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
Parlophone 3:03
No Image 1980 K-Tel Distribution
No Image 1981 RCA 0:00
No Image 1986 Label Bleu 0:00
Sound + Vision 1989 EMI Music Distribution 3:04
No Image 1991 Rykodisc
The Singles: 1969-1993 1993 Rykodisc 3:00
The Singles Collection 1993 EMI Music Distribution 3:03
Rarest One Bowie 1995 Trident Music International 3:24
The Best of David Bowie 1974/1979 1998 Virgin 3:05
The Singles Collection 1 2000 EMI Music Distribution 3:04
Best of Bowie 2002 Virgin 0:00
The Platinum Collection 2006 Virgin 3:05
Nothing Has Changed 2014 Columbia / Legacy 3:03
No Image 2016
Original Cast Recording
Columbia / Sony Music 0:40
No Image 2016 Columbia/Legacy / Sony Music 3:03
A New Career in a New Town (1977-1982) 2017 Parlophone / Rhino 3:03
Torhout Werchter 21
Various Artists
Polygram TV