This week marks the 36th anniversary of the David Bowie single “Sound and Vision,” the delectable slice of synthesized, bass-heavy power pop, which appeared on Bowie’s Low album and remains a fan and critic favorite in the expansive Bowie catalog.
Since its release, there have been various cover versions of the song. Its latest one comes from eclectic singer/songwriter Beck, who reimagines the tune in a full-on, orchestrated and rather over the top amplified version as part of his Lincoln Now 360 Experience. Check out that video here below.
The song, which was co-produced by Bowie and longtime Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti and released to the general public on February 11th, 1977, was one of the first singles to have a long opening musical path to it, in which the band jams away for the first one minute and thirty seconds, before the minimalist vocals of Bowie come in. The nice swaying guitar, synth passages, and saxophone lines give credence to the tight, funky rhythm section which is the trademark of the tune. Visconti’s wife at the time, Mary Hopkin – best remembered for her rendition of the traditional song “Those Were the Days,” which was produced by Paul McCartney in the late 1960s – sings on the track as well.
The single was barely promoted by the original record label who distributed it, RCA, but that still didn’t deter it from reaching number three on the singles charts in the UK. Bowie performed the song live once in the 1970s before it was put in a more high profile in 1990 when it was used as the title of the Bowie box set that was released that year and was the name of the tour that accompanied it.
For more info on the Beck version, go to Lincoln Now. But of course, there’s always the rediscovering, or the discovering, of the genuine article itself, which can be heard below.