It was more than Bowie’s lauded three LP’s and not always in Berlin.
“It was one of the few cities where I could move around in virtual anonymity. I was going broke; it was cheap to live.” – David Bowie about the German city of Berlin
One of the most celebrated periods of David Bowie’s career was that of his so-called “Berlin Trilogy” from the latter half of the 1970’s , comprising the albums Low (1977), Heroes (1977) and Lodger (1979), which many believe were completely recorded in Berlin. But this isn’t totally correct and only tells part of the story.
First, the albums weren’t totally recorded in what was then West Germany; only Heroes holds that distinction. It also neglects the live album Stage, recorded during a 1978 U.S. tour. Oddly, the sound on that LP isn’t representative of the the sound of many of the shows on the tour, as guitarist Carlos Alomar stated that Bowie wanted the band to “slow down” during the professional recording of the album, sounding different than some of the bootlegs of the same tour.
Additionally, it also leaves out one very important component: Iggy Pop, whom Bowie had worked with on the Stooges last LP in 1973, Raw Power. The two were broke, strung out and needing a place to detox, regroup and create new music. The shared an apartment in Berlin for two years. Bowie worked with Iggy on his first two solo albums, The Idiot and Lust For Life, as well as playing keyboards on Iggy’s 1977 U.S. tour. Iggy also sang backing vocals on Low.
Met with mixed critical reception upon their initial releases, all of these albums now are held in high regard by music publications, including Pitchfork, which named Low their #1 album of the 1970’s. The Bowie/Iggy friendship and professional collaborations would be strengthened during this period and launch them into new artistic paths.
Tracklist for this program: Title, Year, Album Source, Artist
- Red Sails, 1979, Lodger, David Bowie
- Speed of Live (live instrumental), 1978, Isolar II Dallas (bootleg), David Bowie (original studio recording on Low)
- Sons of the Silent Age, 1977, Heroes, David Bowie
- Tiny Girls, 1977, The Idiot, Iggy Pop
- Boys Keep Swinging, 1979, Lodger, David Bowie
- Sound and Vision, 1977, Low, David Bowie
- Nightclubbing, 1977, The Idiot, Iggy Pop
- Look Back In Anger, 1979, Lodger, David Bowie
- The Secret Life of Arabia, 1977, Heroes, David Bowie
- Lust For Life, 1977, Lust For Life, Iggy Pop
- Breaking Glass, 1977, Low, David Bowie
- D.J., 1979, Lodger, David Bowie
- The Passenger, 1977, Lust For Life, Iggy Pop
- Funtime (live), recorded 1977/released 1978, TV Eye Live 1977, Iggy Pop (original studio recording on The Idiot)
- Heroes (full-length album version), 1977, Heroes, David Bowie
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
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