Low (David Bowie album)

1977 studio album by David Bowie / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Low is the eleventh studio album by the English musician David Bowie, released on 14 January 1977 through RCA Records. The first of three collaborations with producer Tony Visconti and musician Brian Eno that became known as the Berlin Trilogy, the project originated following Bowie's move to France in 1976 with his friend Iggy Pop to rid themselves of their drug addictions. There, Bowie produced and co-wrote Pop's debut studio album, The Idiot, featuring sounds the former would explore on his next record. After completing The Idiot, sessions for Low began at Hérouville's Château d'Hérouville in September 1976 and ended in October at Hansa Studios in West Berlin, where Bowie and Pop had relocated.

Quick facts: Low, Studio album by David Bowie, Released, R...
A man with orange hair in profile looking to the right against an orange backdrop, with the words "David Bowie" and "Low" above him
Studio album by
Released14 January 1977 (1977-01-14)
RecordedSeptember–October 1976[lower-alpha 1]
StudioChâteau d'Hérouville (Hérouville); Hansa (West Berlin)
David Bowie chronology
Singles from Low
  1. "Sound and Vision" / "A New Career in a New Town"
    Released: 11 February 1977
  2. "Be My Wife" / "Speed of Life"
    Released: 17 June 1977
  3. "Breaking Glass" / "Art Decade"
    Released: November 1978 (Australia and New Zealand only)

Grounded in art rock and experimental rock and influenced by German bands such as Tangerine Dream, Neu!, Harmonia and Kraftwerk, Low features Bowie's first explorations in electronic and ambient styles. Side one consists primarily of short, direct avant-pop song-fragments, with mostly downbeat lyrics reflecting Bowie's state of mind, and side two comprises longer, mostly instrumental tracks, conveying musical observations of Berlin. Visconti created the distinctive drum sound using an Eventide H910 Harmonizer, a pitch-shifting device. The cover artwork, a profile of Bowie from the film The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), was intended as a visual pun, meaning "low profile".

RCA refused to issue Low for three months, fearing it would be a commercial failure. Upon release, it divided critical opinion and received little promotion from RCA or Bowie, who opted to tour as Pop's keyboardist. Nevertheless, it reached number 2 in the UK and number 11 in the US. Two singles were released: "Sound and Vision", a UK top five, and "Be My Wife". The success prompted RCA to release The Idiot in March 1977. In mid-1977, Bowie played on Pop's follow-up album Lust for Life before recording his album "Heroes", which expanded on Low's musical approach and features a similar mix of songs and instrumentals.

In later decades, critics have rated Low one of Bowie's best works, and it has appeared on several lists of the greatest albums of all time. It influenced numerous post-punk bands such as Joy Division, and its drum sound has been widely imitated. A forerunner in the development of the post-rock genre of the 1990s, Low has been reissued several times and was remastered in 2017 as part of the A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982) box set.