Rehearsal: RCA Studios, New York

David Bowie arrived in New York on 30 January 1974. On 4 February he and the Spiders From Mars began rehearsals at RCA Studios.

It was ahead of their shows at the Radio City Music Hall on 14 and 15 February 1973, as part of the Ziggy Stardust Tour.

The day was photographed by Masayoshi Sukita, who collaborated with Bowie over a number of years, including on the cover of “Heroes”.

Bowie stayed at the Gramercy Park Hotel during his time in the city.

The rehearsal, which was to be the band’s only pre-tour get-together and was scheduled to last all day, took place at the RCA studios in downtown New York in a huge, high-ceilinged room which had been purpose-built for large symphony orchestras to record in, primarily for film scores. Fortunately the band sounded basically fine, right from the first count-in, which must have been a great relief to all, and to David Bowie and Mick Ronson in particular. The three-piece Spiders knew their stuff of course, and Mike Garson, a brilliant and adaptable piano player in any case, had already done the short tour with David and the Spiders not many months back…

We had been thrashing guitars, hammering drums, blowing saxophones and ooh-ooohing in the RCA studios for more than three hours when the studio-live red light went out, someone called ‘break’, and in walked Harry Belafonte. Harry Belafonte! I felt I had always known him and was somehow hardly surprised to see him, and yet I was dumbstruck. I would eventually get used to the occurrence of this phenomenon, as we were to meet stars with famous faces on an almost daily basis on the USA tour, but Harry was the first. He had come to ask David, very nicely, if he could ask his band to turn the volume down a little, as the sound of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars could be plainly heard in the studio upstairs where Harry was recording for an album. We took a break and David apologised to Harry. It was bizarre, it was great, we were in New York, ready to rock and roll, and all was well.

John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson
Bowie & Hutch
Last updated: 5 May 2023
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