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"Sound and Vision" is a song and single by David Bowie which appeared on his 1977 album Low. The song is notable for juxtaposing an uplifting guitar and synthesizer-led instrumental track with Bowie’s withdrawn lyrics. In keeping with the minimalist approach of Low, Bowie and co-producer Tony Visconti originally recorded the track as an instrumental, bar the backing vocal (performed by Visconti’s wife, Mary Hopkin). Bowie then recorded his vocal after the rest of the band had left the studio, before trimming verses off the lyrics and leaving a relatively lengthy instrumental intro on the finished song.

"Sound and Vision"
Bowie SoundAndVision.jpg
Single by David Bowie
from the album Low
B-side"A New Career in a New Town"
Released11 February 1977
Format7-inch single
RecordedSeptember–November 1976
StudioChâteau d'Hérouville (Hérouville, France)
LabelRCA Records
Songwriter(s)David Bowie
David Bowie singles chronology
"Suffragette City"
"Sound and Vision"
"Be My Wife"

Selected as the first single from the album, "Sound and Vision" was used by the BBC on trailers at the time. This provided considerable exposure, much needed as Bowie opted to do nothing to promote the single himself, and helped the song to No. 3. The song was also a top ten hit in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. However, it stalled at No. 87 in Canada[1] and only managed No. 69 in the United States, where it signaled the end of Bowie's short commercial honeymoon until "Let's Dance" in 1983.

The first live performance of the song was at Earl’s Court during the Isolar II Tour on 1 July 1978.[2] In 1990, it was a regular number for Bowie’s greatest hits Sound+Vision Tour. The name was also used for a Rykodisc boxed set anthology in 1989.

Track listingEdit

Original 7" single
  1. "Sound and Vision" (Bowie)  – 3:00
  2. "A New Career in a New Town" (Bowie) – 2:50
David Bowie vs 808 State (1991)
  1. "Sound + Vision (808 Gift mix)" - 3:58
  2. "Sound + Vision (808 'lectric Blue remix instrumental)" - 4:08
  3. "Sound + Vision (David Richards remix 1991)" - 4:40
  4. "Sound + Vision (Original version)" - 3:03
David Bowie vs 808 State — Sound And Vision Remix EP (2010)
  1. "Sound + Vision (808 Gift mix)" - 3:58
  2. "Sound + Vision (808 'lectric Blue remix instrumental)" - 4:08
  3. "Sound + Vision (David Richards remix 1991)" - 4:40
  4. "Sound + Vision (Original version)" - 3:03
  • This 2010 release is a digital download only
David Bowie — Sound And Vision (2013)
  1. "Sound + Vision 2013" - 1:50
  2. "Sound + Vision (Remastered)" - 3:04
  • Digital download and in 2017 available as a vinyl single



Chart (1977) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart 15
Belgian Singles Chart 3
Canadian Singles Chart 87
German Singles Chart 6
Netherlands Singles Chart 2
New Zealand Singles Chart 7
UK Singles Chart 3
US Billboard Hot 100 69

Live versionsEdit

A live version, the first concert performance of the song, was recorded during the Isolar II Tour at Earl’s Court, London, on 1 July 1978. It was included on RarestOneBowie (1995) and was given its first authorized release on Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78) (2018). It was also performed during the Sound+Vision Tour in 1990, and during a performance on Live by Request in 2002.

Other releasesEdit

The song has since appeared on numerous compilations, including:

It was also released as a picture disc in the RCA Life Time picture disc set and the Fashions Picture Disc Set. A remixed version was released as a bonus track on the Rykodisc re-release of Low in 1991. This is the same version as the "David Richards remix 1991" on the EP credited to "David Bowie vs. 808 State" released in 1991.

In March 2010, it was announced on Bowie's official website that a digital Sound And Vision Remix EP would be made available in June 2010.

In 2013, a remix was commissioned for the Sony Xperia Z smartphone advertising campaign.[3] The new mix by Sonjay Prabhakar utilized the original lead vocals and Mary Hopkin’s backing vocal with a new piano part by Rob Gentry. A Parlophone Records digital download was released on 7 October 2013.



  1. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  2. ^ "David Bowie 1978-07-01 London ,Earl's Court Arena – Isolar II In The Court – SQ 9 |". Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. ^ iSpot
  4. ^


External linksEdit