Off The Record: David Bowie
Apr 26, 2021
Bonus Episode: Bowie's Guitarist Carlos Alomar on Recording 'Young Americans' and the Berlin Trilogy, Co-Writing 'Fame' and Funking Up David's Music for 30 Years
We’re taking a brief break from the story this week. (We’ll be back with our final chapter on David Bowie on Monday, May 3rd!) But today we have something very special in store: a conversation with Carlos Alomar — a funk guitar icon, and one of David’s most crucial musical collaborators. He cut his teeth in the late ‘60s as one of the youngest players ever in the Apollo Theater’s house band, leading to stints backing James Brown, Chuck Berry and Wilson Pickett, all while still in his teens.
Carlos’ influence helped inspire David to take his famous trip to Philadelphia in 1974 to record the soul-steeped ‘Young Americans’ record. To get the sound, David tapped Carlos, who in turn assembled a group of top shelf funk musicians that included his wife, vocalist Robin Clark, and an old schoolfriend named Luther Vandross. So began a musical partnership that would last almost thirty years. Carlos played on 11 of David’s albums, including classics like ’Station to Station,’ ‘the Berlin Trilogy, and ‘Scary Monster (and Super Creeps),’ and cowrote his first American number one, “Fame.” More importantly, he was a loyal friend throughout his life.
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