David Bowie – Master Tape From “Golden Years” Mixing Session, With 13 Unreleased Mixes

A unique and previously undocumented master tape from the mixing session for David Bowie’s hit single “Golden Years,” containing thirteen partial and full mixes, all unreleased.  Included is a professional digital transfer of the tape.

This 10 1/2″ reel-to-reel tape, from New York’s Hit Factory Studios, is dated October 4, 1975, and lists the artist as David Bowie, producers as David [Bowie] – Harry [Maslin], engineers as Harry [Maslin] – Kevin, and the client as Bewlay Bros. [Bowie’s publishing/production company.]

Bowie recorded “Golden Years” in Los Angeles at Cherokee Studios, between September 21-30, 1975.  From this tape, we know it was mixed the next week in New York, and the single was released by RCA Records on November 21.

This tape, from the “Golden Years” mixing session, documents Maslin and Bowie creating different mixes from the 2″ multi-track master tape, raising and lowering the volume of the vocals and various instruments, and adding or subtracting audio effects.  While they played back the multi track tape and experimented with various mixes, this 1/4″ 2-track tape captured the results of their efforts.  It contains 4 different complete mixes, 5 ‘false-start’ mixes lasting longer than one minute, and 4 ‘false-start’ mixes shorter than one minute.  All of the mixes are unreleased, with a total running time of 23:53.

With Recordmecca’s written lifetime guarantee of authenticity.

[Sold as a collectible only.  All underlying rights held by copyright holder.]

We commissioned legendary record producer Ed Stasium (Ramones, Talking Heads, Motorhead, etc.) to analyze the tape and note how each mix differs from the others.  His comments follow:

This tape is a running mix from what I believe is the master mix session of David Bowie’s ‘Golden Years’ from his 1976 LP, Station To Station consisting of: 4 complete takes, 5 false starts longer than 1 minute, 4 false starts shorter than 1 minute.  23:53 total

FS-False Start            CT-Complete take

Longer false starts are marked as incomplete takes/IC

The timings below are from the beginning of the tape.

Count down at beginning of each take.

No fade out at endings, extra clap, Bowie mumbles.

Rewind noise between tracks.

Seems to be the same session as LP Mix.

Panning same as LP mix, except for the count off which inexplicably varies in the stereo field.

Same instrumentation throughout.  No additional instruments or vocals.

Dramatic to subtle changes in EQ and vocal/musical element volume from mix to mix.

I had to boost  5db at 84Hz – .93db at 453Hz – 4.5db at 9.77KHz to compensate for mastering.

01 FS – 0:03-1:09

right side dropout at 0:08

Lots of reverb on  guitar right which is consistent on all takes.

Loud tambourine, fingersnaps/handclaps are lower.

Tambourine at 00:50 is very loud when it comes in and is gradually is taken down in level.

02 CT 1:10-5:10

In 2nd verse ‘Angel’ (02:15) is much louder with less reverb on this mix.

3:04 ‘All The Way” has no reverb.

‘Ghost’ vocal at 3:07

‘Ghost’ reverb on ‘Yes’ 3:59

Handclaps are very in your face. Guitar ‘left’ goes down in volume at the end.

03 FS               5:15-5:41

Level is down, reverb is introduced on fingersnaps/handclaps

04 FS               5:45-6:35

More reverb on fingersnaps/handclaps

05 FS/IC            6:38-7:57

Someone forgot to crank the ‘verb on ‘Angel’ (7:45) rewind.

06 FS               8:02-8:18

07 CT                8:21-12:29

Guitar left comes up in volume.

Claps and Tambourine still very loud.

08 FS                12:33-13:09

Someone forgot to turn the ‘verb down on Bowie’s voice … rewind!

09 FS/IC 13:11-14:13

10 CT    14:16-18:22

‘Good Last Half’ written on box.

Very close to the mix used LP mix.

Not at much reverb on the phrase ‘All the Way’ (16:10)

Backing vocal ‘ahh’ much louder at (16:52-17:02)

11 CT                18:29-22:34

Also very close to the mix used on LP mix.

Claps still have a lot of reverb.

More ‘verb on the word ‘Soul’ (20:37)

Whistling at 22:28

12 FS                22:38-22:51

Keyboard notes lower at 22:45

13 FS                22:51-23:52

Tambourine comes in very loud at 23:38, tape stops… slight print-through.

Note on box indicates ‘con’t nxt reel’ (sic)



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