Recording: Can You Hear Me by Lulu

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.
David Bowie
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.

Not for a minute did I think ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ was the greatest thing. I just thought, ‘Do what Bowie tells you,’ but that song ‘Can You Hear Me’, that was more my thing. It was a very soulful track.
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
Last updated: 17 May 2023
David Bowie attends Guy Peellaert's Rock Dreams exhibition
Travel: London to Paris
Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.

Leave a Reply