“And I will sing”
Originally released on Friday February 11th 1977 in the UK, Sound And Vision became a #3 hit when it was released as the lead single from the extraordinary Low LP.
It was unusual for a single not to precede an album release, and considering this and the fact that RCA didn’t really promote either the album or the single in the UK, it’s surprising Sound And Vision performed so well on the chart.
This lack of promotion for Low was probably meant as a bit of a rap across the knuckles for Bowie from RCA. The label was still smarting after Bowie’s stablemate, Lou Reed, delivered Metal Machine Music in 1975. RCA didn’t know what to do with Low, they wanted another Young Americans or Station To Station and their lack of vision was matched by some of the hostile music press reviews of the album.
Thankfully, Bowie fans and the record buying public had their ears and minds open and rewarded this artistic bravery by getting Low to #2 on the UK album chart.
Sound And Vision itself was a brave release too, in that the lead vocal didn’t appear until half way through the song. Brilliantly produced by Bowie and Tony Visconti, the song features a guest vocal from Mary Visconti (Nee Hopkin), the co-producer’s then wife. It also boasts a backing vocal from Brian Eno and was the first record to enter the UK singles chart featuring his voice, albeit not too obviously. (Eno didn’t sing on the early Roxy Music hits and his solo singles didn’t make the Top 40.)
Yesterday saw the release of the limited edition 40th anniversary Sound And Vision picture disc on Parlophone. The A side of this release has a brand new remaster of Sound And Vision, while the AA side sees the first physical release of the 2013 Sony Experia mix of the song, as remixed by Sonjay Prabhakar.
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