Bowie, Sclaky, and Springsteen at Sigma Sound Studio. August 1974.
“Bowie, a fan of rocker Bruce Springsteen, had recorded a Springsteen song, but the night they met at Sigma Sound, Bowie was too shy to play it for him. Springsteen thought Bowie ‘was some weird space guy.’”
On this day in music history: February 17, 1979 - “Bustin’ Loose Pt. 1” by Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, also peaking at #34 on the Hot 100 on April 7, 1979. Written by Chuck Brown, it is the biggest hit for the Washington DC based soul band. Pioneers in the sub genre of soul music known as “Go-go”, "Bustin’ Loose is originally written in 1976. Brown & The Soul Searchers make the song a part of their live act becoming a fan favorite. After nearly two years of playing the song to rapturous response, Brown finally decides to record it when they are signed to MCA subsidiary Source Records in 1978. Brown and the band record “Bustin’ Loose” at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, PA. Released in the Fall of 1978, “Bustin’ Loose” is an immediate hit on black radio, garnering such heavy radio and club play that it crosses over, breaching the top 40 on the Hot 100. “Bustin’ Loose” is later adopted by the Washington Nationals baseball team as an anthem, and is sampled as the basis of rapper Nelly’s number one pop and R&B single “Hot In Herre” in 2002. Though Brown scores one more significant hit with the single “We Need Some Money” in 1984, he remain active as a live performer, drawing enthusiastic crowds and touring the world until months before his death in May of 2012. “Bustin’ Loose Pt. 1” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 8, 1980 - “Remain In Light”, the fourth album by Talking Heads is released. Produced by Brian Eno, it is recorded at Compass Point Studios in The Bahamas and Sigma Sound Studios in New York City from July - August 1980. The bands third and final collaboration with producer Brian Eno, many of the albums songs are inspired by experiments with African poly rhythms and recording the basic tracks in pieces then looping and editing the final results. The band also bring in outside musicians such as King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew and singer Nona Hendryx. The final product is a genre defying and innovative work that receives great praise from fans and critics alike. The albums distinctive cover artwork, features photos of the four band members with red computer rendered masks obscuring their faces (except for their eyes, noses, and mouths). The design is created by drummer Chris Frantz and bassist Tina Weymouth in cooperation with Walter Bender from MIT (Massachusetts Institute Of Technology). The process involved in creating the computer generated rendering, are very arduous and time consuming, due to the limited amount of computer memory available. It spins off two singles including the classic “Once In A Lifetime” (#103 Pop). In 2006, the album is remastered and reissued with four unfinished outtakes from the original recording sessions in 2006. The same year, it is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Rhino Records. “Remain In Light” peaks at number nineteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: March 7, 1975 - “Young Americans”, the ninth studio album by David Bowie is released. Produced by David Bowie, Harry Maslin and Tony Visconti, it is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, PA and Electric Lady Studios in New York City from August - November 1974 and January 1975. Heavily influenced by soul music and looking to break with his musical past, Bowie works with top studio musicians including Willie Weeks (bass), Ralph MacDonald (percussion), Dennis Davis (drums), and a then largely unknown young singer named Luther Vandross. Vandross, who has been friends with Bowie’s guitarist Carlos Alomar and his wife, singer Robin Clark since high school, visits the studio one day during the sessions at Alomar’s invitation. Bowie walks into the control room and overhears Vandross and Clark improvising vocals over the top of the track to “Young Americans”. Highly impressed, Bowie hires Vandross on the spot to sing and arrange background vocals on the album, as well as contributes the song “Fascination” (originally titled “Funky Music (Is A Part Of Me”) ). It spins off three singles including “Fame” (co-written w/ John Lennon and Alomar) (#1 Pop) and the title track (#28 Pop). “Young Americans” peaks at number nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
Sigma Sound Studios is one of the most iconic recording studios of all time. In the history of the music business so much legendary music had been made there. This video preview seeks to display the historical relevance of this location as it is now closed down for good.