you all would like to hear that I wish I could find. When Bowie/Jagger were recording Dancing In The Street, both of them, plus backing singers and the entire band, were playing together live (which is not always the case). They performed the song twice and nailed it. The vocals were then redone because of the lack of separation between the singers' microphones. Later on brass was added and the song was mixed by the great Bob Clearmountain - in NY. Well, after the initial session, I took home a cassette of the song in its raw state with no overdubs or mixing and I remember it sounding really fantastic. Years ago I tried to find it and couldn't but I'm going to look through a big box of cassettes again in case I missed it because I know you guys would appreciate it.


update: 2016-01-22 I think that Bowie probably wrote these lyrics quickly for the Springsteen impersonation which is first. I have no memory of us sitting around waiting for him to rewrite so it was probably done very quickly. If so, that's pretty impressive! . The imagery is definitely very Bruce.


RIP David Bowie. The impersonations on this YouTube posting were recorded in August '85, when Bowie came in to do the lead vocal. At the end of the session, he broke into the impersonations and I realized that these might get erased at some point, so I quickly put a cassette in and hit “record.” I wish we could hear the other side of the dialogue but unfortunately that wasn’t being recorded.

I was lucky enough to work with Bowie in 1985 at Westside Studios in London. My bosses, producer team Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley (Madness, Dexys Midnight Runners, Elvis Costello, Bush) were producing the soundtrack for the movie Absolute Beginners, for which Bowie was acting and writing songs (it was a better soundtrack than it was a movie!) and I was graduating from assistant engineer to engineer at that time.

The day Bowie was first due to show up at Westside, we were all a bit nervous — Bowie was the biggest star client for Clive and Alan at that point in time. We kept looking out the windows, waiting for a stretch limo to show up and an entire entourage to walk in, but then a black cab showed up and out popped the unaccompanied Bowie. He walked in, announced in what seemed a more cockney voice than I remembered, “Hi, I’m David Bowie,” and shook our hands. He seemed smaller than I imagined he would be in person. A bit later I noticed that the cockney had dissipated somewhat and he also seemed to have grown more upright and taller, too. I thought, “Wow, he really is a chameleon,” and wondered if the earlier exaggerated cockney was his way of reducing his superstar status temporarily to put people at ease on first meeting him.

see my full blog about working with Bowie and the recording of 'Dancing In The Street' with Bowie and Mick Jagger http://www.marksaunders.com.hostbaby....

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