Original air date November 18, 2017 | Time 59:00
Paul Buckmaster, whose orchestral arrangements brought power and poignancy to signature songs by David Bowie, Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Carly Simon and countless other rock, pop, country and jazz stars, died on Nov. 7 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 71.
Mr. Buckmaster was something of a child prodigy on the cello and might have made a career solely as a musician, but a few fortuitous introductions connected him to Mr. Bowie and brought him the assignment of arranging “Space Oddity,” the eerie 1969 Bowie song that begins with the lyric “Ground control to Major Tom.”
“One general rule is to hold back as much as possible,” he said, “to give the listener the chance to let the song grow and unfold, introducing new sonic elements, such as new instruments or sectional groupings. If you use everything from the beginning, you have nowhere to go.” - Paul Buckmaster