Young Americans: New Musical Express' #175 of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time

Young Americans
Studio album: David Bowie
Released: March 7, 1975
Recorded: August 1974 – January 1975
Genres: Blue-eyed soul, R&B,
Philadelphia, soul, funk, rock

In 2013, New Musical Express (NME) ranked Young Americans number 175 in its list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The album was number 333 in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. 
Bowie's ninth studio album and the first in three years without his Ziggy Stardust personae, it marked a departure from glam rock. Bowie labeled the album's new sound "plastic soul;" his attempt at R & B.

Carlos Alomar


At the end of the first leg of his American Diamond Dogs shows in 1974, Bowie recorded some tracks at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia with various musicians, including Carlos Alomar and then-unknown singer Luther Vandross. The Young Americans LP was Alomar's first appearance on a Bowie album. Alomar joined Bowie for the second leg when the tour resumed. The setlist and design changed into the "The Soul/Philly Dogs Tour." 


John Lennon 
I thought I'd better make a hit album 
to cement myself so I went and did it.
David Bowie interview with Melody Maker, 1976

While in the US Bowie became friends with former Beatle John Lennon. When the tour finished in January 1975, Bowie and Lennon recorded "Across the Universe" at Electric Lady Studios in New York City.  During the session an impromptu collaboration between Bowie, Lennon, and Alomar - based on a guitar riff Alomar used for the song "Foot Stompin'" during the Philly Dogs shows -  resulted in "Fame." All three artists shared  song-writing credits. It gave Bowie his first US Number One single. 


Luther Vandross

David Bowie performs with Luther Vandross
on the Dick Cavett Show on Dec. 4, 1974

"Fascination" was written by Bowie and Luther Vandross. The song originated from the Vandross' tune "Funky Music."  The Mike Garson Band played it before Bowie concerts in 1974.


David Sanborn

David Sanborn, Earl Slick, Carlos Alomar and
Pablo Rosario on the Dick Cavett Show in December 1974

The American jazz saxophonist David Sanborn played on the track "Win." Bowie told the Mail on Sunday June 29, 2008:

"He was experimenting with sound effects at the time and I'd rather hoped he would push further into that area, but he chose to become rich and famous instead. So he did win really, didn't he?" 

Sanborn, a highly regarded session player since the late 1960s, played sax on "I Can't Tell You Why" by the Eagles and "Under Pressure" by Queen with David Bowie.

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