Recording: Young Americans

David Bowie began recording Young Americans on 11 August 1974.

The initial sessions ran from 11-22 August 1974 at Sigma Sound Studios, at 212 North 12th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The first two days were largely experimental. Bowie’s band during these sessions was Carlos Alomar on guitar, Mike Garson on piano and keyboards, Andy Newmark on drums, Willie Weeks on bass guitar, David Sanborn on saxophone, and Pablo Rosario and Larry Washington on percussion. The backing singers were Ava Cherry, Luther Vandross, Robin Clark, Diane Sumler, Antony Hinton, and Geoff MacCormack.

Producer Tony Visconti arrived from England on 13 August. Bowie asked Sigma’s chief engineer Carl Paruolo to engineer the initial sessions, but was unhappy with the results. At the time, US studios tended to record instruments and vocals dry, without effects or treatments, and Bowie was not used to the results.

The Sigma songs recorded in August were, in their original titles: ‘The Young American’; ‘Shilling The Rubes’; ‘Lazer’, a reworking of ‘I Am A Laser’; ‘After Today’; ‘I’m Only Dancing’, later retitled ‘John, I’m Only Dancing (Again)’; ‘Never No Turnin’ Back’, later re-recorded as ‘Right’; ‘Somebody Up There Likes Me‘; ‘Who Can I Be Now?’; ‘Come Back My Baby’, eventually released as ‘It’s Gonna Be Me’; and ‘Can You Hear Me’, sometimes known as ‘Take It In, Right’.

Last updated: 31 May 2023
David Bowie sees the Jackson Five live
Recording: Young Americans
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