David Bowie and Cher's electric chemistry while singing forgotten duet of 'Can You Hear Me' is sensational

8 December 2020, 12:40 | Updated: 8 December 2020, 15:57

A collaboration between David Bowie and Cher may come as a surprise to many, but the pair's forgotten duet of 'Can You Hear Me' is superb.
A collaboration between David Bowie and Cher may come as a surprise to many, but the pair's forgotten duet of 'Can You Hear Me' is superb. Picture: CBS

By Giorgina Hamilton

David Bowie was appearing on Cher's TV show in 1975 when the pair sang a spectacular chemistry-filled duet of 'Can You Hear Me' from Bowie's Young Americans album.

A collaboration between David Bowie and Cher may come as a surprise to many, but the pair's forgotten duet of 'Can You Hear Me' is superb.

Bowie was invited to appear of Cher's hugely successful TV series Cher where the duo filmed a live duet that would be aired on November 23, 1975.

See more: David Bowie's 20 greatest ever songs, ranked

Ziggy Stardust and the 'I Got You Babe' singer took to the stage for their third recorded duet of the day; the pair had sung Bowie's 'Fame' and a medley from the Young Americans album, but it's the tenderness of the 'Can Your Hear Me' that really stands out.

David Bowie (pictured) and the Cher took to the stage for their third recorded duet of the day when they performed 'Can You Hear Me'
David Bowie (pictured) and the Cher took to the stage for their third recorded duet of the day when they performed 'Can You Hear Me'. Picture: CBS
Th Pir also sang Bowie's 'Fame' and a medley from the Young Americans album, but it was the tenderness of the 'Can Your Hear Me' that really stands out.
Th Pir also sang Bowie's 'Fame' and a medley from the Young Americans album, but it was the tenderness of the 'Can Your Hear Me' that really stands out. Picture: CBS
Bowie was invited to appear of Cher's hugely successful TV series Cher where the duo filmed a live duet that would be aired on November 23, 1975.
Bowie was invited to appear of Cher's hugely successful TV series Cher where the duo filmed a live duet that would be aired on November 23, 1975. Picture: CBS

See more: David Bowie and Freddie Mercury's a cappella 'Under Pressure' will give you goosebumps

Recorded at the Fairfax studios in L.A., Bowie's appearance on the wholesome Cher show seemed at odds with his rocker persona, but the soaring voice of Cher, in contrast his gravelly tone, worked exceedingly well together.

However, despite his calm demeanour Bowie would later admit he recalls little of his duet with Cher, as he was in the throes of advanced substance abuse at the time.

See more: Watch the trailer for the new David Bowie biopic Stardust

“I was probably this crazed anorexic figure walking in," he said. "I’m sure she didn’t know what to make of me.”

Bowie's November 1975 performance of 'Can You Hear Me' wasn't the first time he had collaborated on the track with a female star.

See more: Remembering the time Cher performed a hilarious medley with the Jackson 5

Despite his calm demeanour, Bowie would later admit he recalls little of his duet with Cher as he was in the throes of advanced substance abuse at the time.
Despite his calm demeanour, Bowie would later admit he recalls little of his duet with Cher as he was in the throes of advanced substance abuse at the time. Picture: CBS
Earlier in the day David Bowie and Cher recorded a medley of hits from Bowie's 1975 Young Americans album (pictured)
Earlier in the day David Bowie and Cher recorded a medley of hits from Bowie's 1975 Young Americans album (pictured). Picture: Getty

The year before in March 1974, the singer recorded the original version of the song with Lulu and later told an interviewer the underrated Scottish singer had terrific talent.

See more: Queen, David Bowie and Annie Lennox's powerful 'Under Pressure' performance in tribute to Freddie Mercury

"Lulu's got this terrific voice, and it's been misdirected all this time, all these years," he said in 1974.

"People laugh now, but they won't in two years time, you see! I produced a single with her – 'Can You Hear Me' – and that's more the way she's going. She's got a real soul voice, she can get the feel of Aretha, but it's been so misdirected."

See more: Relive Cher, Tina Turner and Elton John's breathtaking live performance of 'Proud Mary'

"Lulu&squot;s got this terrific voice, and it&squot;s been misdirected all this time, all these years," David Bowie said of his original recording partner, Lulu, in 1974. The pair pictured in 2000.
"Lulu's got this terrific voice, and it's been misdirected all this time, all these years," David Bowie said of his original recording partner, Lulu, in 1974. The pair pictured in 2000. Picture: Getty

The intensely romantic track 'Can You Hear Me' was written about a real person, yet the notoriously private David Bowie, unsurprisingly, always kept tight-lipped about his inspiration.

See more: David Bowie mimics Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and more in brilliant clip from 1985

In August 1975, however, he did let slip just how real his emotions in the song really were.

Speaking to Andrew O'Grady for an interview with New Musical Express, David Bowie confided: "'Can You Hear Me' was written for somebody but I'm not telling you who it is. That is a real love song. I kid you not."

See next: How David Bowie met Iman: Matchmaker recalls night "lonely" star met his soulmate