THE FIRST TIME WITH... TONY VISCONTI (320kbs-m4a/134mb/58mins)
BBC Radio 6 Music broadcast: 17th February 2019
As part of 6 Music Loves Berlin weekend, Matt Everitt chats to acclaimed producer Tony Visconti about working with David Bowie on the Berlin album trilogy, plus other fascinating key musical moments from his life.
It’s hard to underestimate Visconti’s impact on the evolution of ground-breaking music, having worked his sonic magic on not only Bowie’s records but for artists as diverse as T Rex, Badfinger, Iggy Pop, Thin Lizzie, Rick Wakeman, The Boomtown Rats, Adam Ant, Ralph McTell, The Moody Blues, Sparks, Morrissey, Kaiser Chiefs, The Good, The Bad & The Queen (and many, many more).
In this candid chat, Visconti reveals – with the help of many a colourful anecdote - his musical upbringing in New York, his first band (and its terrible name), what drew him to producing, and how that career grew and grew. And hasn’t stopped – including reuniting with Bowie for his final two albums, The Next Day and Blackstar.
Listen out for tales of a mischievous Mick Jagger trying to sabotage Bowie’s recording of The Lodger – the third in the Berlin trilogy. Plus Visconti transports us to the earlier scenes of creating Low and Heroes in the German city, revealing some of the secrets of how he and Bowie recorded those records, such as the singer’s very last-minute approach to writing lyrics.
Other insights include Visconti’s unusually friendly working relationship with Morrissey (despite reaching an impasse about meat eating). Also find out about Marc Bolan’s unusual music-making techniques on a budget (it involves pliers), and what Visconti thinks about Nirvana’s cover of The Man Who Sold the World.
And, of course, the super-producer reveals what it was like working on Bowie’s final two albums – and how the latter, Blackstar, nearly became a full-on jazz record.
T. Rex - Get It On [Premier]
David Bowie - Ashes To Ashes [EMI]
Spike Jones - Little Bo Peep Has Lost Her Jeep
Little Richard - Lucille [Specialty]
Manfred Mann - So Long Dad [Mercury]
Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade Of Pale [Esoteric Recordings]
The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows [Parlophone]
T. Rex - Jeepster [Telstar]
T. Rex - Ride A White Swan [Telstar]
David Bowie - Please Mr. Gravedigger
David Bowie - Let Me Sleep Beside You
David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World [EMI]
David Bowie - Saviour Machine [Mercury]
Wendy Carlos - Timesteps [Warner Bros.]
Nirvana - The Man Who Sold The World [Geffen]
David Bowie - Always Crashing In The Same Car [EMI]
David Bowie - Sound And Vision [EMI]
David Bowie - Speed Of Life [EMI]
David Bowie - Be My Wife [Sony Music]
David Bowie - Art Decade [RCA]
David Bowie - Joe The Lion
David Bowie - Boys Keep Swinging [EMI]
David Bowie - Look Back In Anger [RCA Victor]
Thin Lizzy - Dancing In The Moonlight (It's Caught Me In Its Spotlight) [Vertigo]
Morrissey - I Will See You In Far-Off Places [Universal]
David Bowie - Where Are We Now? [Columbia]
David Bowie - The Stars (Are Out Tonight) [RCA]
David Bowie - Dollar Days [Columbia]
David Bowie - Blackstar [Columbia]
David Bowie - I Can't Give Everything Away