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David Bowie ~ Young Americans 1975 Funky Purrfection Version

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The title track of his gold selling LP of 1975 was a departure from Bowie's repertoire, delving into black soul music and the Sound Of Philadelphia. He began recording the tunes in Philadelphia and polished the sound in NYC with help from Luther Vandross and and John Lennon. Bowie described his new sound as "plastic soul" which he defined as "the squashed remains of ethnic music as it survives in the age of Muzak rock, written and sung by a white limey". Bowie had nothing to hide and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, and he was self effacing to boot, "white limey" indeed. It still makes me giggle. "Young Americans" took two days to record a the famed Sigma Studios (MFSB, Lou Rawls, Three Degrees, etc) with jazz legend David Sanborn providing the distinctive saxophone heard througout the song. Apparently, the song is an examination of a newly wed couple learning to be married. Did you know that Bowie wanted Norman Rockwell to design the album cover? When he found out it would take at least six months to complete, he declined and had photographer Eric Stephen Jacobs do the job. He had seen Jacobs work for his choreographer, Toni Basil in After Dark magazine and scheduled time to complete the task. While the LP was loved by his fans and a legion of newcomers, critics were not kind, especially Robert Christgau. The LP was considered an interesting transitional recording and praised Bowie for creating a new sound within the disco parameters. All that being said, "Young Americans" placed 175 out of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time on the NME website. For me, it was a pleasant distraction from the travails of being a teenager in high school trying to find his place in the world. His music still resonates deeply with me, the various changes he went through and helped me to understand that it is all a show, and what really matters is that you are true to yourself. "We can be heroes...." and Bowie is mine, although he probably would have gracious to know that, would never have let it go to his head. But he certainly knew how to get into mine. I miss him terribly. I hope you enjoy this deconstruction of his song, hearing how the different elements combined to make this song so vibrant.

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