David Bowie-Bowie Now Record Store Day 2018.

Label: Parlophone.

For Record Store Day 2018, a triptych of David Bowie albums was released including Bowie Now, which was reissued by Parlophone on heavyweight white vinyl. Bowie Now was regarded as the pick of the bunch by The Thin White Duke’s fans, and a reminder of an important period in David Bowie’s career The Berlin Trilogy.

The roots to The Berlin Trilogy can be traced to his previous album 1976s’ Station To Station and the music that David Bowie and had recorded for the soundtrack to The Man Who Fell to Earth. This was ironic given the circumstances surrounding the music.

When David Bowie let director Nicolas Roeg hear the music he had written and recorded for  The Man Who Fell to Earth it was promptly dismissed as unsuitable. The Man Who Fell to Earth, preferring a folkier sound. This many that David Bowie had some songs he cold use for his next solo studio album.

These songs David Bowie became part of Low, the first instalment in The Berlin Trilogy. During the period between 1976 to 1978, David Bowie and Iggy Pop shared  a flat on Hauptstraße 155 in Berlin. 

After David Bowie’s Thin White Duke period and the success of his 1976  singles Fame and Golden Years, was  musical chameleon was battling a crippling cocaine habit, and was keen to escape Los Angeles’ drug scene. That wasn’t all.

To make matters worse, David Bowie had  made some ill thought out comments that made it look as if he had supported fascism. Later David Bowie admitted that drug addiction and fragile mental health problems meant that this was a tough time for the Thin White Duke.

He had moved to Switzerland in the second half of 1976, and then relocated to Berlin with his friend Iggy Pop. There David Bowie hoped to keep a lower profile and kick his spiralling drug habit.

The flat was cheap, which was perfect for David Bowie whose finances were in a perilous state. Berlin offer an anonymity  and David Bowie could live his life far from press who watched and reported on his private life.

As David Bowie enjoyed leading a quieter life, he began exploring the burgeoning and innovative music scene, David Bowie was drawn to Neu! and Kraftwerk which would later inspire him. Before that, David Bowie discovered Brian Eno’s 1975 minimalist album Discreet Music, and a year later, the two giants of British music met for the first time in 1976.

By the David Bowie was recording Low with Tony Visconti, and the two men co-produced the album during September and October 1976. Brian Eno made valuable contributions at the session Hansa Studio by The Wall in West Berlin.

When Low was completed, it was initially rejected by RCA, who asked David Bowie to make the album more like Young Americans. David Bowie’s response was to frame the letter, and leave Low it was.

The released date for Low was scheduled for January 1977. Critics on hearing Low, which was recorded in Europe’s heroin capital, found David Bowie suffering as he tried to beat his cocaine  habit. Despite being in such pain, he created a groundbreaking album inspired two of the leading lights of German music.

This was Neu! and Kraftwerk, who had influenced David Bowie on album where he combined with ambient, avant-garde and electronica. David Bowie used treated drum sounds as he continued to push musical boundaries.

Despite being such an ambitious album, critical opinion was divided, with some critics taking an almost irrational dislike to Low.

David Bowie had the last laugh when Low reached number eleven in the US Billboard 200 and two in Britain. This led to Low being certified gold in Britain and Australia. This vindicated David Bowie’s decision not to change Low. However, the big question was how to follow Low?


By July 1977, David Bowie was back in  the Hansa Studio by The Wall in West Berlin, with Tony Visconti. The two men co-produced Heroes which featured Brian Eno and was meant to feature Michael Rother of Kraftwerk, Neu! and Harmonia. Sadly, internal politics, petty squabbling and a rather large ego meant that Michael Rother was sidelined.

His replacement was Robert Fripp who hadn’t played the guitar professionally for three years. He received a phone call  from Brian Eno and was soon flying first class to Berlin. 

Michael Rother, one of Europe’s most innovative guitarists, had been replaced and David Bowie and Heroes were the losers. The addition of Michael Rother would’ve  transformed what was a thought-provoking album.

The concept behind Heroes was the Cold War, and Berlin, a city divided. David Bowie could look out of the Hansa Studio by The Wall and see the Red Guards in their control-room.

In the Hansa Studio by The Wall, co-producer Tony Visconti watched as David Bowie combined ambient, art pop, art rock, avant-garde, electronic and experimental rock. By August 1977, David Bowie’s genre-melting album Heroes, was complete.

Just over a month later, on the ’23rd’ of September 1977 Heroes was released as a single and reached number twelve in Britain. This resulted in Heroes being certified gold in Britain and Italy. Elsewhere Heroes wasn’t the huge success that executives at RCA had hoped. 

Two months later, on ‘14th’ October 1977, Heroes was released to widespread critical acclaim and was an  eclectic album. Three of the highlights were Heroes, and two moody atmospheric instrumentals Sense Of Doubt and Neuköln. They were part of what was a classic album, Heroes.

When Heroes was released, it was a success across Australasia, Europe, North America and Britain where it reached number three. In America, Heroes reached thirty-five in the US Billboard 200.By then, Heroes was well on its way to being certified in Britain and Canada. The David Bowie success story continued apace.

Bowie Now.

By then, many of David Bowie’s fans had heard about an American LP which was  released on white vinyl and featured tracks from Low and Heroes.

From Low, Speed Of Life, Breaking Glass, Always Crashing In The Same Car, What In The World and Weeping Wall. These songs were joined by Joe the Lion, Sons of the Silent Age, Blackout, V-2 Schneider, Neuköln and The Secret Life Of Arabia.   These twelve tracks became Bowie Now.

Copies of Bowie Now were sent out to lucky American music journalists in 1978, and featured a tantalising  taste of David Bowie’s Low and Heroes. Both were groundbreaking albums of ambitious and innovative music  from musical chameleon and pioneer David Bowie.

Forty years after the original promotional release of Bowie Now, Parlophone announced they planned to release the album for Record Store Day 2018 on white vinyl. Bowie Now features eleven tracks from Low and Heroes, which were the first two instalments in David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy. It found David Bowie reinvent himself musically once again and this is celebrated on Bowie Now, which is a reminder of one of the great musicians of his generation.

David Bowie-Bowie Now Record Store Day 2018.

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