This is one of the best things I’ve seen on the web for ages. Tony Visconti, David Bowie’s legendary producer talks to BBC Arts about the recording of Heroes in Berlin in 1977.
Using a digital version of the master tape, he breaks down all the constituent parts from the basic backing through to the vocals.
Aside from the geeky thrill of hearing how a song like Heroes is technically put together, it’s actually quite eerie hearing the individual performances including Brian Eno, Robert Fripp and Bowie himself. It’s easy to forget, when all you know is the finished article, that there’s all this individual effort and creativity going on. Sometimes it’s buried so deep in the mix that you only become aware of it when it’s singled out or removed completely.
It’s also tempting to imagine that songs like this just magically emerge fully formed from some sort of cosmic rock egg. What you realise from this video is just how organic and serendipitous it all is (see the anecdote about Visconti’s sneaky snog).
I’m not a massive Bowie fan, but I did get caught up in the grief about his death. I just thought the world was a more interesting place knowing that he was in it.