David Bowie • Right • Promo [Take Three] • 1975
This video is a remake of my 2016 David Bowie Right Promo video.
The video is a new edit and sync of the BBC David Bowie 1974 L.A. rehearsal footage, cut with “Right” from Bowie’s 1975 album “Young Americans”.
In the footage, we see Bowie and his singers in September '74, rehearsing Right, at a Los Angeles studio.
Featured in the video are:
Mike Garson (Keyboards)
Note: The identity of the saxophonist is unconfirmed.
The footage was shot for the 1975 BBC David Bowie documentary “Cracked Actor”, which was produced and directed by Alan Yentob. The colour portions of the footage were used in Cracked Actor. The black and white footage was first utilised in Francis Whateley's BBC documentary, "David Bowie: Five Years" from 2013.
The Right Way
Precise details about the making of David Bowie's Young Americans album are hard to verify. We know that recording began in earnest in mid-August 1974, a few weeks after Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs" tour of America had ended on the 20th of July. The recording sessions were at Sigma Sound studios in Philadelphia, and were produced by Tony Visconti. “Right” started out at those sessions, one of a dozen new songs recorded during those 11 days.
On the original cut of Right, the basic structure of the song, including many of the complex vocal harmony arrangements, were already in place. However, there were some obvious differences to the versions that made it onto Young Americans. For instance; the early version omits the David Sanborn sax break at the beginning. Also in the earlier version, Bowie opens the song in a high register, whereas on the final one, he sings it in a much lower key. “Right”, from the August Sigma sessions is clearly a totally different vocal take to the final Young Americans album version. The early Sigma version of Right had an official release in 2016; a track on the album, The Gouster. The Gouster is essentially Visconti’s compilation of his early Sigma takes.
By the end of those August sessions, a new David Bowie album was considered virtually finished. Famously on August the 22nd, the final night at Sigma, Bowie invited into the studio the fans that had been keeping a nightly vigil outside the building during the recording sessions. "The Sigma Kids", as they became known, were regaled with two playbacks of the new Bowie album as it stood at that time, in rough-mix form.
About ten days later on September 2nd, Bowie and the band returned to touring the U.S. The Cracked Actor documentary was shot at that time, including this rehearsal footage, which shows Bowie and his singers rehearsing the vocal arrangements for “Right”. The location was a rehearsal studio in L.A. - in all likelihood Cherokee, where a year later Station to Station would be recorded. The tour continued through September, October, and November. The last date of Bowie's '74 U.S. tour was on December 1st in Atlanta, Georgia.
However, in mid-November, there was a 5 day lull in the tour, prior to a couple of shows at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. During that time, Bowie returned to Sigma, where he recorded more material, including four new songs, again with Tony Visconti producing.
Whilst Bowie stayed in the States, Visconti went to the U.K., and worked on final mixes for some of the material. In early December, Bowie with Harry Maslin co-producing, recorded and mixed more material at Record Plant, in New York. On December the 3rd, the last recording session commenced. It is thought likely that Bowie's final vocal for “Right” was recorded at that session.
Thanks to Chris Carter and his site theyoungamerican.co.uk for invaluable historical information and fact checking.
No Turning Back
From “The Video Films We Saw”, my feature in David Bowie Glamour Fanzine, issue six:
One Saturday morning in 2016, soon after Bowie passed away, I found myself once again watching Francis Whateley’s awesome “David Bowie: Five Years” documentary. Suddenly, the black and white footage of Bowie and his singers rehearsing together in ’74 jumped out of the screen at me. Despite the original sound being almost totally obscured by the interview voices, I suddenly realised the footage offered the possibility to make a video for a favorite track from Young Americans. So I set to work, and after a long editing session, a rough cut had been produced of the “Right” video. I could hardly believe my eyes - it was great! I asked myself, can it really be that simple?
Eventually when I felt the “Right” video was finished, I uploaded it to my YouTube channel, and waited to see what / if there would be any reaction. Almost immediately, views and enthusiastic comments cascaded in. To my astonishment Carlos Alomar featured it on his site, and Mike Garson got in touch to ask if he could feature it on his! Soon, “Right” was used as part of Adam Buxton's Bowie video tour, which played at the British Film Institute and other venues around the UK.
From my original 2016 video notes:
Right' is my favorite track from Bowie's 1975 album, Young Americans. The final minute of the repeated "Never Need No" falsetto by Bowie, responding to the group's harmonies of "Never No Turning Back", is one of his best vocal performances IMO. For that section I tried to make it seem like Bowie is getting off listening to a playback of Right, and kinda vaguely singing along. Tho in realty, he's watching the band work on another track entirely.
Doing it Right
After watching the original 2016 version again recently, I saw that back then my instincts had been quite good, and the structure worked quite well. But I knew I could improve on the original formula, having acquired better quality footage and improved editing skills.
So let’s see how we get on with the Right Promo [Take Three].
Thanks for watching, hope you dig it!
Cracked Actor • 1975 • Directed by Alan Yentob
David Bowie: Five Years • 2013 • Directed by Francis Whateley
David Bowie: The Last Five Years • 2016 • Directed by Francis Whateley
David Bowie • Right • From the album Young Americans • Released 7 March 1975
Lead vocals • David Bowie
Rhythm guitar • Carlos Alomar
Bass guitar • Willie Weeks
Drums • Andy Newmark
Clavinet • Mike Garson
Alto sax • David Sanborn
Conga • Larry Washington •
Backing vocals • Luther Vandross • Robin Clark • Ava Cherry • Geoff MacCormack
Production & Mixing • Tony Visconti • Harry Maslin
Always more videos to follow, so please keep your electric eye on me babe!
I don't own the rights, and I'm not making any money out of this etc. Just a fan making videos for other fans.
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#DavidBowie #Right #YoungAmericans #TonyVisconti #HarryMaslin #LutherVandross #SigmaSound #Philadelphia LosAngeles #1975