Tony Visconti has emerged as one of the most influential producers of the glam rock era through work with David Bowie and T Rex.
Visconti had relocated to London in 1968 and almost immediately began producing tracks by T Rex, followed soon after by Bowie’s Space Oddity album. Although working with other artists during this period, Bowie and T Rex remain the two acts that Visconti is best remembered for.
It was Visconti who played bass and toured with ‘The Hype’ along with Bowie, guitarist Mick Ronson and drummer John Cambridge. The band was short lived but this line up went on to record ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ album. Visconti also produced ‘Diamond Dogs’, and ‘Young Americans’ for Bowie, while for T Rex he produced the classic ‘Electric Warrior’ and ‘The Slider'.
Visconti continued to work with Bowie as the decade progressed, collaborating on ‘Low’, ‘Heroes’ and ‘Lodger’ With production duties in 1980 on ‘Scary Monsters and Super Creeps'. Visconti renewed his association with Bowie, producing the albums ‘Heathen’ in 2002 and ‘Reality’ in 2003.
In more recent times he has produced albums for Morrissey, who had previously been produced by Mick Ronson on the ‘Your Arsenal’ album.
Metal Guru is a number one single from ‘the Slider’ album released in 1972. This version is a mash up of an earlier version from the Electric Warrior sessions, and the final version, after Visconti had added his magic.
Talking of Marc Bolan he said;“He knew he was going to be big, and he had everything to back it up; talent, imagination and great songs. His melodies were absolutely superb”
The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud is also a mash up. The first half is from a BBC live session, with the normal version of the song coming in at the end.
“My greatest pride was my orchestral arrangement for "The Wild-Eyed Boy From Freecloud". This was originally a throwaway B-side for "Space Oddity", but I heard orchestral parts in my head from the beginning. It took 5 whole days to write. I set up the studio of 50 musicians with David sitting right in the middle playing his acoustic 12-string. I was standing in front of him conducting the orchestra. At the mixing stage of this album, John Cambridge, the drummer, introduced us to his guitar player friend from Hull -- Mick Ronson. Mick came to the mix of "The Wild-Eyed Boy From Freecloud", and was persuaded to play a little guitar line in the middle part and joined in the handclaps on the same section. That is actually the first appearance of Mick Ronson on a David Bowie album”.Tonyvisconti.com