Young Americans

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“Over here, it’s bright young Americans,” Bowie said of his decision to cut an LP in the soul-music hotbed of Philadelphia. “In England, it’s a dirge.” Puerto Rican-born guitarist Carlos Alomar, who’d introduced the glam god to the vibrant U.S. club scene, assembled a multiracial American studio band for the recording. “It was only about four hours into the first session,” Alomar recalled. “We got to the guitar breakdown and we knew we’d got something.” By the next morning, they’d nailed down a keeper take of a song originally titled “The Young American,” initiating a radical change of pace for Bowie that he self-mockingly labeled “plastic soul.