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DIAMOND DOGS

David Bowie

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David Bowie Diamond Dogs album cover
3.58 | 162 ratings | 13 reviews | 14% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Future Legend - 1:05
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (Richard Rodgers)
2. Diamond Dogs - 5:56
3. Sweet Thing - 3:39
4. Candidate - 2:40
5. Sweet Thing (Reprise) - 2:31
6. Rebel Rebel - 4:30
7. Rock 'n' Roll with Me (Bowie, Warren Peace) - 4:00
8. We Are the Dead - 4:58
9. 1984 - 3:27
10. Big Brother - 3:21
11. Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family - 2:00


Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


* David Bowie - vocals, guitars, saxes, Moog synthesizer, Mellotron
* Mike Garson - keyboards
* Herbie Flowers - bass
* Tony Newman - drums
* Alan Parker - guitar on 1984
* Aynsley Dunbar - drums
* Tony Visconti - strings

Releases information

RCA - 1974
Rykodisc/EMI Reissue 1990
EMI/Virgin Reissue 1999
EMI/Virgin 30th Anniversary Edition 2004

Thanks to micky for the addition
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DAVID BOWIE Diamond Dogs ratings distribution


3.58
(162 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(14%)
14%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(45%)
45%
Good, but non-essential (31%)
31%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

DAVID BOWIE Diamond Dogs reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars THIS AIN'T ROCK AND ROLL, THIS IS GENOCIDE !

Bowie's frenzy is huge. Six months after "Pin-Ups", here he goes again with a new album.

1973 was an exceptional year for David. He was elected best UK singer by both the NME as well as the Melody Maker's readers. He sold more than one million albums, one million singles. He has never been as rich as he is now (I mean then).

But De Fries is making serious mistakes which will put an end to their partnership (Wayne County, Mick Ronson, Dana Gillepsie). Bowie is more depressed than ever and the concept of "Diamond Dogs" is even darker than "The Man.". David is also starting his addiction to heavy drugs (cocaine) which will have a disastrous effect.

The original sleeve designed by the Belgian Guy Peelaerts was just a superb weirdness, showing David as one of these mutant diamond dogs. It featured the lyrics of the intro "Future Legend". An ocean of horror, darker than the darkest description of a post nuclear New York. Frightening, disturbing, sickening, disgusting, apocalyptical.grandiose. This one minute piece of theater is phenomenal:

"Fleas the size of rats sucked on rats the size of cats. And ten thousand peoploids split into small tribes. Coverting the highest of the sterile skyscrapers. Like packs of dogs assaulting the glass fronts of Love- Me Avenue. Ripping and rewrapping mink and shiny silver fox, now legwarmers. Family badge of sapphire and cracked emerald. Any day now. The Year of the Diamond Dogs".

Ziggy has died, but now it is the turn of Halloween Jack to be in the spot light. "Diamond Dogs" is some sort of a logical follow-up of "A Lad Insane". Some of the tracks do have the rock'n'roll feeling of it. The title track for instance is another Stones oriented song. It was chosen to be a single but failed to chart significantly (only 21st in the UK).

Still, it is a very good song with weird lyrics. But the whole of this album soaks in this gloomy atmosphere: "The diamond dogs are poachers and they hide behind trees. Hunt you to the ground they will, mannequins with kill appeal".

THE highlight of this album is of course "Rebel Rebel". Another homage to Richards and his performing guitar riffs. It peaked at the fifth position of the charts. It instantly entered into my vein and never left me.

Side two of the vinyl album is dedicated to a theme that Bowie has already covered. Totalitarianism, dictatorship, terror. The pivotal song from this concept album is "We Are The Dead". Based on some words from the "1984" novel written by Georges Orwell, our friend Jack turns into Winston Smith (one of the main character from "1984").

The last two songs are of course fully Orwell oriented. While "1984" has this soul mood which will be the main musical source of inspiration for David's next album ("Young Americans"). "Big Brother" is a very pessimist track. Our hero (now Winston Smith) failed in fighting the dictator and will be converted as one of his followers. We will hear them, as if they were lobotomized, in the closing "Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family" repeating constantly: "Brother. Ooh-ooh. Shake it up, shake it up. Move it up, move it up" as a sign of submission to the Authority.

It will peak at the first spot of the UK charts (this is the third album in a row to do so in just a year.). It is also his biggest hit in the US so far (Nr. 5).

Four stars in my range. A very good album.

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Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars This ain't genocide, this is rock 'n' roll!!

Together with The Man Who Sold The World, this is my favourite Bowie album. Like on The Man Who Sold The World, Bowie here writes all his own material again. Diamond Dogs is darker and more serious than Ziggy Stardust or Aladdin Sane and all the better for it. Diamond Dogs is also a concept album about the famous novel by George Orwell (popular among Prog artists since both Rick Wakeman and Anthony Phillips has made concept albums about it). It also happens to be my favourite novel and Diamond Dogs is an excellent soundtrack to it (as is Wakeman's 1984).

Diamond Dogs is also the last true classic rock album Bowie did in the 70's. After this album he would turn to soul, pop, disco, new age etc. like many prog bands would do also later on.

The title track and Rebel Rebel are pure rock 'n' roll songs in the style of The Who and have nothing to do with Prog. Rock 'N' Roll With Me is a glam rock sing-a-long anthem. But the way the whole album flows gives it a kind of Prog feel. The highlights are on the second half of the album, from We Are The Dead onwards.

If you like Bowie this album is essential. If you like Prog and want to check out Bowie this should be an early pick, together with The Man Who Sold The World and Space Oddity.

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Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is without doubt David Bowie's darkest album. Was it his peak? Some argue very definitely, personally I would have to say this album sits comfortably with many of his other excellent offerings. It has a dark edge about it creeping on the insane. Just look at the cover if you are in any doubts!

A great conceptual work, another Art Rock prog related classic. The title track is a great sequel to the opening intro. The highlights for me on this album would have to be this song as well as Rebel Rebel' and the George Orwell shower We Are The Dead'. By 1974 David Bowie was already a legend in his own right and he continued to deliver vintage material up to this point. A solid four stars for the darkest Diamond Dog.

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Review by JLocke
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars My first Bowie review. Very cool. Good use of saxophones, moog synthesizers and a whole lot of signature Bowie vocal stylings, Diamond Dogs is one of his better efforts, and although I'm not as huge a Bowie fan as some others on here, I can recognize his ability to tell stories through music, and this album also tells a story of sorts. But come on, let's not be coy; first and foremost, this is a collection of songs. Yes, most of them segue together, and there is a sense of flow to the whole thing, but these songs are just as enjoyable when listened to on their own, and this is not a 'concept album' in the traditional sense of the term. I think that actually does good for it, however, since a small handful of tracks on here aren't as strong as most others, and the 'flow' isn't disrupted when hitting the '>>|' button.

''Future Legend'' starts out with a distant howl, then consists of synthesizers and echoey guitars serving as the backdrop for a very eccentric narration leading into the title track.

''Diamond Dogs'' is the longest song, clocking in at 5:56. It's a good song, fairly predictable. I suspect that's the idea, as the cliche old style Rock 'n' Roll melodies and beats are the stars, and the fun-loving, upbeat attitude of Bowie and co. clearly needed the more conventional song structure to be there so they could just let loose without having to think much about the timing or key. It's certainly not my favorite song on the album, and its lack of originality causes me to skip it more often than not, regardless of how good the instrumentation is. I've heard hundreds of other songs just like it.

''Sweet Thing'' has an epic opening full of dread and that dark tone continues into the song itself, despite the vocal melody being lovely. This is one of the better tracks on the album, and Bowie's spoken-word-meets-singing vocal style suits the music very well, here. The song seamlessly bleeds into the next one, titled ''Candidate''.

''Candidate''. I think of the light-hearted gothic pop tunes from Rocky Horror when hearing this type stuff. Although the songs themselves are much better than anything heard in that film, I feel the goofy, dark attitude is often the same. A particularly cool section of this song features sax and electric guitar trading off lead roles. Very good track.

''Sweet Thing (Reprise)'' is the most beautiful movement in this three-part track, and ends with a lovely piano flourish soon followed by a bass and drum-led march, stomping on with determined ferocity and accompanied by some of the funkiest distorted guitar work on the record. The song instantly ends, and the album does not pause at all before the next song takes the wheel of this ongoing musical ride.

''Rebel Rebel'' features one of my all-time favorite Rock guitar riffs. It's just so groovy and melodically sound. It serves as the intro and main riff for not just the verses, but also the chorus. The pre-chorus is the only musical section that doesn't feature it. Now, knowing that, you may think this song is weak due to the lack of variety, but the beautiful thing about Bowie is that he so often is able to keep things interesting no matter what. Yes, it's true the same musical moments are happening over and over, but he's also singing a vast array of different melodies overtop of that basic riff. So it means that the song doesn't get boring because Bowie's diverse vocal stylings won't allow it to. It's actually my favorite song on the album.

''Rock 'n Roll With Me''. Another lovely, simple tune. Again, it's elaborating on already-existing themes and song structures, but it is more successful at maintaining its own identity than the title track. Not too long, either, so even though it's pleasant enough, it is also not a huge deal if you end up skipping this one as well.

''We Are The Dead''. A song that a lot of people seem to like, but for me it's just not as exciting or flavorful as most other songs on the album. Another throw-away song for me, personally.

''1984''. Wonderful, wonderful song. Very seventies-style wah-guitar being palm-muted and strummed with plenty of energy and attitude. As a complete song, it rocks, and yet I find it hard to pinpoint specific moments in the song that particularly stand out to me. That being said, it's still fantastic, and even though it may not have any starring moments for me personally, I still find it to be among the best tracks on the album-- certainly in my top three.

''Big Brother'' is probably the proggiest track on Diamond Dogs, with a very eery synthesized opening, and even when the song really gets going, the singing style is highly reminiscent of Frank Zappa. Not the first time Bowie has reminded me of Zappa, but certainly one of the most obvious moments. However the melodies themselves are much too poppy to be considered full-on 'Prog' by most. This song is fantastic also, and features a nice mixture of everything. The chorus is just dynamite, and really conveys the emotion behind the message. A well performed song that leads into my personal favorite track on the record.

''Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family'' is one of the first Bowie tracks I ever heard, and I loved then and still adore it now. It's so much fun! Almost maddening, but in a friendly way, the short song is basically just the same chant of nonsensical vocals while a variety of circling sound effects and a consistent, groovy guitar riff serve as the environment for the silliness to run rampant in. Eventually, the shocking, humorous ending brings things to a sudden and unexpected halt, and that is the end of Diamond Dogs.

A very good album with a few rough patches, David Bowie's Diamond Dogs is a nice poppy diversion from all the constant Prog, while also having enough proggy, experimental passages itself to make sure things stay interesting. A good album, but won't appeal to everybody, and certainly not to every Prog fan. Still, worth checking out. If you're a fan of the physical album, the trippy cover art alone makes it worth owning.

Fairly happy listening.

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Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Having grown tired of the Ziggy persona and (to an extent) glam rock in general, Bowie's next intended project was a rock version of Orwell's _1984_. Unfortunately for him, Orwell's estate denied him the rights, and while the album is certainly tinged with the same political post-apocalyptic flavor of that book, the work from that incarnation of this project is represented solely by a couple of tracks on side two. This album also saw Bowie part ways with the bulk of his Ziggy backing band, including guitarist Mick Ronson; the result here is that, other than bass, drums and some keyboards (as well as somebody else playing guitar on "1984"), all of the instruments on this album are played by David himself. This includes the guitar work, which definitely sounds less accomplished than what the last few albums had provided, but also ends up with a gritty proto-punk charm to it that I certainly don't mind (and it's not as if I was listening to the last few albums for guitar work, anyway).

While the album was a commercial success (and at least somewhat of a critical one as well), and one that certainly ended up having an influence on punk rock a few years later (what with the stripped-down approach to the guitars and the pessimistic political outlook), I have trouble seeing this as a very good album. There are certainly some strong songs, and a lot of care has obviously been put into crafting the lyrics and the atmosphere, but not once do I feel like I'm listening to anything resembling even a minor classic (even when I'm listening to songs that are great or come close to it). The first and last tracks, for instance, don't mean much of anything to me, whereas I can tell they're supposed to mean at least something. "Future Legend" is full of imagery of a terrible future, and contains the infamous line, "This ain't Rock and Roll, this is Genocide!" at its conclusion, but I don't find it especially interesting or enticing. The finale, "Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family," is just ridiculous; the riff is nice, but the cycling of the same phrases over and over again starts to get on my nerves in a hurry, and while the final "Bruh Bruh Bruh Bruh ..." that the recording tape accidentally produced is a cute touch, it doesn't quite satisfy me as an ending.

So that leaves nine tracks. Three of these are taken up near the beginning of the album, in a suite comprised of "Sweet Thing," "Candidate" and "Sweet Thing (Reprise)." It's not exactly bad; I find it somewhat interesting to hear the smushing of grumbly guitars with over- the-top "soulful" (except for the part in "Candidate" where Bowie starts rocking out a bit) singing about various political-ish things, at least until the last minute of "Reprise" where it just becomes a slow noise-fest. The problem for me is that I come out of this suite, every time, feeling like I've just wasted my time on 9 minutes of music that hasn't left me with a single strong lasting impression. I'm not even talking about interesting melodies; I'm talking about having something interesting enough happen that I'm thinking about it five seconds after the suite is over. There are some individual interesting moments, but there sure aren't a lot of them.

So that leaves six tracks. One of the tracks with explicit reference to _1984_, "We Are the Dead," is a slow electric keyboard ballad with a decent atmosphere, but there's too much rambling and too little melody for my taste. And so that leaves five tracks that, finally, I definitely like more than not. The title track shows Bowie's continuing fascination with Stones-ish rockers, and while I don't care one way or another about most of the lyrics here, there is definitely something appealing about how he sings the "Call them the diamond dogs" chorus and throws in "aah-oooooooooooooo" cries from time to time. "Rebel Rebel" also betrays heavy Stones influence, but it takes a step beyond in a key way; not even in a song like "Satisfaction" had they ever grabbed onto one single riff and ridden it the entire song, verses and chorus alike, without throwing in a secondary riff at some point. The first time listening to the song, my reaction was that I couldn't help but admire the riff. The second time listening, my reaction was that the song was kinda stupid for not having any significant modulation at any point. The third time through and beyond, though, I couldn't help but admire the balls to do something like that; no wonder punks liked this album. Of course, the lyrics are infamous as well, but I don't really care about those one way or another. Oooh, mentioning cross-dressing and gender-ambiguity, how brazen and rebellious.

On side two, we kick off with the slow and passionate "Rock 'n' Roll With Me," an organ-y number that probably would have been better on an album with fewer mid-tempo and slow numbers (though hearing it after "Rebel Rebel" is a bit of a start), but that I'm still glad is here. I don't really know how much emotional sincerity actually went into making this song, but ehn, you gotta take what you can get with Bowie. A couple of tracks later is "1984," the album's main highlight, where David decides the best genre for a song about the definitive bleak future political tale is ... funk/proto-disco. The combination of the wah-wah's, and the twilight zone synth lines in the beginning and end, and the over-the-top blaxploitation strings, and the epic deep backing harmonies, and the great hook of "In 1984 (who could ask for more)" is mind-boggling, and it makes me wish more of the album hit these heights. And finally, "Big Brother" starts off a little slow (cool 70's keyboard-based introduction notwithstanding), and I don't love the verse melody, but the "Please Savior, Savior, show us ..." bridge is really nice, and the melody to the, "Someone to claim us, someone to follow ..." section is fantastic and epic in all the ways I like. Shame that the song is immediately followed by the "Every Circling Skeletal Family" song.

Overall, I like a good portion of the album, but it's just a drag to try and make it all the way through it in one sitting. If I were more of a Bowie fan, I'd probably have a better appreciation for things like the "Sweet Thing/Candidate" suite, and I'd better appreciate the bleak future he's putting to song, but as is, I'd rather listen to albums I enjoy. Make sure you hear the best stuff here, however that may be, but don't worry about the remainder.

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Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
2 stars David Bowie might have undergone another persona shift with the release of Diamond Dogs but musically it's the same old album that he's been doing since Ziggy Stardust.

Even though Mick Ronson had already departed from the band, he is definitely present in spirit on Diamond Dogs. What we get here is just another rehash of the ideas that felt old even with the release of Aladdin Sane, but that might be because I like my bands and artists to show signs of progress and improvement with every new release. With Diamond Dogs, Bowie was pretty much grasping at straws and even though Young Americans is considered to be an even weaker release, at least it pushed Bowie further away from his Ziggy Stardust persona. This is really not the case with this album. The same old rock & roll numbers are mixed together with rock ballads without a second thought of trying anything new. The whole concept that Bowie was going for is pretty ridiculous even by his standards but at least, this time around, it's not as clear as it was on the two previous albums.

The only standout moment that we get here comes in the form of the straightforward rocker Rebel Rebel which would remain in Bowie's repertoire for many years to come. The rest of the material on side one is decent but is in no way near the stuff off Ziggy Stardust. Side two is where the album slowly starts to roll downhill. By the way, is it just me or does the track 1984 sound very much like the title track from Rick Wakeman's album with the same name? They do share a similar groove, but I still happen to prefer Wakeman's take just for his keyboard arrangements.

In conclusion, you might find this album interesting if you've enjoyed Aladdin Sane but other than that, skip this release all together. David Bowie was smart enough to realize that this approach wouldn't win him any new ground and so he swiftly shifted things in a new direction with the next release.

***** star songs: Rebel Rebel (4:34)

**** star songs: Sweet Thing (3:39) Sweet Thing (Reprise) (2:32) We Are The Dead (4:59)

*** star songs: Future Legend (1:08) Diamond Dogs (5:58) Candidate (2:40) Rock 'n' Roll With Me (4:02) 1984 (3:27) Big Brother (3:20)

** star songs: Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family (2:04)

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Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Bowie's third classic album from his glam period (we can forget about Pin-Ups as a filler album) is the natural conclusion of the emotional arc that ranges from Ziggy Stardust to Aladdin Sane to this. Whereas Ziggy came from space with a message from hope but descended into rock and roll degeneracy, and Aladdin Sane wallowed in the collapse that resulted, Diamond Dogs presents a post-glam vision of a post-apocalyptic future inhabited by punkish gangs of starving youths, in which a horrifying totalitarian society arises (the latter of which is often related to 1984, due to the cannibalising of songs from Bowie's abortive 1984 project).

With Bowie proving adept at lead guitar and a couple of misleadingly trashy glam rock songs (Diamond Dogs and Rebel Rebel), the album lures you in before hitting you with some of Bowie's most progressive works of his glam period - in particular, the sweeping and majestic triptych of Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing Reprise and the dirge of We Are the Dead. The inclusion of funk influences in 1984 prefigures Bowie's transformation into a plastic soul robot on Young Americans, and overall the album captures Bowie breaking free of the glam rock model he'd established for himself to take in a wider range of musical influences. I think it might be the best album he produced until Scary Monsters.

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Latest members reviews

4 stars The Spiders have been disbanded. The cover album has been made. Bowie now had the world at his feet, begging for more. What was Bowie going to do...pretty much anything he wanted. The original idea behind this album was to make a concept stage show of the book '1984' by George Orwell. At the ti ... (read more)

Report this review (#1042813) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Monday, September 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Diamond Dogs is Bowie's deepest album. It has an interesting concept and many new sounds while still continuing the nihilistic apocalyptic themes of the Ziggy era. The glam trash style is still there on the title track and "Rebel Rebel" but you can hear Bowie moving on from his earlier works. ... (read more)

Report this review (#614358) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Saturday, January 21, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In odd album. Part Bowie-part Enoeque Roxy Music-part pure rock and roll. Odd, but great. Along with Ziggy Stardust, this is my favorite of the Bowie catalog. A very dark album with end of the world undertones and themes. There are great rock tracks here such as Diamond Dogs and Rebel Rebel, a ... (read more)

Report this review (#294366) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, August 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is largely skipped over in the David Bowie catalogue, and that is understandable. It's a bit of a strange one. It is, first, a transitional album of sorts. It contains a similar sound to the glam-rock of Bowie's past, while also giving us hints of his soul period yet to come, main ... (read more)

Report this review (#285403) | Posted by Tarquin Underspoon | Sunday, June 06, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a very interesting album from Bowie, and I have listened to it a lot recently. Here David cleverly jumps off the glam rock wagon just before it crashes, that's not to say there are no traces of glam here though. An interesting feature of this album is that Bowie plays most of the instrume ... (read more)

Report this review (#182605) | Posted by burtonrulez | Tuesday, September 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is an independent Bowie without The Spders from Mars.Now,that sounds bad but really this is an enjoyable album. This album opens with the creepy ''Future Legend'',which is a spoken word intro. It fades into the rocking title track.''Diamond Dogs'' is not prog in anyway,shape,or form. I ... (read more)

Report this review (#178005) | Posted by ziggystardust360 | Wednesday, July 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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