Carlos Alomar
Background information
Born 1951 Ponce, Puerto Rico
Occupation Guitarist, composer, arranger
Associated acts David Bowie

Carlos Alomar (born 1951 in Ponce, Puerto Rico) is an American guitarist, composer and arranger best known for his work with David Bowie, having played on more Bowie albums than any other musician. His work has also included performing on Arcadia's So Red the Rose album.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Alomar was raised in New York. From the age of ten he taught himself to play the guitar, and started playing professionally at age sixteen. In the 1960s he performed during "Amateur Hour" at the Apollo Theater, eventually joining the House Band, backing the likes of Chuck Berry and many leading soul music artists. In 1969 Alomar formed a group called Listen My Brother with vocalists Luther Vandross, Fonzi Thornton (later to work with Chic and Roxy Music), and Robin Clark (Clark and Alomar later wed and had a daughter).

Alomar subsequently played as a session musician for RCA Recording Studios and other artists, before meeting David Bowie in early 1974, during sessions for Lulu’s recording of the Bowie-penned song "Can You Hear Me?". In 1974, Bowie recorded a series of songs with Alomar, which became part of the Young Americans album, and Alomar joined Bowie for the second leg of the Diamond Dogs tour. In January 1975, Bowie and John Lennon recorded "Across the Universe" and from this session resulted the impromptu song "Fame" – which evolved from the guitar riff Alomar had originated for the song "Footstompin’" during the Diamond Dogs shows. With writing credit divided between Bowie, Alomar and Lennon, "Fame" gave Bowie his first US #1 single. This began a long period of collaboration in which Alomar led the rhythm section that would underpin Bowie’s recordings for the next half-decade. He played on Station To Station (1976), the "Berlin Trilogy" of albums (Low, "Heroes", and Lodger), and Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980).

Alomar played guitar on Iggy Pop’s two Bowie-produced albums of 1977, The Idiot and Lust For Life (which included the song "Success").

He did not play on Bowie’s album Let's Dance (1983) – the role of rhythm guitarist was undertaken by that album’s co-producer, Nile Rodgers – but he re-joined Bowie as rhythm guitarist and musical director for the mammoth Serious Moonlight world tour in 1983, and on the albums Tonight and Never Let Me Down, and was the musical director/rhythm guitarist for Bowie’s infamous and highly theatrical Glass Spider Tour in 1987; Duran Duran shared the bill with Bowie at several of these shows in August 1987. Bowie ended his long-running creative association with Alomar after the critical panning of Never Let Me Down and the Glass Spider tour. The two men would not record together again until January-February 1995, during sessions in New York for Bowie’s album Outside (1995). In the meantime, Alomar recorded and released his first solo album, Dream Generator, in 1988.

In 1985 Alomar contributed to Arcadia's So Red the Rose album with Sting, David Gilmour and Herbie Hancock. He also co-wrote David Bowie's "Fame", and played guitar on Iggy Pop's "Success", both songs Duran Duran would later cover.

After Bowie[edit | edit source]

Alomar has performed with a number of other famous musicians including Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, and Argentine pop legends Soda Stereo. In all, Alomar has played on a total of 32 gold and platinum albums. He is currently the director of Boombacker Records and president of the New York chapter of The Recording Academy, the organization responsible for the Grammy Awards.

Alomar collaborated with Scissor Sisters for their second album Ta-Dah.

Selected discography[edit | edit source]

David Bowie


Iggy Pop

Paul McCartney

Mick Jagger

Soda Stereo

  • Doble Vida (as producer, guest guitar and rapper) (1988)


  • PAX (as guitar) (1996)
  • CHAOS (as guitar) (1997)


  • The Revelation of Arthur Lynn (as producer) (2009)

Solo albums

  • Dream Generator (1988)


  • David Bowie: Serious Moonlight
  • David Bowie: Glass Spider
  • Iggy Pop: Live San Fran 1981
  • Soda Stereo: Gira Me Veras Volver
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