Although David Bowie did not work on it, this recording session by Ava Cherry was pivotal in shaping the direction of his future live dates and the Young Americans album.
It took place on 9 July 1974 at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Michael Kamen, the musical director of the Diamond Dogs Tour, was the producer.
Bowie was a visitor at the session, in which Cherry recorded the songs ‘Everything That Touches You’, ‘Give It Away’, and Bowie’s own ‘Sweet Thing’.
At the studio, Bowie met the musicians including the studio’s in-house rhythm section, MFSB. Impressed and enthused by the results, Bowie began formulating plans for his own excursion into Philly soul.
He met the guys, these fantastic black guys. Something really fundamental shifted in him.
Alias David Bowie, Peter and Leni Gillman
Sigma Sound Studios was based at 212 North 12th Street, Philadelphia. It opened in 1968 and was one of the first American studios with 24-track recording facilities.
Young Americans was amazing because at that time David was one of the first white artists they’d recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia. David was immediately accepted by the black community. Before he arrived I’d heard that some people were sniping about him coming to the city, but I never saw anything like that. I heard there were some players who didn’t want to be on the record because David was white, but I don’t believe that. David had already mapped exactly how he wanted to do it. He had met Carlos Alomar, and he didn’t really care if there was a stigma. We went in there and just played away. David was very detailed about everything that he wanted to do. He would be writing it down and he would write in a diary and write different things every day, all the time. He knew exactly what he wanted to do and was not ruffled by any of those things. We went in and it was great.
David Bowie: A Life, Dylan Jones
Bowie began recording Young Americans at Sigma on 11 August 1974.
Also on this day...
- 1996: Live: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
- 1990: Live: Spectrum, Philadelphia
- 1974: Live: Tower Theater, Upper Darby
- 1973: Travel: London to Hérouville
- 1971: Recording: It Ain’t Easy, Bombers
- 1966: Live: David Bowie and the Buzz, Blue Moon, Cheltenham
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.