Written by: Dylan
Recorded: February 1998
Producers: David Bowie, Reeves Gabrels, Mark Plati
Released: 8 January 2021
David Bowie: vocals, guitar, saxophone
Reeves Gabrels: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, pedal steel, synthesizer, vocals
Mark Plati: synthesizer, programming
Gail Ann Dorsey: bass guitar, vocals
Zachary Alford: drums
David Bowie recorded a cover version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Tryin’ To Get To Heaven’ in early 1998. It was released as a double a-side single with John Lennon’s song ‘Mother’ in 2012.
Dylan’s recording was released on his 1997 album Time Out Of Mind. Although they were never friends, Bowie paid tribute to Dylan in 1971’s ‘Song For Bob Dylan’, and with Tin Machine covered his 1965 song ‘Maggie’s Farm’.
Bowie’s version was recorded at Philip Glass’s Looking Glass Studios in New York City in February 1998, and mixed at Sony Studios, during post-production work on the live album liveandwell.com.
Didn’t get on with him at all. I had a dreadful time with Bob Dylan. Absolutely ghastly. I talked at him for hours. I was fairly flipped out of my head, if I remember, and I just talked and talked.
The funniest part about it was that I’d been talking about his music and what he should do and what he shouldn’t and what his music did and what it didn’t, and at the end of the conversation he turned to me and – I hope it was in jest, but I have a feeling it wasn’t – he said (falling into a banal American accent), ‘you wait till you hear my next album.’
I thought, ‘Oh no, not from you, please! Not that, anything but that!’ I don’t know whether I was in the correct state to appreciate him, but it was the first and last time I ever met him.
He never made any other contact with me (laughs uproariously). That was in New York. I didn’t find him odd, that was the problem – there again, when people meet me they generally don’t find me as odd as they would have me be, so I guess it’s one of those things where you build up a particular picture.
I lost all that fascination for him, I must admit, quite a number of years ago, though. Once I had quite a thing about him.
Melody Maker, 18 February 1978
‘Tryin’ To Get To Heaven’ was leaked to the Spanish radio station DOS 84, and in October 1999 was made available for a short time as a download on the station’s website. It also appeared on a rare promo CD-R issued by Virgin Records but remained unavailable officially for more than two decades.
‘Tryin’ To Get To Heaven’ eventually received an official release as a limited-edition double-a-side 7″ single, with the cover of John Lennon’s ‘Mother’.
The single was issued on 8 January 2021, what would have been Bowie’s 74th birthday. It was made available in two physical formats, and as a digital download. The cover artwork showed the hand of Lexi Jones, Bowie and Iman’s daughter, as a baby.
The rarer cream vinyl edition was limited to 1,000 numbered copies, and only available through the official Bowie and Warners web stores. A black vinyl version was limited to 7,147 numbered copies. The total run of 8,147 was in reference to Bowie’s date of birth, 8 January 1947.
Both formats sold out within minutes of going on sale, and were soon on sale for many times their cover price on the secondary market.
“Trying to get to heaven before they close the door”
We’re proud to be able to announce details of how we’re marking what would have been David Bowie’s 74th birthday on the 8th January, 2021.
Stay tuned for more information regarding ordering and keep reading for the press release.
DAVID BOWIE BIRTHDAY SINGLE: MOTHER/TRYIN’ TO GET TO HEAVEN
TO BE RELEASED 8 JANUARY 2021 ON PARLOPHONE/ISO RECORDS
7” SINGLE LIMITED TO 8147 COPIES, INCLUDING 1000 ON CREAM VINYL
To celebrate what would have been David Bowie’s 74th birthday on the 8th January, 2021, two previously unreleased cover versions, John Lennon’s MOTHER and Bob Dylan’s TRYIN’ TO GET TO HEAVEN, will be released as a very special limited edition 7” single.
The 7” single is limited to 8147 numbered copies, 1000 of which will be on cream coloured vinyl available only from the official David Bowie store and Warner Music’s Dig! store (the remainder will be black). Both tracks will be available to stream and download.
Originally recorded by Lennon for his 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Bowie’s version of MOTHER was produced by Tony Visconti in 1998 for a Lennon tribute that never came to fruition. Bob Dylan’s original TRYIN’ TO GET TO HEAVEN was released on his 1997 Album of the Year GRAMMY winning Time Out Of Mind. David’s version was recorded in February 1998 during the mixing sessions for the ‘LiveAndWell.com’ album.
Produced by David Bowie, Tony Visconti and Reeves Gabrels
Engineered by Dave Amlen and Zach Wind (NYC) and Reeves Gabrels (Bermuda)
Recorded in Bermuda in 1997 and Sound On Sound Studios, New York, July, 1998
David Bowie – vocals
Reeves Gabrels – guitars
Tony Visconti – bass, harmony vocals
Andy Newmark – drums
Jordan Ruddess – piano
Richard Barone – harmony vocals
TRYIN’ TO GET TO HEAVEN
Produced by David Bowie. Co-produced by Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati
Mixed by Mark Plati
Recorded at Looking Glass, New York City, February 1998. Mixed at Sony Studios New York City.
David Bowie – vocals, guitar and saxophone
Reeves Gabrels – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, pedal steel, synths and vocals
Mark Plati – synths and programming
Gail Ann Dorsey – bass and vocals
Zach Alford – drums
AA/Tryin’ To Get To Heaven (single edit)
8147 copies numbered worldwide limited edition, 1000 cream vinyl exclusive to the David Bowie store and Dig! The remainder will be black vinyl.
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD & STREAMING
1. Tryin’ To Get To Heaven
‘MOTHER’ & ‘TRYIN’ TO GET TO HEAVEN’ are released on Parlophone/ISO Records 8th January, 2021