David Bowie Had A Unique Studio Moment With Iggy Pop And His Wife, Producer Tony Visconti Recalls
During a recent conversation on BBC Radio 6, record producer Tony Visconti recalled working with David Bowie, particularly recording his 1977 album, ‘Low.’ Apparently, Bowie was in the studio with his close friend Iggy Pop and his wife when the song ‘Weeping Wall’ was completed, and something interesting happened.
Although Tony Visconti has worked with numerous musicians over the years, his lengthiest involvement was with David Bowie from the production and arrangement of Bowie’s 1968 single ‘In the Heat of the Morning / London Bye Ta-Ta’ to the release of ‘Blackstar‘ in 2016. He even occasionally performed on many of Bowie’s albums and produced them.
One of the albums the duo worked on was the eleventh studio album of David Bowie called ‘Low,’ which was released on January 14, 1977. After years of struggling with substance addiction while living in Los Angeles, the musician moved to France in 1976 with his friend Iggy Pop to sober up.
After Bowie produced and co-wrote Pop’s debut studio album, ‘The Idiot,’ he began recording the first of three collaborations that became known as the Berlin Trilogy with Tony Visconti. One of the final tracks =created for ‘Low’ was ‘Weeping Wall,’ which is an instrumental piece.
Although Bowie has described the track as intending to evoke the misery of the Berlin Wall, the musician wanted to know how his friends felt about the song. As recently revealed by Visconti, the musician was with Iggy Pop and his wife when the track was completed which gave him an idea.
Bowie wanted everybody to take a piece of paper on which they were asked to draw a picture of what ‘Weeping Wall’ is about as they listened to the song. Visconti was confident he didn’t look at anyone else’s sketches, and no one looked at him, but the results came out as if they had.
Apparently, everybody, including David Bowie, drew similar pictures, which gave goosebumps to Visconti. They all drew a set of jagged teeth, almost biting the moon or the sun, while Bowie himself drew a lizard with his mouth open, eating the sun.
Recalling the day ‘Weeping Wall’ was completed, Visconti said:
“David said, ‘I want all of you to take a piece of paper and a pencil, and we’re going to listen to ‘Weeping Wall.’ I want you to draw a picture of what you think the song is about.’ So we played ‘Weeping Wall’ through, and all of us got to work scribbling.
When it was over he said, ‘OK, turn the papers over,’ and we all had almost identical drawings. This was really weird. All of us had a jagged-edged wall like the edges of a woodcutting saw. It wasn’t a wall with flat tops; it was a wall with jagged tops.”
“Some of us put a moon over the jagged teeth, and some of us put a sun over it, like a circle, but almost unanimously, we drew the same picture. And David turned his over, and it was a picture of a lizard, like an alligator, with his mouth open, eating the sun, an orb, and it was all goosebumps from that moment on.
Even David was surprised, but he was hoping that would happen. And I think in his smile he found that he might have some special mental powers that instigated it, this so-called coincidence.”
You can listen to ‘Weeping Wall’ below.