Recording: Pin Ups

The core sessions for David Bowie’s Pin Ups album ended on 31 July 1973.

They took place at Château d’Hérouville in the Val-d’Oise area of northern France. A handful of overdub sessions occurred at Trident Studios after this date.

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 sessions ran from 10-31 July, often lasting 12 hours or more. When not working on new tracks, the multitrack tapes from the final Ziggy show were mixed.

Pin Ups was briefly put on hold on 16 July for the recording of Lulu’s single ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ and its b-side, ‘Watch That Man’.

Scott also excused himself “for a couple of days in the middle” to return to England for the birth of his twins.

I caught a flight back from France the night before it was supposed to happen and, of course, in typical rock ‘n’ roll style, I still got to the hospital late the next day. While I was away, they may have done a bit of Lulu recording but nothing on Pin Ups.
Ken Scott
Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust
Last updated: 12 May 2023
Recording: Pin Ups
Travel: Paris to Rome
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