David Bowie

Sound and Vision

Composed by David Bowie

Song Review by

When RCA, David Bowie's record label at the time, announced that the release of Low was tantamount to commercial and artistic suicide, "Sound and Vision" was precisely what they had in mind, a fragment of a song whose instrumental intro was actually longer than the song itself. Oh, how silly they must have felt when, extracted as the first single from the album, "Sound and Vision" became Bowie's biggest U.K. hit in two years (since the chart-topping reissue of "Space Oddity") and was even borrowed by the BBC as background music to its program announcements.

Despite its success (or, possibly, because of it -- few of Bowie's biggest '70s hits ever became live regulars), "Sound and Vision" was performed just once in concert over the next decade, at one of his London shows the following year. A bootleg quality recording of this momentous occasion is captured on the Rarestonebowie compilation.

Having gifted its name to Bowie's 1989 box set and the following year's "greatest hits" tour, "Sound and Vision" became more regular during that later outing. Since that time, however, it has been returned to the closet.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Low 1977
Low
Virgin 4:43
No Image 1980 K-Tel Distribution
No Image 1981 RCA
Sound + Vision 1989 Parlophone / Rhino 3:04
No Image 1991 Ryko Distribution
The Singles: 1969-1993 1993 Rykodisc 3:00
The Singles Collection 1993 Parlophone 3:03
Rarest One Bowie 1995 Trident Music International 3:24
Alternative Biography 1997 Alter Ego
The Best of David Bowie 1974/1979 1998 EMI Music Distribution / Parlophone 3:07
The Singles Collection 1 2000 EMI Music Distribution 3:04
Best of Bowie 2002 EMI Digital / Parlophone 3:04
Die 70er Show, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
BMG 3:02
The Platinum Collection 2006 Parlophone 3:07
Paper Sleeve Box 2007 Disk Union
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:04
The Brit Awards 2012 2012
Various Artists
Universal 3:02
Zeit! 77-79 2013 EMI / Virgin 3:03
Nothing Has Changed 2014 Parlophone 3:03
No Image 2016
Original Cast Recording
No Image 2016 Sony Music 3:03
No Image EMI 3:05
No Image Parlophone 3:04
Torhout Werchter 21
Various Artists
Polygram TV
blue highlight denotes editor's pick