RCD 10143 "Heroes"
Produced by Bowie and Visconti
Released on October 1977
UK CHART POSITION #3 (RE-CHART #75 in 1983) . . . US CHART POSITION #35
Find it at GEMM
RCD 10143 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

I remember buying this album as a young teenager on a school field trip to Hartford, CT (yeah, it was a long day) and clutching it in my bony arms like a shield. Such was the power of Bowie to a young mind, an icon to ward off the mediocrity of contemporary music. Today, some of the power has been sapped from the black vinyl’s inscrutable inkiness, yet it still remains a remarkably vital record. The second in David Bowie’s Teutonic trilogy, Heroes does provide a stylistic link between Low’s sleepy moods and Lodger’s charred landscape. The standout track is of course “Heroes,” a beacon for doomed lovers everywhere. In Bowie’s hands, even an ephemeral state of grace promises renewal through remembrance. The second single, “Beauty And The Beast,” is nearly as winning, a twisted vision of love glimpsed through a grimy urban lens complete with guitars that cut like a razor. Like Low, nearly half of the album is instrumental, showing little in the way of evolution over his earlier constructs with Eno. “Moss Garden” is eerily luminescent (think of Plateaux of Mirror with Oriental overtones), “Neukoln” and “Sense of Doubt” just plain eerie. References to Roxy Music appear in Bowie’s squawking saxophone (notably on “Sons of the Silent Age”), while “The Secret Life of Arabia” anticipates the Eastern stride of Lodger’s “Yassassin.” In between are some fine rockers like “Joe The Lion” (appearing in a nearly identical remix on the expanded CD reissue) and the relentless “Blackout.” Honestly, Low’s stammering giddiness is missed, but Heroes still hits higher highs than Lodger. If I don’t rate this among Bowie’s most enduring efforts, bear in mind that any David Bowie album from this period should be deemed essential. After all, we could all use a little extra protection.

AYL1-3857 front cover AYL1-3857 back cover
AYL1-3857 front cover AYL1-3857 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST    (David Bowie)    3:32
  2. JOE THE LION    (David Bowie)    3:05
  3. "HEROES"    (Lyrics by David Bowie, Music by David Bowie/Eno)    6:07
  4. SONS OF THE SILENT AGE    (David Bowie)    3:15
  5. BLACKOUT    (David Bowie)    3:50
  6. V-2 SCHNEIDER    (David Bowie)    3:10
  7. SENSE OF DOUBT    (David Bowie)    3:57
  8. MOSS GARDEN    (David Bowie/Eno)    5:03
  9. NEUKOLN    (David Bowie/Eno)    4:34
  10. THE SECRET LIFE OF ARABIA    (Lyrics by David Bowie/Music by David Bowie/Eno/Carlos Alomar)    3:46

    CD bonus tracks
  11. ABDULMAJID    (David Bowie/Brian Eno)    3:40
  12. JOE THE LION (REMIXED VERSION, 1991)    (David Bowie)    5:18

CREDITS

DAVID BOWIE -- vocals, keyboards, guitar, saxophone, koto, background vocals, mixing (11)
CARLOS ALOMAR -- rhythm guitar
DENNIS DAVIS -- percussion
ENO -- synthesizers, keyboards, guitar treatments
ROBERT FRIPP -- lead guitar
GEORGE MURRAY -- electric bass
Antonia Maass -- background vocals
Tony Visconti -- engineer, background vocals
Colin Thurston -- engineer
David Richards -- mixing (11,12)
Sukita -- cover photograph

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
WW October 1977 RCA LP PL-12522 lyric insert
US/CAN October 1977 RCA LP/CS/8T AFL1/AFK1/AFS1-2522 lyric sleeve
US/CAN 1980 RCA LP/CS AYL1/AYK1-3857  
NET/SPA 1980 RCA LP NL/NK13857  
JPN 1982 RCA LP RPL-2106 lyric insert
UK 1983 RCA Int'l LP/CS INTS/INTK 5066 picture sleeve
GER 1983 RCA LP NL 83857  
GER 1985 RCA CD PD 83857  
US   RCA CD PCD1-2522  
US 1991 Rykodisc CDX/CSX RCD1/RACS 0143 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
NET 1991 EMI CDX CDP 7977202 w. bonus tracks
JPN 1996 EMI CD TOCP-8873 w. bonus tracks
WW 1999 EMI CD 21908 24-bit digital remaster
JPN   EMI CD TOCP-65315 24-bit digital remaster

 

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