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Bowie arrives at Olympic Studios photograph © Denis O'Regan

Tuesday January 1

Recording session

Studio 2, Olympic Studios, Barnes
Engineers: Keith Harwood, Andy Morris

Take It In Right

Take It In Right (later retitled Can You Hear Me) was written for Lulu as a follow up single to The Man Who Sold The World; Candidate was intended for the projected Nineteen Eighty-Four musical.

Candidate released:
Diamond Dogs reissue (Rykodisc/EMI 1990)
Diamond Dogs 30th Anniversary 2CD Edition (EMI 2004)

Tuesday January 8

Metropolis with Amanda Lear and George Underwood

Amanda Lear (1978): It was a real big thing for him. He was so paranoid about going out in daylight and being recognised. We saw Fritz Lang's Metropolis and David was in awe of it. He rented the film and ran it over and over again in his house. And that's where Diamond Dogs came from – the whole staging and album and everything, Bowie got from Metropolis.

Friday January 11

The Man Who Sold The World 3:58 Watch That Man 5:11

Lulu single released in UK
Polydor 2001 490
UK chart peak 3
Produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson

Both tracks reissued on
Oh! You Pretty Things: The Songs of David Bowie (Castle Music 2006)

Bowie supplied the backing track and supervised the sound for Lulu's appearance on Top Of The Pops performing the song in a black suit.

Lulu (2008): It was very Berlin/Cabaret. The Man Who Sold The World saved me from a certain niche in my career.

Monday January 14

Diamond Dogs recording session
Studio 2, Olympic Studios, Barnes
Engineer: Andy Morris

Rock 'N' Roll With Me
Big Brother
Diamond Dogs

Bowie was also working Are You Coming? Are You Coming? for the Nineteen Eighty-Four stage show, now renamed The 1980 Floor Show, to avoid any copyright problems which might otherwise arise.

Olympic threatened to ban Bowie from the studio until they were paid outstanding studio fees, so he shelved the Astronettes project. Instead they would make Ava's solo album later in the year.

• Astronettes recordings released as People From Bad Homes (Golden Years 1995)

Geoff MacCormack, Astronettes (2008): They were just demos that we abandoned to come back to at another time. [Tony DeFries] had the tapes and without asking anybody just put them out. To my ears, the music wasn't good. They were just demos, just ideas being thrown around.

Wednesday January 30

Diamond Dogs photo session with Terry O'Neill

Bowie met with Belgian artist Guy Peellaert at his hotel to discuss artwork for the Diamond Dogs album cover, then joined Terry O'Neill at a hired studio for the photography, on which Peellaert would base the cover art.

Terry O'Neill (2013): I had shot the dog first and then a few frames of Bowie posing in his inimitable way – which was at ease but totally in control. Then I said, 'What about trying one with you and the dog?' Just as I started shooting, the bloody dog leapt up into the air towards the camera. It was quite aggressive and I was a bit taken aback, but I kept thinking: 'Thank God I'm using a wide-angle lens.' David just sat there throughout. He was totally unfazed.

Guy Peellaert (2000): It was only when we were at the session that he finally asked me if I would do a painting for him. The idea was so interesting I couldn't refuse.


Diamond Dogs production
Good Earth Studios, Shepherd's Bush, London

With Olympic Studios no longer an option, Bowie turned to Tony Visconti.

Tony Visconti (1982): He said, "I'm having trouble mixing and finishing this album, so why don't we get together again?" and he asked if I could recommend a good studio. I said I was building my own, so he wanted to come and see it, and when he did, it obviously felt right, and he decided he must finish the album there. We didn't even have chairs at that time, but he said it didn't matter, and the next day he went to Habitat or some place like that, and this big van showed up in front of my house, and out came tables, chairs, lounges and all that, and he completely furnished my studio so that he could finish his album there. We actually did our first day's work, before all the stuff arrived, sitting on a carpenter's horse – we were sitting on this horse mixing, and it was the following day, when everything arrived, that he said, "Well, we couldn't spend another day sitting on this wooden horse."

Thursday February 7

Amstel Hotel, Amsterdam • Photograph © Peter Mazel

Wednesday February 13

Press conference
Amstel Hotel, Amsterdam

Ad Visser, host of Dutch music show Top Pop, presented Bowie with the Edison award for the Most Popular Male Vocalist, then poured two glasses of Schelvispekel, 'an old fishermen's drink'. Bowie quipped, “It tastes like old fishermen.” Bowie's Freddie Burretti-designed outfit was inspired by Carmen, the flamenco rock group who had appeared on The 1980 Floor Show in October.

Bowie (1993): I had conjunctivitis so I made the most of it and dressed like a pirate. Stopped just short of the parrot. I had this most incredible jacket that I was wearing that night, it was a bottle-green bolero jacket that Freddie made for me, and he got an artist to paint, using the appliqué technique, this supergirl from a Russian comic on the back. But I took the jacket off during the press conference and somebody* stole it.

* Dutch journalist Elly de Waard took the jacket as retribution for being refused an interview with Bowie. She has since paraded it at staged events.

Top Pop television appearance
AVRO studio, Hilversum, Netherlands

Director: Rien van Wijk

Rebel Rebel

Edison Awards ceremony, Amsterdam

The Edisons – the Dutch equivalent of the Grammys – included a performance by Tony Orlando and Dawn singing their hit Tie A Yellow Ribbon. Orlando broke off singing the last verse when he spotted Bowie and Angie in the audience: “I can't believe what I see… Is that you?”

• Broadcast: Grand Gala du Disque (AVRO)

Thursday February 14

Diamond Dogs album production
Studio L Ludolf Machineweg 8-12, Hilversum

Friday February 15

Rebel Rebel 4:22 Queen Bitch 3:14

single released in UK
Chart peak 5

Friday February 22

Mick Ronson plays the Rainbow Theatre, London

His band included Trevor Bolder, Mike Garson, Ritchie Dharma and Mark Pritchett.

Thursday February 28

• Read: Beat Godfather Meets Glitter MainMan, Rolling Stone magazine


March 1974

Friday March 1

Slaughter on 10th Avenue

Mick Ronson album released in UK
RCA APL1-0353

Tracks include
Growing Up And I'm Fine (Bowie)
Hey Ma Get Papa (Ronson-Bowie)
Music Is Lethal (Battisti-Bowie)

MainMan promoted Ronson's first album with all the fanfare of an established star. A coinciding UK tour helped Slaughter on 10th Avenue to its chart debut at number 9.

Saturday March 2

Rebel Rebel peaks at number 5 in the UK charts

Thursday March 7

Bowie takes delivery of Guy Peellaert's Diamond Dogs artwork. The album would be in the record shops six months before The Rolling Stones album It's Only Rock 'N' Roll. also with a Peellaert cover.

Angie Bowie: Yes, it was a competition. David considered that the Stones were on the way out. It was his turn. In those days we lived around the corner from the Jaggers in Chelsea. Guy Peellaert was introduced to David by Mick. Mick showed David the Stones' new album artwork. David was so excited that he commissioned Peellaert to do the Diamond Dogs cover, and how wonderful that he did. It was David's deft way at metaphorically pushing his influences out of the way as he stepped up to take their place. He wasn’t only the diamond dog. He was the top dog.

Bowie (1976): Mick was silly. I mean, he should never have shown me anything new. I went over to his house and he had all these Guy Peellaert pictures around and said, “What do you think of this guy?” I told him I thought he was incredible. So I immediately phoned him up. Mick's learned now, as I've said. He will never do that again.

The Diamond Dogs cover painting © Guy Peellaert

Friday March 8

The Bowies with Guy Peellaert at his Rock Dreams exhibition/book launch in the Rainbow Room at Biba, London © Archiv Hauke


The Rock Dreams cover painting included Bowie in the pantheon
© Guy Peellaert

Bowie in a Rock Dreams double spread with Lou Reed
© Guy Peellaert

Mid March

Plans for the West End stage show of Nineteen Eighty-Four were ditched in favour of an extensive American tour with a strong theatrical element.

Broadway designer Jules Fisher flew to London and met with Bowie who briefed him on the concept for the Diamond Dogs stage show. Fisher then brought in Mark Ravitz to design the Hunger City set.

Jules Fisher (1985): For Diamond Dogs, he had an understanding of German expressionist art and film – he wanted that image. He said, “I see a town, like the one in The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari.”

Mark Ravitz (1985): David gave me three clues – power, Nuremberg and Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

Jules Fisher (1995): There were four towers that were the basis of the design, and they were made of newsprint that could be torn apart, so Bowie could actually climb one of these towers and destroy the building during the concert. There was also a bridge across here, and during the concert the bridge lowered down to the stage so that he could step off of it and sing downstage. And at the end it raised up again. And there was a door that opened up and a cherry picker arm came forward and extended out over the first six rows of the audience.

On Angie's recommendation, Bowie brought in Toni Basil, a choreographer working with The Lockers, an urban dance troupe with a street sense that fitted Bowie's Diamond Dogs concept.

Tony Visconti (2000): Toni Basil taught him things like, don't ever waste a movement. If you have to put your microphone down, do it with a flourish. If you have to walk from one side of the stage to the other, do it with great dramatic gestures. Throw your head back before you put your first step out.

Toni Basil (1985): We talked about the Living Theatre and mime. David had this idea about having ropes tied around the necks of some dancers. When I told him he could do it if he was careful, he yelled to Corinne, "The Diamond Dogs number is back in!"

Corinne Schwab (or Coco, as Geoff MacCormack nicknamed her) was planning to move on from the London MainMan office, where she'd been keeping creditors at bay, and was now assisting Bowie.

Coco Schwab (2001): I got started working with David by answering an ad in the Evening Standard in London asking for "Girl Friday needed for busy office". I had run my finger down the page and stopped there in totally arbitrary fashion. I needed a job to earn expense money for a trip my photographer friend and I were planning to take. We had a magazine interested in us to do a story of two girls on a Greyhound bus tour of America, kind of Jack Kerouac On The Road style, but two girls as opposed to two guys. They were only willing to pay a certain amount upfront and we thought to save a bit more we'd get short-term jobs. When I was ready to leave MainMan six months later, David called and asked me why I was leaving. I explained about this Greyhound bus tour of America thing. He paused for a minute and said, “How about a limousine tour of America?" I paused for about a nanosecond and said something like, "Uh, okay." Needless to say, I don't think my photographer friend ever truly forgave me.

Gloria Harris had moved on so Bowie appointed Coco as his personal assistant, a position she held until Bowie passed away.

Friday March 22

Weren't Born A Man

Dana Gillespie album released in UK
RCA APL1 0354

Tracks include
Backed A Loser (Bowie)
and Bowie-Ronson productions
Andy Warhol (Bowie) and Mother Don't Be Frightened (Gillespie)

Monday March 25

Lulu recording session
Olympic Studios, Barnes

David Bowie (guitar, production)
Tony Newman (drums)

Can You Hear Me

Friday March 29

London to Paris

While Mick Ronson worked on string arrangements for Can You Hear Me in London, Bowie and MacCormack travelled to Paris, where they stayed at the Raphael Hotel and ran into Ron Wood.

April 1974

Monday April 3

Paris to New York via Cannes

After stopping off for a couple of hours at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes, Bowie and MacCormack boarded SS France for New York.

Geoff MacCormack (2007): We nearly missed the boat from Paris. David fell in love with a girl on a revue show and I had a girlfriend there at the time. We had a suite in the Carlton Hotel for three nights but all we managed was to get back just in time to grab a banana, have a quick wash and get in a limo taking us back to get our boat. Geoff MacCormack. 'Station To Station: Travels With Bowie 1973-76' (Genesis Publications, 2007)

After Bowie heard the crew were disappointed that he was not scheduled to play on the voyage, he turned up in the canteen with an acoustic guitar.

Bruno Rabreau, SS France receptionist (2006): We enjoyed more than ten songs and especially Space Oddity which was the first one, and a few crew members took instruments too and played with him. It was a really, really good time. He was a very ordinary person and very friendly to us. Patrick Jackson. 'Surreal times on the SS France' (BBC News, June 2006)

SS France in Hong Kong, 1974

Thursday April 11

New York

On arrival, Bowie autographed fan club booklets then checked into the Sherry Netherlands Hotel on Fifth Avenue.

Photo by David Smith

Photo by David Smith

Bowie signs autographs on the New York docks
Photographs © David Smith

Friday April 12

Rock 'N' Roll Suicide 2:58 Quicksand 5:03

single released in UK
RCA LPBO 5021 • Chart peak 22

The first record credited just ‘Bowie' and his first RCA single to miss the British Top 20 since Changes in January 1972.

Mid April

Diamond Dogs recording and television
RCA Studio 4D, 155 E 24th St, New York

Rebel Rebel [US new version]
Can You Hear Me [Lulu version]


In RCA Studios, New York

With Cherry Vanilla Photographs © Macs McAree

Cherry Vanilla produced the television commercial for the upcoming Diamond Dogs album as Bowie was reworking Rebel Rebel for the American market, with tape effects, more percussion and a new arrangement, which he retained for the 1974 tour.

Geoff MacCormack (2008): David and I got very heavily into Latin music. He decided we should put down a new backing vocal and have some congas all the way through Rebel Rebel. So when we got to New York, they ordered some congas for me and I put a heavy conga thing all the way through and we sang those backing vocals.

Work also resumed on Lulu's Can You Hear Me sessions.

The guitarist was Carlos Alomar.

Carlos Alomar (1997): Tony Sylvester, one of the singers in The Main Ingredient, told me about this guy named David Bowie who was producing Lulu at one of the RCA studios. Tony said, "They need a guitar player and I recommend you." I knew who Lulu was because I saw To Sir, With Love, but I didn't know who David Bowie was. I didn't have a clue. I took him to the Apollo. Here we are in 1973, in the center of Harlem, particularly at the front entrance of the theatre. There is a line. A long line! And a stretch limousine pulls up. Out comes the whitest, white man imaginable with stark red flaming hair, who proceeds to walk right up to the front entrance and pass right through, ignoring the obvious gawks, stares, gapping mouths and probable profanities. This act in itself marks the nature of the man ... his ability to follow through for the sake of his art was evident right from the start.

Bowie asked Alomar to work on the tour starting in June. DeFries refused to match Alomar's pay at the time ($800 a week) so Alomar declined.

Wednesday April 17

Rodin - Mis en Vie, New York

Bowie, MacCormack and Cherry Vanilla attended the New York premiere of the ballet based on the life of sculptor Auguste Rodin. Bowie was impressed with the performance and staging concepts. He met Michael Kamen, who scored the production, and invited him to join the tour as musical director.

Friday April 19

Todd Rundgren's Utopia at Carnegie Hall, New York

Bowie and Ava Cherry attended the concert and the Bearsville Records aftershow party at Shun Lee restaurant.

Todd Rundgren afterparty

Bowie makes his entrance Photograph © Bob Gruen


Ava Cherry and Bowie

With Ava Cherry Photograph © Bob Gruen

Sounds writer Martin Kirkup interviewed Bowie about his first week in New York, the tour plans and the imminent release of the new album Diamond Dogs. Bowie also caught up with Melody Maker US Editor Chris Charlesworth who reported that “he drank champagne with his companion Ava Cherry and fled when the snapping flashbulbs began to irritate.”

Ava Cherry, Bowie and Charlesworth

With Ava Cherry and Chris Charlesworth Photograph © Bob Gruen


May 1974


Rebel Rebel 2:58 Lady Grinning Soul 3:19

single released in US
US chart peak 64

Saturday May 4

'Diamond David' by Martin Kirkup published in Rock magazine

Friday May 24

Diamond Dogs

album released
UK RCA APL1-0576
US RCA CPL1-0576

Side one
Future Legend 1:00
Diamond Dogs 5:50
Sweet Thing 3:29
Candidate 2:39
Sweet Thing (Reprise) 2:32
Rebel Rebel 4:21

Side two
Rock ‘N’ Roll With Me 3:54
We Are The Dead 4:58
1984 3:27
Big Brother 3:25
Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family 1:48

JUNE 1974

Sunday June 2

Roxy Music at Academy of Music, New York

Bowie and Ava Cherry attended the aftershow party at the East Village loft of artist Larry Rivers.

Photo by Dagmar

Bryan Ferry, Amanda Lear, Bowie and Shaun Cassidy
Photograph © Dagmar


Shaun Cassidy, Bowie and unknown guest

Shaun Cassidy, Bowie and unknown guest Photograph © Dagmar

Saturday June 8 – Monday June 10

Tour rehearsals at Capitol Theater, Port Chester

Diamond Dogs Tour

David Bowie (vocals)
Mike Garson (piano, mellotron)
Earl Slick (lead guitar)
Herbie Flowers (bass guitar)
Tony Newman (drums)
Pablo Rosario (percussion)
David Sanborn (alto saxophone, flute)
Richard Grando (baritone saxophone, flute)
Michael Kamen (electric piano, moog, oboe)
Warren Peace and Gui Andrisano (vocal backing/dogs)

The Diamond Dogs tour was originally planned to play five or so nights in each city, before moving on to the next city. The set cost $200,000 and the props $75,000.

Production run sheet detailing choreography and set changes

Friday June 14

Diamond Dogs 6:03 Holy Holy 2:16

single released in UK
The first release of the 1972 recording of Holy Holy

Forum, Montreal

The preparation of the Hunger City stage was complete, but the sound system was overloaded and distorted and the bridge crashed to the ground with Bowie on it. The sound company was replaced and Porsche brakes were installed in the bridge. Hearing of this, Bowie quipped, “A Porsche brake? Isn't that how James Dean died?”

Nick Russyian, stage manager (1985): The technical problems were never resolved before we left Port Chester. David could have gotten electrocuted or killed.

Saturday June 15

Civic Center, Ottawa

Bryan Adams, musician (1993): It was just great. He wouldn't come back on for an encore and the crowd smashed the place to pieces, threw all the seats at the equipment and totalled the stage. The other funny thing that happened was that he had a cherry picker and it went up and got stuck and wouldn't come down. So we all got a good laugh out of that.

Sunday June 16

O'Keefe Auditorium, Toronto (2 shows)

The technical problems were resolved but Bowie suffered from laryngitis. Despite this he put on a “perfect show” impressing the group of US and UK writers DeFries had flown in.

Report by Leee Black Childers in Hit Parader magazine

Monday June 17

War Memorial Auditorium, Rochester

Tuesday June 18
Wednesday June 19

Public Auditorium, Cleveland

Thursday June 20

Sports Arena, Toledo

Saturday June 22

Cobo Arena, Detroit

The show was transferred from Ford Hall at the last minute when they found the stage was too small to fit the set.

Angie and Zowie backstage in Detroit
Photograph © Leee Black Childers

• Report by Leee Black Childers, Hit Parader magazine

• Report by Lenny Kaye, Disc and Music Echo

Sunday June 23

Cobo Arena, Detroit (cancelled)

Monday June 24

Hara Arena, Dayton

Tuesday June 25

Cincinnati Gardens (cancelled)

Wednesday June 26
Thursday June 27

Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh

Thursday June 28

Civic Center, Charleston

Friday June 29

Municipal Auditorium, Nashville

Backstage, Municipal Auditorium Photograph © Linda McCartney

Saturday June 30

Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis

JULY 1974

Monday July 1

Fox Theatre, Atlanta

Tuesday July 2

Curtis Hixon Hall, Tampa

During the journey to Tampa, the driver of the truck containing most of the set is stung by a bee and crashes.

Leee Black Childers (1974): He drove the truck into a swamp somewhere near Tampa, Florida. Bowie went on that night on a bare stage. He says it's the best audience reception he's had to date.

Leee Black Childers. ‘On Tour With Bowie' (Hit Parader, December 1974)

Bowie received a 20-minute ovation and returned for an encore.

Wednesday July 3

Jai-Alai Fronton, Orlando

Thursday July 5

Park Center Coliseum, Charlotte

Friday July 6

Coliseum, Greensboro

Saturday July 7

Scope Convention Center, Norfolk

Sunday July 8 – Saturday July 13

Tower Theater, Philadelphia

Bowie's band discovered that the Philadelphia shows were to be recorded (for David Live), and that they would be paid the standard show fee. Herbie Flowers (pictured below, wearing pyjamas) protested to Bowie and DeFries, saying they would not go on without an increased fee in line with the normal recording rates. On the basis of the likely sales of the album they calculated they were entitled to $50,000 ($5000 each).

Bowie relented, MainMan handed over the cheques (which some claim were never honoured) and the band went on and played the show.

Herbie Flowers (1985): I can claim to be a genius for setting up the tension before we did the show, because when we went on stage, the feeling of liberation in the band was glorious.

Tony Visconti was unable to get to the venue in time so David Live was recorded without him. Engineer Keith Harwood was left to do the job alone. The incorrect microphone placement meant that the instruments were not isolated properly, making the recording more difficult for Visconti to mix later.

Monday July 9

Production began on Ava Cherry's promised solo album with a day in Philadelphia's Sigma Sound Studios with Michael Kamen, recording three songs – Everything That Touches You, Give It Away and Sweet Thing.

Friday July 12

Sunday July 14

Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Haven

Monday July 15

Palace Theater, Waterbury

Tuesday July 16

Music Hall, Boston

Wednesday July 17

Bushnell Auditorium, Hartford
(replacing cancelled Cape Cod Memorial Coliseum)

David Live post production
Electric Lady Studios, Greenwich Village, New York
Producer: Tony Visconti
Engineer: Eddie Kramer

Some of the backing vocals had to be rerecorded due to loss of microphone contact during the shows. The whole process was rushed in order to maximise sales and publicise the rest of the tour.

In the midst of all this, Tony DeFries and his wife Liz divorced. According to his niece, "he was very nice until all this Bowie thing began."

Friday July 19
Saturday July 20

Madison Square Garden, New York

Madison Square Garden photograph © Dagmar
Bowie chose this for the David Live cover, but it was reproduced so poorly that Bowie remarked that it made him look like he'd "just stepped out of the grave".

Promoter Ron Delsener threw a party at the Plaza Hotel for 40 guests including Mick Jagger. Bette Midler arrived with two of her Harlettes, Charlotte Crossley and Sharon Redd.

The New York concerts were videotaped for MainMan by John Dove for Bowie to review later. Bowie had become interested in video, so Dove taught him how to shoot, edit and apply effects.

August 1974

1984 Queen Bitch

single released in US
RCA PB-10026

Bass guitarist Herbie Flowers and drummer Tony Newman left the touring band, and were replaced by Willie Weeks and Andy Newmark.

Sunday August 11 – Thursday August 22

Young Americans recording sessions
Studio A North, Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia
Producer: Tony Visconti

Bowie had been impressed by the studio when Ava Cherry was recording there in July. He also liked their connection with the Gamble and Huff recordings. Bowie and entourage stayed at the The Barclay on Rittenhouse Square for the duration of the sessions at Sigma.

Cracked Actor
Producer: Alan Yentob
Camera: Michael Murphy, David Myers
Sound: Pat Darrin

British filmmaker Alan Yentob arrived to make a documentary on Bowie's experiences in America for BBC's Omnibus program.

Alan Yentob (2013): I got a phone call out of the blue from Tony DeFries, the self-proclaimed emperor of the fast-expanding Bowie dynasty trading under the name MainMan. Would I be interested in making a film about David as he embarked on his Diamond Dogs tour of North America? I met Bowie in New York and he promised to make time for me to get my film made in the midst of a staggeringly demanding schedule.

Alan Yentob (1985): When I started, I wanted to make a film about him called The Collector – about this man who seemed to adopt other people's gestures, presences or personalities … there were lots of allusions in his records, references to movies and all sorts of things.

The idea had occurred to Yentob the year before, when Bowie described himself on Russell Harty's show as “a collector – I collect things”.

Both Terry O'Neill and Alan Yentob were on hand to document the sessions, including Right with Luther Vandross and Carlos Alomar's wife Robin Clark.

Bowie, Clark and Cherry rehearsing Right
Stills from Cracked Actor (Alan Yentob © BBC)

Bowie and Mike Garson Photograph © Terry O'Neill

A group of devoted Philadelphia fans, dubbed the Sigma Kids, staked out Sigma Studios and the Barclay Hotel, where Bowie would emerge each evening. They took pictures of him walking to the limo, and then quickly drove across town to Sigma Sound in time to see him arrive.

Thursday August 22

After a long night of finishing touches to vocals and keyboard overdubs, Bowie invited the Sigma Kids into the studio. Photographer Dagmar followed them in to document the occasion.


Bowie (1974): We let them in and played them some things from the album and they loved it, which was amazing. Fabulous, because I really didn't know what they'd think about the change in direction.

Matt Damsker, Rolling Stone: Bowie played the album for the ten blissed-out, formerly camped-out, devotees, who'd been ushered into the studio, finally, at 5am by Stuart George. Bowie was an affable host as he signed more autographs, apologised for the unfinished mix of the album and agreed to play it a second time, at which point the party erupted into dance. Bowie took centre floor with a foxy stomp.

Matt Damsker. Philly Stopover: Fans and Funk (Rolling Stone, 1974)

All photographs © Dagmar

In eight days, they had recorded nine basic backing tracks for most of the album but only some of these made it on to the finished album.

Young Americans
John I'm Only Dancing (Again)
Somebody Up There Likes Me
Who Can I Be Now?
Come Back My Baby
Can You Hear Me
After Today [two versions - fast and slow]

The rest came together in November, December and the following January.

Who Can I Be Now?, It's Gonna Be Me and After Today were later dropped from the album but issued on later releases:
• Sound + Vision box set (Rykodisc/EMI 1989)
• Young Americans reissues (Rykodisc/EMI 1991 and EMI 2007)
• Who Can I Be Now box set (EMI 2016)

Saturday August 24

Philadelphia to Los Angeles

Bowie began the three-day rail journey to Los Angeles for the West Coast tour, starting with seven already sold-out Universal Amphitheatre dates.

Friday August 30

Young Americans cover photo session, Hollywood
Photographer: Eric Stephen Jacobs

With the album considered to be finished, Bowie worked on ideas for the sleeve design. He settled on a design based on the cover of the latest issue of After Dark, a hand tinted portrait of his tour choreographer Toni Basil by photographer Eric Stephen Jacobs that evoked old Hollywood glamour.

He called Jacobs in New York and flew him to Los Angeles for the shoot which took place on a Hollywood soundstage.

Back in his New York studio, Jacobs replicated the style of his previous portrait, including the hand colouring and the handpainted cigarette smoke, curling upwards to the title.



Young Americans promotional photo session with Terry O'Neill
Playboy building, Hollywood

Polaroid test shot

Diamond Dogs West Coast Tour

David Bowie (vocals)
Earl Slick (lead guitar)
Carlos Alomar (guitar)
Michael Kamen (musical director, electric piano, moog, oboe)
Mike Garson (piano, mellotron)
David Sanborn (alto sax, flute)
Richard Grando (baritone sax, flute)
Doug Rauch (bass guitar) (ex-Santana)*
Greg Errico (drums) (ex-Sly and the Family Stone)*
Pablo Rosario (percussion)
Ava Cherry (backing vocals)
Warren Peace (backing vocals)
Gui Andrisano (backing vocals)
Luther Vandross (backing vocals)
Diane Sumler (backing vocals)
Anthony Hinton (backing vocals)

Rehearsals, Los Angeles Photograph © Terry O'Neill

Monday September 2

Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles

Los Angeles Photograph © Terry O'Neill

Robert Hilburn reviewed the first night and afterwards came to the Beverly Wilshire to talk about the new live album, but instead Bowie played him tracks from the Young Americans album, at that time tentatively titled One Damn Song.. "This isn't the new album,” Bowie told him, “but the one after it, and the record company doesn't like me to do that. We cut it in a week in Philadelphia and it can tell you more about where I am now than anything I could say."

Tuesday September 3
Wednesday September 4
Thursday September 5

Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles

Alan Yentob's crew filmed the Thursday night concert for the BBC Omnibus documentary Cracked Actor. The live footage included excerpts of Rebel Rebel, Moonage Daydream, Cracked Actor, Sweet Thing, Aladdin Sane, Time, Rock 'N' Roll Suicide, Diamond Dogs and John I'm Only Dancing.

Friday September 6
Saturday September 7
Sunday September 8

Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles

Following the final Amphitheatre concert, Bowie headed across town to a party for Al Green, hosted by Tito Jackson and his wife Dee Dee at their Los Angeles home. The Jackson 5 had invited Bowie after attending his concerts.

Bowie (2003): Michael spent much of the evening asking me about the production and how we built the city and where the ideas came from for all the different visuals.

The two talked about the choreography for the song Aladdin Sane.

Bowie (2003): I was taught a 'backwards walk' by Toni Basil who choreographed The Lockers, one of the first black street-dance troupes. It was basically the Marcel Marceau walk but propelled backwards. It didn't have a name at that time, of course. She'd devised it with them and taught it to me for the Diamond Dogs show.* It's entirely possible that he copped the walk fourth hand, so to speak. I believe the nature of the show made a big impression on him.

A report in Rock'n'Soul Songs magazine report suggested the opposite:

As the guests enjoyed the cake and the champagne, both Green and Michael Jackson were seen on the dancefloor teaching rock superstar David Bowie how to do The Robot with members of the Soul Train gang joining in.

Wednesday September 11

Sports Arena, San Diego

Friday September 13

Community Center Arena, Tucson

Knock On Wood (Floyd-Cropper) 3:08
Panic In Detroit 5:51

live single released in UK
RCA 2466 • Chart peak 10

Rock 'N' Roll With Me (Bowie-Peace) 4:17
Panic In Detroit 5:52

live single released in US
RCA PB 10105

Saturday September 14

Arizona Coliseum, Phoenix

Monday September 16

Convention Center, Anaheim

The BBC crew filmed Elizabeth Taylor arriving at Anaheim with her companion Henry Wynberg. Taylor later visited the dressing room, where she and Bowie reportedly hit it off instantly.

Tuesday September 17 –
Monday September 30

Tour rehearsals in Los Angeles

Seven dates were cancelled, creating a 17-day break until St Paul on October 5. Bowie used the time to reshape and rehearse the new show – a stripped-down soul revue with a plain backdrop, to move the focus from the theatrics to the music.

Emir Ksasan (Carlos Alomar's bandmate from Main Ingredient) replaced Doug Rauch on bass. Dennis Davis replaced Greg Errico on drums.

Friday September 20

Ricci Martin's birthday party

The party for Ricci's 21st birthday was at his father Dean Martin's house on Mountain Drive, Beverly Hills (coincidentally pointed out to tourists by a Hollywood tour guide in Cracked Actor). When Bowie found Elizabeth Taylor chatting with John Lennon and May Pang, she introduced him to them.

Bowie (1999): John was sort of, Oh here comes another new one. And I was sort of, It's John Lennon! I don't know what to say. Don't mention the Beatles – you'll look really stupid. And he said, "Hello, Dave." And I said, "I've got everything you've made – except the Beatles."

Saturday September 28

People magazine photo session with Elizabeth Taylor
George Cukor's house, Bel Air
Photographer: Terry O'Neill

O'Neill arranged the session at Cukor's home, where Elizabeth Taylor was staying at the time. Cukor would be directing her the following year in The Blue Bird and a photo session was to accompany the announcement that Bowie had agreed to co-star with her in the film.

Bowie (1975): I never said that … Elizabeth Taylor did. It was her idea for me to be doing the film. I read the script though and it was very dry. I mean she was a nice woman and all, even if I didn't get much of chance to get to know her. She did tell me I reminded her of James Dean - that endeared me to her - but her script was so ... boring. My own films are more important anyway.”

Cameron Crowe, Rolling Stone, February 12, 1976



"The set's being redesigned," Tony Zanetta told Rolling Stone. "We want to use the essential elements of it, so we will be carrying the four towers with us and will keep the lighting in those towers, but we won't be using the bridge or any of the special effects. Basically, it'll be a much simpler thing. Originally, we were going to use this one for the whole tour, but once the first half finished and David started working on his new material, he felt that he would rather have something a little different, that he wanted to do something that was closer to the new material. What we did with this show was we created a really theatrical environment for him to work in. Which was interesting. Now, not so much because he's tired of that or sick of that, but because his music is changing and going in a slightly different direction, and because he wants to use more people, like lead vocalists, onstage. He's just interested in a different visual presentation."

Saturday October 5

Civic Center, St Paul

Tuesday October 8

Convention Center, Indianapolis

Friday October 11

Dane County Coliseum, Madison

Sunday October 13

Mecca Arena, Milwaukee

Saturday October 12 – Tuesday October 15

Ziggy Stardust film soundtrack overdubs
Star Studio, 37th and National Avenue, Milwaukee

Bowie, Mike Garson and Earl Slick overdubbed some piano and guitar parts for DA Pennebaker's film – then known as Bowie '73 With The Spiders From Mars – which was to be broadcast on American television with a stereo simulcast on FM radio.

Tuesday October 15 – Sunday October 20

Michigan Palace, Detroit

• review by Lester Bangs

Wednesday October 16

David Live television commercial
Channel 9 (CKLW-TV), Windsor, Ontario

The David Live commercial cost MainMan $5000 instead of $30,000, which a New York production house would have charged.

Tuesday October 22
Wednesday October 23

Arie Crown Theatre, Chicago

Friday October 25

Bowie '73 With The Spiders From Mars
simulcast on Wide World: In Concert (ABC)

Monday October 28

Radio City Music Hall, New York

Onstage with Earl Slick

Tuesday October 29

David Live

album released

US: RCA CPL2-0771 • chart peak 8
UK: RCA APL2-0771 • chart peak 2

Side one
1984 3:21
Rebel Rebel 2:42
Moonage Daydream 5:10
Sweet Thing 8:48

Side two
Changes 3:36
Suffragette City 3:46
Aladdin Sane 4:58
All The Young Dudes 4:19
Cracked Actor 3:29

Side three
Rock 'N' Roll With Me 4:19
Watch That Man 4:23
Knock On Wood 3:08
Diamond Dogs 6:34

Side four
Big Brother 4:11
The Width Of A Circle 8:14
The Jean Genie 5:19
Rock 'N' Roll Suicide 4:49

Wednesday October 30

Radio City Music Hall, New York

John Rockwell, New York Times: He has now dropped most of the overt theatrics, written a clutch of new songs and retooled his whole show. The result, on Wednesday, was disappointing. Mr. Bowie's theatrics last summer may have had their problems – shapelessness, erratic pacing, pretension. But, at least there were some striking moments, and everything snapped along crisply, both dramatically and musically. On Wednesday, the proceedings led off with a lame half-hour by Mr. Bowie's band and mostly black back-up singers. When the star finally appeared, he seemed to be attempting to humanize his previous space-mutant image. But he looked self-consciously uncomfortable without routines to act out, and he was in hoarse voice indeed. The old songs were mostly unsuccessful, mannered and erratically distorted in phrasing. The four new songs appeared to be attempts at something a bit more conventional and direct, although the sound system and Mr. Bowie's vocal state made a real judgment of them impossible.

With David Johansen at Max's Kansas City Halloween party Photograph © Bob Gruen

Thursday October 31

Radio City Music Hall, New York



Changes 2:32 Andy Warhol 3:03

single reissued in US
RCA 74-0605 • chart peak 41

Friday November 1

Radio City Music Hall, New York

Saturday November 2

Radio City Music Hall, New York

The Dick Cavett Show

Young Americans
Footstomping / I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate medley
Can You Hear Me*

Bowie (1994): [The interview] was horrendous. I had no idea where I was, I couldn't hear the questions. To this day, I don't know if I bothered answering them, I was so out of my gourd.

Sunday November 3

Radio City Music Hall, New York

In the wake of scathing reviews of Wednesday's opening night, Bowie played a show that Mick Farren had nothing but praise for.

Mick Farren: All reports seemed to agree that the first early stagings in the five-night stint were on the abject side of rotten. On the Sunday night, however, Bowie finally pulled it together and staged one of the finest live rock spectaculars that New York has been treated to in years. The phenomenon of David Bowie fronting what amounts to an avant-garde soul show is a strange thing to watch. It's also a joy.

At the aftershow party at the Gramercy Park Hotel, Bowie entertained David Johansen, Tony Visconti, Wayne County and others.

With David Johansen at Gramercy Park Hotel
Photograph © Joe Stevens

With Ava Cherry (left) and Tony Visconti (right)
Photograph © Joe Stevens

Wednesday November 6

Public Hall, Cleveland

Friday November 8

War Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo

Monday November 11

Capital Center, Landover

Thursday November 14
Friday November 15
Saturday November 16

Music Hall, Boston

Monday November 18

Spectrum Theater, Philadelphia

After the immediate sell-out of the 16,000-seat Spectrum, a second night was booked for the 25th. The concert was plagued by sound problems, which only increased the audience's hostility to The Garson Band who opened the show with an eight-song set.

Meanwhile in New York, Tony Ingrassia's play Fame (a comedy based on Marilyn Monroe's life) opened at the Golden Theatre on Broadway – and closed after one night – a resounding critical and financial failure that left MainMan $250,000 in the hole.

Tuesday November 19

Civic Arena, Pittsburgh

Wednesday November 20 – Sunday November 24

Young Americans recording session
Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia
Producers: Tony Visconti, Harry Maslin

John I'm Only Dancing (Again)
Can You Hear Me [version 2]
After Today [version 1, slow tempo]
It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City

Bowie booked more time at Sigma to rework some of the songs with the Soul Tour line-up. Luther Vandross had been performing his song Funky Music (Is A Part Of Me) as part of The Garson Band's opening set. Bowie took the song and reworked it with new lyrics as the co-written Fascination.

Sunday November 24

Bowie was working on a cover of Bruce Springsteen's It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City which he had started in late 1973, and hoped to get Springsteen involved. Earlier in the week, Tony Visconti called Philadelphia DJ Ed Sciaky at WMMR and asked him if he could get Springsteen into the studio. Sciaky got in contact with Springsteen who caught a bus from New Jersey to Philadelphia, where Ed and Judy Sciaky found him "hanging with the bums in the station.” At midnight he arrived at Sigma.

The episode was reported the next day: Bowie meets Springsteen, The Drummer

Bowie (1997): Springsteen came down to hear what we were doing with his stuff. He was very shy. I remember sitting in the corridor with him, talking about his lifestyle, which was a very Dylanesque – you know, moving from town to town with a guitar on his back, all that kind of thing. Anyway, he didn't like what we were doing, I remember that. At least, he didn't express much enthusiasm. I guess he must have thought it was all kind of odd. I was in another universe at the time. I've got this extraordinarily strange photograph of us all – I look like I'm made out of wax.

Mike Garson, Bruce Springsteen, Tony Visconti and Bowie
in the control room at Sigma Sound

Ed Sciaky (2002): He'd sing three lines, then have the engineer play them back, keeping the first line every time. It was spectacular, watching him work like a painter, hitting every line the way he wanted.

Around 7am Bowie asked engineer Carl Paruolo to play back the whole track twice from start to finish. After the second listen, he nodded and said, "That's it. It's done." Outside, the Sigma Kids started applauding and calling up at the studio windows. The new album, at that stage titled Fascination, was complete, with seven tracks:

John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)
Young Americans
It's Gonna Be Me
Can You Hear Me

Monday November 25

Spectrum Theater, Philadelphia

The previous Monday's concert were criticised for its poor sound, so Visconti conducted a more thorough soundcheck to ensure a better show.

• Report in Disc magazine

After the concert Bowie celebrated the completion of Young Americans with a private party at Le Club Artemis.

Patti Brett (1999): The bars close at 2am and it was a quarter after three and we were still in the bar. It was a private party, but the police raided it and started taking David away! He was very calm. Everyone else in the bar was freaking out.

Photograph © Joe Stevens

Wednesday November 27

George Harrison at Mid South Auditorium, Memphis

The night before Bowie played the same venue, he watched Willie Weeks and Andy Newmark playing in George Harrison's band and visited backstage. An witness later observed that Bowie and Harrison “didn't hit it off that well".

Thursday November 28

Mid South Auditorium, Memphis

Saturday November 30

Municipal Auditorium, Nashville



On Tour With Bowie by Leee Black Childers published in Hit Parader

Sunday December 1

The Omni, Atlanta

The only performance of Win on the tour

Tuesday December 3

Young Americans recording session
Record Plant, New York
Producer: Tony Visconti

Engineer: Harry Maslin
Tape operators: Kevin Herron, David Thoener

Somebody Up There Likes Me

Tony Visconti began mixing the album and adding overdubs. During this time Bowie ran into John Lennon who was also at Record Plant, finishing the mixes on his album Rock 'n' Roll. Bowie invited him over and later called Visconti at the studio. “John Lennon's coming to my suite at the hotel tonight and it would be great if you could be there to buffer the meeting between us.” After that Bowie saw Lennon more often, and turned to him for advice regarding DeFries.

Thursday December 5

Bowie's appearance on The Dick Cavett Show broadcast (ABC)

Mid December

Young Americans sessions now considered complete, Visconti took the master tapes and flew to London, where he added string arrangements to Can You Hear Me and Who Can I Be Now? at George Martin's Air Studios.

He mixed the album at Good Earth Sound House, consulting the 18-page telegram of mixing suggestions Bowie sent from New York.

The album's track list at this stage:

Side one
John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)
Somebody Up There Likes Me
It's Gonna Be Me

Side two
Who Can I Be Now?
Can You Hear Me
Young Americans

Late December

Young Americans
Record Plant, New York
Producers: David Bowie and Harry Maslin

Engineer: Harry Maslin
Tape operators: Kevin Herron, David Thoener

Bowie and Harry Maslin added more overdubs and remixed all the tracks except Young Americans – Visconti had already mixed and delivered it to RCA to release as the new single.

Monday December 23

Bowie moved to the slightly less expensive Pierre Hotel where he kept two suites (at $700 a week) – one for living in, the other a studio, where he immersed himself in making films.

Bowie (1980): I recreated the set for Diamond Dogs – this was in the Pierre Hotel in New York – and I built three or four-foot high buildings out of clay on tables. Some were standing up, others were crumbling and I took the camera and put a micro-lens on it, zooming down the streets in between the tables. I tried animation out and had all these characters; the whole thing is so bizarre I'm going to put together and put it out as a cassette. And as it's silent – there's a few bits of strange music on it but nothing much else; mainly I used the Diamond Dogs album as a backing track… I had the whole roller skating thing in there. We had no more cars because of the fuel problems and these characters with enormous, rusty, sort of organic-looking roller skates with squeaking wheels that they couldn't handle very well. Also I had groups of these cyborg people wandering around looking so punky it's going to be a lovely tape to put out.



Bowie Golden Years v1.0 created and designed by Roger Griffin 2000
Bowie Golden Years v2.0 2017-2020

Photographs and texts have been credited wherever possible

this page updated June 19, 2023