Tony Visconti (David Bowie)

Courtesy of Tony Visconti Com
By Thomas Semioli

Few artists can match the sound and vision of producer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger Anthony Edward Visconti. Mr. Visconti’s groundbreaking work with David Bowie, Thin Lizzy, T. Rex, Moody Blues, Alejandro Escovedo, Sir Paul & Wings, Mary Hopkin, and Sparks among scores of others is the stuff of legend.


Akin to George Martin, Brian Eno, Sam Phillips, Jerry Wexler, and Phil Spector, to cite a select few, Tony resides in that rarified pantheon of iconic, influential, and pioneering practitioners of a profession that rarely garners significant notice.


Aside from his production profundity, Tony is also an exemplary bassist as evidenced by his performance on one of the most under-appreciated, oft overlooked releases from a major artist: David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World (1970).  


Visconti waxed these benchmark bass performances on David’s seminal sonic slab – commandeering a thick, flatwound strung Gibson EB-3 and counsel from Mick Ronson on how to emulate Jack Bruce!


As such Tony emerged as a flexible harmonic anchor and clever melodic foil to the Bowie, who was still grasping for a musical identity. Visconti’s metal Motown mayhem on “The Width of a Circle” is worth the price of admission alone.


Circa 2014, Tony, along with original Spiders drummer Woody Woodmansy formed the Holy Holy (named after a b-side waxed in 1970) repertory ensemble to celebrate MWSTW, and rare (and not so rare) artifacts from the Bowie / Visconti canon. They toured both sides of the pond to rave reviews.  Among Holy Holy’s guest performers and members included Marc Almond, Glen Matlock, Maggie and Lisa Ronson, Tracie Hunter, Ed Kizilcay, and Clem Burke.


Tony’s autobiographical tome: Bowie, Bolan, and the Brooklyn Boy (Harper Collins 2008) is essential rock reading.


 Tony Visconti Sound & Vision….


“Width of a Circle”


“Black Country Rock”


“Man Who Sold the World”


Tony Visconti / Woody Woodmansey Holy Holy:


“Width of a Circle”