WCSX Classic Cuts
David Bowie: “TVC 15”
The Hook: Bowie unknowingly brings in just the right guy to give him the style of piano he’s looking for.
Album: Station to Station
Writers: David Bowie
Stats: Peaked at number-64 on the Billboard Hot 100
Background: E Street Band keyboardist Roy Bittan was brought in by David Bowie to overdub piano on “TVC 15,” a futuristic song he’d written around the idea of a holographic TV set. Thing is, he didn’t want futuristic piano on it. Bittan, who had just recently discovered the great New Orleans boogie-woogie player Professor Longhair, says he was more than happy to give Bowie exactly what he asked for.
E Street Band pianist Roy Bittan on how he wound up playing Professor Longhair-influenced piano on David Bowie’s futuristic song about a holographic TV set, “TVC 15.” OC:…came about. :25
“I discovered Professor Longhair and it was a revelation to find the guy and I went to see him. We were in a little club in Texas and I saw Professor Longhair and I went wild and I tried to copy his licks for the next month. Here I am, I walk into the studio with Bowie and the first thing he says to me is, ‘Can you play a Professor Longhair-type thing?’ So I said, ‘Well hey, have I got some licks for you.’ And that was “TVC15,” and that’s the intro. That’s how that whole thing came about.”