London Busker Breaks it Down

Do you remember the last busker you saw on the tube? There’s a chance they remember you. If you had any kind of interaction with me, I would. If you smile, wave, cover your ears or sing along, I’ll record it.

One such notable interaction occurred at Leicester Square on a Saturday afternoon during a bog-standard rendition of Bruno Mars’s The Lazy Song. It has a catchy chorus which is preceded by the line, “I said it ’cause I can!”.

Just as I started the “…I can”, I noticed a huge group of school kids approach my busking pitch, staring with huge grins on their faces. As they approached, I watched in slow motion as their mouths opened. They all took deep breaths and in a moment my one-man performance was joined by a chorus of voices in perfect sync and harmony and we became an unexpected choir right there on the Underground.

Dan Hough / Londonist

Bowie in Berlin – Behind the Hero’s vocal.

How did Bowie get that distinctive sound on Heros?

“… Visconti set up three separate microphones around Tonstudio 2. The first was placed where one would expect it to be: six inches or so in front of where Bowie stood to sing. The other two were positioned around 15 and 20 feet further back, in order that they might take advantage of the excellent acoustic properties of the studio itself. Visconti placed noise gates on both of these, setting them so that they would only open – and thus become active – when Bowie’s voice reached a certain volume. The result of this marvellous innovation was that, in a single take, his voice could shift from a warm intimacy to a distant wail. And it is this, alongside the unparalleled power of Bowie’s vocal delivery, which lifted Hero’s up from its status as merely a great song to the realm of all-time classic.”
Thomas Jerome Seabrook