A new mix of David Bowie‘s Station to Station single “TVC 15” strips back the funky New Wave crossover hit for a more direct effect and will feature on the upcoming box set Who Can I Be Now?, which focuses on the singer’s recordings in the mid-Seventies. Producer Harry Maslin, who worked on the original recording, made the new mix in 2010, according to The Guardian, in an attempt to make it sound the way Bowie had originally wanted it to.
From the start, the piano – played by E Street Band member Roy Bittan on Professor Longhair’s instrument – comes to the forefront. Earl Slick and Carlos Alomar’s guitar playing sounds more pronounced, while Bowie’s vocals sound clear and cutting compared to the muddled mix of the original. Even the sax – played by Bowie – jumps out in the middle of the new mix.
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Bowie reportedly wrote the song about a (hallucinatory) story Iggy Pop had told him about a television gobbling up his girlfriend. Alomar once said that Bowie wanted the song to sound “fucked up like when we did ‘Boys Keep Swinging,’ kind of loose and stupid.” But the idea was by the end of the song, “he really wanted it to drive home” – which it did in the original mix that congealed toward the end.
“TVC 15” came out as a single in 1976 but peaked on the charts at Number 64. Despite its poor performance (the previous year’s Station to Station single “Golden Years” was a Top 10 hit), Bowie kept the song in his set lists for years, occasionally playing sax at the end of it. Notably, he also performed it on Saturday Night Live in 1979 and at Live Aid in 1985.
Maslin’s 2010 mix of Station to Station will comprise one of the discs in Who Can I Be Now?, which is due out September 23rd. It was previously available only as part of the Station to Station box set, which came out that year. The set will also include the previously unreleased album The Gouster, recorded in 1974 before Young Americans, and Re:Call 2, a compilation of single versions, B sides and non-album songs.