“Down in space it‘s always 1982”
David Bowie in Bertolt Brecht’s Baal is a five-track EP comprising recordings of songs written for Bertolt Brecht’s play Baal.
Sometimes overlooked by the casual fan, the BAAL EP contains a couple of incredible vocal performances from Bowie.
The lyrics to the songs were translated by Ralph Manheim and John Willett. Dominic Muldowney provided the new musical settings, except for "The Drowned Girl", which was originally created by Kurt Weill for Das Berliner Requiem.
In September 1981, Bowie and Tony Visconti returned to the Hansa studios in Berlin to re-record the five songs Baal performed in the play listed below.
Baal’s Hymn (Brecht/Muldowney) – 4:02
Remembering Marie A (Traditional, adapted by Brecht/Muldowney) – 2:07
Ballad of the Adventurers (Brecht/Muldowney) – 2:01
The Drowned Girl (Brecht/Weill) – 2:26
The Dirty Song (Brecht/Muldowney) – 0:38
A video of Bowie singing the harrowing tale of The Drowned Girl was shot by David Mallet at the same time as the promo for Wild is the Wind.
Wild is the Wind was released at the tail end of 1981 to promote the CHANGESTWOBOWIE greatest hits package.
Bowie‘s performance as Baal was transmitted on February 2nd, 1982 with RCA issuing the EP to coincide with the broadcast. No doubt positive reactions to the former helped the latter into the Top Thirty UK singles chart. No mean feat considering the unconventional nature of the recordings.
The EP was re-released as a digital download in 2007 and if you‘re not familiar with the recordings start with the delightful Remembering Marie A now, and check out the rest of the EP while you‘re about it. A true hidden gem if ever there was one.