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“I knew at some point I was going to cry. I start playing, and I could hear David’s guitar in my left ear and mine in my right. When David played acoustic, he’d get a certain look in his eyes, like he was looking at you but far away at the same time. He’d cross one of his legs, and his foot would bounce while he was playing. I could picture all of that and fell into that same headspace David and I always had but, when I opened my eyes, he wasn’t there.”

It’s difficult to fully appreciate the gamut of emotions Reeves Gabrels must have wrestled with as he added fresh acoustic guitar parts to the Never Let Me Down 2018 version of David Bowie’s Zeroes, overseen by producer Mario McNulty. Bowie had been left disappointed with both the production and his own contribution to Never Let Me Down, and had discussed revisiting the 1987 album as early as the following year. The new version, reworked by McNulty, is the highlight of 15-disc Bowie boxset Loving the Alien (1983 - 1988). While fans may wince at the prospect of forking out another £220 for what has become an annual Bowie reissue mother lode, finally hearing an initially underwhelming album realised as its composer intended is an enticing prospect. In this issue’s cover story, Gabrels, McNulty, Nile Rodgers, Hugh Padgham and Carlos Alomar join us in reflecting on the role they played in a decade that saw Bowie release his biggest-selling album and embrace disco, before ascending to, and then growing tired of, playing vast stadium shows.

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