Recording: Pin Ups

The second recording session for David Bowie’s Pin Ups album took place on 11 July 1973, at Château d’Hérouville in northern France.

Also on this day, Bowie was interviewed by David ‘Kid’ Jensen for Radio Luxembourg. It was broadcast on Jensen’s show on 14 July.

I’ve still not thought it out too well. I knew I had to stop performing for a little while. There’s a lot of things that I’ve always wanted to do on stage and I found I wasn’t fulfilling those particular needs at the moment. So I have to step back a little bit and have a look at what I was doing and see what adjustments can be made before I think of coming back on stage again.

I’m retracing my own past really, my own likes and preferences for music in the early to mid-Sixties. Very much the London sound, because we were at the height of the Liverpool sound, which was sweeping England and America. And there was a lot of material that really went unnoticed in those days and that’s the kind of stuff I wanted to put down. Things like the early Yardbirds things, even things that had some kind of nominal success like ‘See Emily Play’. We’re doing a lot of very interesting tracks, all my favourites.

David Bowie

There were two studios at Château d’Hérouville, one named after former owner Frederic Chopin. The other was the George Sand Studio, in converted stables in the grounds. It was there that much of Pin Ups was recorded.

The château had been recommended to Bowie by Marc Bolan, who had recorded parts of the T.Rex albums The Slider and Tanx there.

Another motivation was money: by recording the album in France, Bowie would avoid paying British tax on royalties. With the enormous expenses of his recent tour, and RCA’s stoic reluctance to loosen the purse strings, it was advantageous for Bowie to make as much as possible from his next release.

Recorded a short time after the Hammersmith gig, it was decided to record in a small village thirty minutes outside of Paris, France, at a studio known by different names: Strawberry Studios, Château d’Hérouville and the Honky Château. I had already recorded two albums there and so was quite comfortable with the choice. There was a small amount of recording done back at Trident to complete the project and then, as usual, I mixed there too.
Ken Scott, May 2015
Five Years (1969–1973) book

The recordings continued until 31 July, with sessions often lasting 12 hours or more. When not working on new tracks, the multitrack tapes from the final Ziggy show were mixed.

Last updated: 12 May 2023
Recording: Pin Ups
Recording: Pin Ups
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