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Thursday, February 13, 2014

David Bowie "Moonage Daydream" Isolated Vocal

One of the most influential albums in the US in the early 70s was David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The album didn't sell a lot, but every musician had a copy and marveled at how innovative Bowie was. A few years ago I was lucky enough to co-write Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust, producer/engineer Ken Scott's memoir, which outlined his time working with Bowie. It was great fun listening to the stories and learning about how they recorded and mixed the album.

Have a listen to the isolated vocal track to a song off that album - "Moonage Daydream." Here are some things to listen for:

1. Bowie's vocals aren't perfect by today's standards, with a few notes here and there that he doesn't quite hit cleanly. That said, 99% of his vocals were only one take, according to Ken, who recorded and produced 4 Bowie albums. Also remember that we listened differently in those days, and tended not to concentrate on the details like we do today.

2. The vocal has a nice sounding medium decay EMT plate on it.

3. The choruses ("Keep your electric eye on me, babe.") are doubled the first two times. The third time there's only the lead vocal, and the fourth time a ping-pong delay is added, which was pretty innovative for the time, since all delay was accomplished through tape machines (in this case two of them with different delay times).

4. Listen through to the end for something not heard on the record.

You can read some excerpts from Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust about Bowie on the excerpts section at


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1 comment:

Rand said...

Still perfect to me and my ears. This man's a gift from the gods and we're all better off for experiencing what his talents produced over time. No one today comes even close...


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