I first heard this song one Friday or Saturday night when I was young. My parents would go to bed and let me stay up to watch "Midnight Special" or "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert" or whatever was on after 11PM--or even after 1AM! There I was, on the shag carpet in front of the TV quite late at night, when Bowie's silhouette appeared, long and slim, seeming to float in a wash of bright light. The image was stark and otherworldy. But what really got me was the sound--that sound. How to describe it? A magical, heart-stopping wall of sound that seemed to pulse from another dimension, a rumbling, reverberating drone... a roaring that could be a billion heartbeats, the grinding of time itself. I mean, come on... what else sounded like this at that time? Nothing. Bowie, his band, guitarist Robert Fripp, producer Tony Visconti, and genius Brian Eno created a sonic texture never heard before.
And then there's Bowie's stunning vocal performance... screaming out with emotion, his voice breaking as he howls out images that evoke concentration camps or the divided Berlin, where the song was recorded. I have heard "Heroes" probably a million times over the years, but I can still think back to that time when the sound of the music and his voice were startling, improbable, but so inexplicably fresh. Watch him perform "Heroes" and see and hear for yourself... try to feel it again like it is the first time.
And here is a very special treat: producer Tony Visconti demonstrating with the original tracks how the song was created. Fascinating!
We miss you, David.