Quicksand (David Bowie song)
|Song by David Bowie|
|from the album Hunky Dory|
|Released||17 December 1971|
|Recorded||14 July 1971|
|Producer(s)||Ken Scott, David Bowie|
"Quicksand" was recorded on 14 July 1971 at Trident Studios in London. This ballad features multi-tracked acoustic guitars and a string arrangement by Mick Ronson. Producer Ken Scott, having recently engineered George Harrison's album All Things Must Pass, attempted to create a similarly powerful acoustic sound with this track.
Bowie said of the song "The chain reaction of moving around throughout the bliss and then the calamity of America produced this epic of confusion. Anyway with my esoteric problems I could have written it in Plainview or Dulwich" and that it was a mixture of "narrative and surrealism".
Lyrically the song, like much of Bowie's work at this time, was influenced by Buddhism, occultism, and Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of the Superman. It refers to the magical society Golden Dawn and name-checks one of its most famous members, Aleister Crowley, as well as Heinrich Himmler, Winston Churchill and Juan Pujol (codename: Garbo).
NME editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray have described it as "Bowie in his darkest and most metaphysical mood", while a contemporary review in Rolling Stone remarked on its "superb singing" and "beautiful guitar motif from Mick Ronson".
Bowie performed the song during his 1997 Earthling Tour. A live recording from one show on 20 July 1997, recorded at Long Marston, England during the Phoenix Festival, was released in a live album entitled Look at the Moon! in February 2021. Bowie performed the song occasionally during his 2003-04 A Reality Tour.
The song was released as the B-side of the single "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" in April 1974. RCA included the song in the picture disc set Life Time. A studio demo version of the song was released as a bonus track on the Rykodisc release of Hunky Dory in 1990. A November 1996 tour rehearsal recording of the song, which originally aired on a BBC radio broadcast in 1997, was released in 2020 on the album ChangesNowBowie.
- David Bowie – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
- Mick Ronson – acoustic guitars, Mellotron, string arrangement
- Trevor Bolder – bass
- Mick Woodmansey – drums
- Rick Wakeman – piano
- "The Top 150 Albums of the '70s". Treble. 12 August 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
- Wawzenek, Bryan (11 January 2016). "David Bowie Albums Ranked Worst to Best". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
- Kevin Cann (2010). Any Day Now - David Bowie: The London Years: 1947-1974: pp.223-224
- David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story: p.115
- Pegg, Nicholas. The Complete David Bowie. p. 181.
- Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: p.41
- David Sheppard (2007). "Wishful Beginnings", MOJO 60 Years of Bowie: p.24
- John Mendelsohn (6 January 1972). "Hunky Dory". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 27 January 2007.
- Kreps, Daniel (29 January 2021). "David Bowie's 'Brilliant Live Adventures' Series Continues With 1997 Festival Gig". Retrieved 29 January 2021.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (25 April 2020). "ChangesNowBowie – David Bowie". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 29 April 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.