David Bowie produced Lulu’s version of ‘Can You Hear Me’ on 25 March 1974.
Bowie had recently completed work on Diamond Dogs, which was still awaiting release. The Lulu session was his final work before leaving the UK for good on 29 March.
Lulu’s got this terrific voice, and it’s been misdirected all this time, all these years. People laugh now, but they won’t in two years time, you see! I produced a single with her — ‘Can You Hear Me’ — and that’s more the way she’s going. She’s got a real soul voice, she can get the feel of Aretha, but it’s been so misdirected.
Sounds, 4 May 1974
‘Can You Hear Me’ was recorded by Bowie for Young Americans later in 1974. Lulu’s version was taped at London’s Olympic Sound Studios, with Bowie producing and playing guitar, and Tony Newman on drums. Mick Ronson later added a string arrangement, which was recorded during an overdub session at RCA Studios in New York on 17 April.
The song began life under the working title ‘Take It In Right’. Bowie recorded a demo version at Olympic on 1 January 1974 during the Diamond Dogs sessions.
The Herald, April 2015
Despite the considerable attention it was given at the time, Lulu’s version of ‘Can You Hear Me’ was shelved and remains unreleased, and the mooted album never materialised.
He was having terrible problems with his record company at the time, and the record stayed unreleased. It’s probably in a vault somewhere.
David Bowie: A Life, Dylan Jones
Also on this day...
- 1977: Live: Iggy Pop, Masonic Temple, Detroit
- 1976: David Bowie pleads not guilty to marijuana possession
- 1970: Radio: Sounds Of The 70s
- 1968: Rehearsal: Pierrot In Turquoise, Intimate Theatre, London
- 1966: Live: David Bowie and the Buzz, Railway Hotel, Wealdstone
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.