★ (pronounced “Blackstar”) is David Bowie’s 25th record, which is being released on January 8th, 2016. The album has plenty of jazz influences which can be heard on his latest single Lazarus.
Listen and enjoy.
Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, sometime between 8th – 23rd August 1974. This is the first recorded version (now regarded as a demo) during initial sessions at Sigma. However, the track was left unfinished and unreleased, and a second version was then recorded at Sigma later in the same year, to be re-titled as “Right” and finally included on the Young Americans album in 1975.
This demo has previously appeared on several bootlegs including the Absolute Rare CD albeit in a much poorer sound quality.
The film for this video was shot on location in and around Philadelphia, including at Sigma Sound Studios, where Bowie and his backing singers are shown rehearsing the vocals for the song.
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This is my all-time, favorite image of David Bowie, period. No second guessing, no question… at all. I know it’s a bold statement to make considering the countless, fantastic images that have been taken of this rock and roll chameleon throughout his career. But not surprising, this image also happens to be one of Bowie’s favorite images of himself.
Back in 1988, my wife (then girlfriend/fiancée) gave me this large framed image as a gift and have pretty much had it adorning one wall or another in our home since then. It is such powerful image that it never fails to make me stop and admire Rowlands’ perspective: the lighting, the clothes and the pose Bowie took when the image was captured.
What I find amazing about this photograph is that it is not a studio capture at all. The image was taken during the 1976 Station To Station / Isolar Tour, just 30 feet from the stage, just as Bowie was preparing to ‘fire’ his imaginary bow and arrow. Rowland captured the iconic pose just moments before the lighting engineer followed Bowie’s cue and killed the stage lights.
Recently, this image was produced from the original negative and has been re-created as an edition of 100 prints in 3 sizes. The numbered prints are hand-signed in pencil by both David Bowie and John Rowlands. ‘The Archer’ is available here.
[image © 1976 John Rowlands]