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DAVID BOWIE

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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David Bowie biography
David BOWIE is born David Robert Jones on January 8 1947.
He started making music in the late fifties (saxophone) and eventually played in a number of blues/rock bands, releasing his first single Liza Jane with The King Bees in 1964, he also changed his stage name to David BOWIE to avoid confusion with Davy Jones from THE MONKEES. BOWIE demonstrates several traits that single him out as a song-writer of interest to followers of Progressive music: narrative story-telling & characterisation, non-standard song structures, musical eclecticism and a variety of singing styles that have a wide vocal range and mixture of different tones & timbres to suit individual songs and stage personas.

Formative years. The Deram Years and Beckenham Art Labs

From 1966 until 1968 David BOWIE was under contract with Decca's Deram label. In 1967 he released his first album, a psychedelic pop album with music hall/cabaret overtones that show manager Ken Pitt's desire to form BOWIE into an 'all-round entertainer' like Tommy Steele and Anthony Newley when BOWIE's own aims were more Jacques Brel, Bertolt Brecht and Bob Dylan. The album and singles weren't much of a success, but reveal BOWIE's ability to craft simplistic sounding songs that were anything but the whimsical pop they first appear to be, rarely following pop or rock conventions many of these songs are mini-concepts or narratives with dark, subversive, dystopian and 'taboo' themes that he would develop in his later career. Marred by the uninspired addition of superfluous string arrangements the music of this early period has been captured by the Deram Anthology released in 1997 which also contains a number of previously unreleased tracks.

At the start of 1969 David was at a low point in his career. Together with some friends he decided to organise a Folk Club at the Three Tuns. It was an immediate success and soon developed into an Arts Laboratory - attracting talent from all over London and the south east. Musicians who played at the Arts Lab included Peter Frampton, Steve Harley, Dave Cousins and the Strawbs, Rick Wakeman, Tony Visconti and Mick Ronson. There was a lot more than music at the Beckenham Arts Lab. Visual artists created original works, poets gave readings, there were light shows, street theatre, dance - and Brian Moore's unforgettable puppets. Between 1969 and 1973 The Beckenham Arts Lab was a crucible for artistic talent and the launch pad for David Bowie's rise to stardom. Yet suc...
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David Bowie AKA Space Oddity (180 Gram Vinyl)David Bowie AKA Space Oddity (180 Gram Vinyl)
Rhino/Parlophone 2016
Vinyl$12.42
$16.99 (used)
BlackstarBlackstar
Explicit Lyrics
Columbia 2016
Audio CD$6.79
$3.91 (used)
No Plan - EPNo Plan - EP
EP
Columbia 2017
Audio CD$2.29
$6.18 (used)
Legacy (2CD)Legacy (2CD)
Sony Legacy 2016
Audio CD$9.35
$10.90 (used)
Best of BowieBest of Bowie
Virgin / EMI 2006
Audio CD$7.95
$2.33 (used)
The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From MarsThe Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
Remastered
Rhino/Parlophone 2015
Audio CD$5.58
$5.56 (used)
Hunky Dory (180 Gram Vinyl)Hunky Dory (180 Gram Vinyl)
Rhino/Parlophone 2016
Vinyl$18.63
$18.49 (used)
Moulin Rouge! Music from Baz Luhrmann's FilmMoulin Rouge! Music from Baz Luhrmann's Film
Soundtrack
Interscope 2001
Audio CD$0.01
$0.01 (used)
HeroesHeroes
Virgin 1999
Audio CD$2.95
$1.81 (used)
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DAVID BOWIE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DAVID BOWIE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.45 | 122 ratings
David Bowie
1967
3.35 | 244 ratings
Space Oddity [Aka: David Bowie, Man Of Words/Man Of Music]
1969
4.01 | 316 ratings
The Man Who Sold The World
1970
4.15 | 421 ratings
Hunky Dory
1971
4.21 | 565 ratings
The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
1972
3.87 | 303 ratings
Aladdin Sane
1973
3.06 | 163 ratings
Pin Ups
1973
3.61 | 229 ratings
Diamond Dogs
1974
2.76 | 163 ratings
Young Americans
1975
3.95 | 265 ratings
Station to Station
1976
4.05 | 339 ratings
Low
1977
4.03 | 317 ratings
Heroes
1977
3.42 | 183 ratings
Lodger
1979
4.16 | 281 ratings
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
1980
3.04 | 201 ratings
Let's Dance
1983
2.19 | 113 ratings
Tonight
1984
2.14 | 63 ratings
David Bowie & Trevor Jones: Labyrinth (OST)
1986
2.21 | 96 ratings
Never Let Me Down
1987
3.09 | 90 ratings
Black Tie White Noise
1993
3.34 | 60 ratings
The Buddha Of Suburbia (OST)
1993
3.61 | 136 ratings
1. Outside
1995
2.83 | 134 ratings
Earthling
1997
3.45 | 114 ratings
Hours...
1999
3.76 | 148 ratings
Heathen
2002
3.36 | 110 ratings
Reality
2003
3.89 | 163 ratings
The Next Day
2013
4.51 | 248 ratings
Blackstar
2016

DAVID BOWIE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.79 | 51 ratings
David Live
1974
3.83 | 68 ratings
Stage
1978
3.91 | 21 ratings
Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars-The Motion Picture Soundtrack
1983
4.11 | 16 ratings
Santa Monica '72
1994
2.00 | 2 ratings
Rock'n'Roll Suicide
1995
3.91 | 23 ratings
Bowie at the Beeb
2000
3.45 | 19 ratings
Live in Santa Monica'72
2008
4.09 | 32 ratings
A Reality Tour
2010

DAVID BOWIE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.60 | 19 ratings
The Best of Bowie
2002
3.83 | 6 ratings
Serious Moonlight, Live In Vancouver
2009

DAVID BOWIE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
The World Of David Bowie
1970
3.56 | 21 ratings
ChangesOneBowie
1976
3.91 | 16 ratings
Soundtrack Christiane F. - Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo
1981
3.75 | 4 ratings
Changestwobowie
1981
2.05 | 2 ratings
Fame and Fashion (David Bowie's All Time Greatest Hits)
1984
3.24 | 10 ratings
Sounds + Visions
1989
4.63 | 8 ratings
Changesbowie
1990
3.50 | 21 ratings
The Singles Collection
1993
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Singles 1969 to 1993
1993
2.72 | 9 ratings
The Deram Anthology 1966-1968
1997
3.67 | 3 ratings
London Boy
1998
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Best of David Bowie 1969/1974
1998
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Best of David Bowie 1974/1979
1998
4.50 | 2 ratings
All Saints (Collected Instrumentals 1977 - 1999)
2001
3.34 | 27 ratings
Best of Bowie
2002
3.50 | 4 ratings
The Collection
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Platinum Collection
2005
3.96 | 8 ratings
The Best Of David Bowie 1980/1987 (CD + DVD)
2007
4.00 | 2 ratings
iSelect
2008
4.67 | 3 ratings
Nothing Has Changed
2014

DAVID BOWIE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.82 | 3 ratings
Space Oddity / Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud
1969
2.71 | 7 ratings
Memory Of A Free Festival
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Starman / John, I'm Only Dancing
1972
3.86 | 2 ratings
Changes / Andy Warhol
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
Young Americans / Suffragette City
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sound and Vision / A New Career in a New Town
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ashes To Ashes
1980
3.89 | 9 ratings
David Bowie In Bertolt Brecht's Baal
1982
3.33 | 3 ratings
Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
1982
2.00 | 1 ratings
Blue Jean
1984
3.64 | 5 ratings
1966 (Aka 'I Dig Everything: The 1966 Pye Singles)
1989
3.08 | 7 ratings
Jump They Say
1993
4.00 | 5 ratings
Where Are We Now?
2013
4.00 | 6 ratings
The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
2013
4.00 | 7 ratings
No Plan
2017

DAVID BOWIE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Space Oddity [Aka: David Bowie, Man Of Words/Man Of Music] by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.35 | 244 ratings

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Space Oddity [Aka: David Bowie, Man Of Words/Man Of Music]
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by VianaProghead

3 stars Review Nş 112

'Space Oddity' is the second studio album of David Bowie and was released in 1969. It was regarded as a mix of folk, rock, psychedelic, space, pop and progressive rock and a transition album between the music of the 60's and what would be the future music of the 70's. So, basically 'Space Oddity' can be viewed, in retrospect, as all that Bowie had been and a little of what he would become, in the next years. It represents a big step in relation with his debut album. It was regarded as a mix of folk, rock, psychedelic, spacey music, pop and progressive rock. We can say that basically it's a transition album between the music of the 60's and what would be the future music of the 70's.

'Space Oddity' has ten tracks. All songs were written and composed by Bowie. The first track is the title track 'Space Oddity'. It was released as a single in 1969. The song is about the launch of Major Tom, a fictional astronaut, which name alludes to the science fiction film '2001: A Space Odyssey', directed by Stanley Kubrick. This is a fantastic song with interesting lyrics and good music, very relevant even today, and is a mark of the end of the 60's. It became an icon and a masterful song of him. Rick Wakeman was superb on the mellotron and gives to the track a progressive final touch. The second track 'Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed' is another great song that starts with Bowie's 12 string acoustic guitar and that soon moves into a more rock style with great rhythm and a fantastic harmonica working. This is a typical folk/rock song in the usual Bob Dylan's musical style. The third track '(Don't Sit Down)' is a very short track with only 40 seconds. It can't be considered properly a song. It has no musical structure but only a spontaneous studio joke made during the recording sessions. In some later releases, it was even removed, showing that it can't be considered properly a truly song. The fourth track 'Letter To Hermione' is a nice acoustic ballad, the first of the album. It's a love letter to Hermione Farthingale that became Bowie's girlfriend and they lived together for a short while, in London. It's a beautiful and interesting song where Bowie shows his soul in a very real and poignant way. The fifth track 'Cygnet Committee' is a very ambitious progressive folk rock song and represents one of the lengthiest Bowie's studio recording songs. Lyrically is very strong and one of the highlights of the album. It's an epic track with nearly 10 minutes long and where Bowie provides a beautiful vocal work. It's a lengthy song that gradually moves from slow to rapid and vice versa. The sixth track 'Janine' is the second folk rock song on the album with a pure Bob Dylan's musical style. It's a beautiful acoustic ballad with nice and interesting lyrics and where the melody has an interesting flowing. It's a song with a nice mixture of acoustic and electric guitar works, a good bass line and where Bowie's vocals serve the song perfectly well. The seventh track 'An Occasional Dream' is a short and gentle love song with a beautiful flute musical arrangement about a very brief and intense affair. We are in presence of another folk rock ballad with a very interesting, pleasant and peaceful tune. The eighth track 'Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud' was the song chosen to be released as the B side of the single 'Space Oddity'. It's one of the most progressive songs on the album in the pure symphonic style. It's a song with good lyrics and is divided into several musical sections, which features full orchestral arrangements. It's also the debut song recorded by Bowie with Mick Ronson. The ninth track 'God Knows I'm Good' is another folk song where Bowie plays his 12 string acoustic guitar, which he often do on the album. It has a nice melody and an interesting catchy story, a woman stealing food and saying to God that she remains a good person. It's a very good folk song with great acoustic guitar working. The tenth and last track 'Memory Of A Free Festival' is the second epic song of the album. It's a psychedelic folk space rock song with good lyrics and nice tunes. The track is about a festival that Bowie organized in London, in 1969. I agree with some reviewers when they say that the first part is very interesting, but the second part is a little bit repetitive. Anyway, this is an interesting way to close this nice album.

Conclusion: This is my first review of a Bowie's studio album on Progarchives. However, I had already reviewed his live album 'Stage', before. This is also one my oldest albums in my vinyl collection and I must confess that I always had a soft spot for this album. It always was and it still remains to me, as one of my favourite albums from Bowie. I can clearly see some parallelism between 'Space Oddity', Genesis' 'Trespass' and Tim Buckley's 'Goodbye And Hello', but due to different reasons. 'Space Oddity' is for Bowie's fans the same thing that 'Trespass' is for Genesis' fans. Despite both albums being the second studio albums from them, both represent, in a certain way, their real debut album. By the other hand, 'Space Oddity' and 'Goodbye And Hello' are two excellent albums and both represent, in my humble opinion, two of the best and most representative albums from progressive folk and psychedelic music. They represent, in my humble opinion, two of the best examples of the changing of the rock music in the end of the 60's. So, despite it can't be considered a masterpiece or an excellent album it has its merits and deserves to be fully appreciated.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Blackstar by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.51 | 248 ratings

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Blackstar
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Mournfully woeful, the Bowie star slowly fades into dark matter, a final testimony to his art and his rather unique place in the musical constellation. Going over all his chameleon-like alterations/variations would be pedant and utterly boring, definitely not urban chic, a trait David owned in spades. Personally, I deeply enjoyed the decidedly prog-rock leanings of '1.Outside', an anti-pop testament from a pop artist who ruled this contradiction with few rivals! Blackstar shimmers in shivering galactic sheen, before evolving into a tortuous interstellar dirge, complete with Nik Turner-like sax squawks, bubbly synths and a vocal that transcends space oddity and hunky dory time. Major Tom in a NASA capsule.

The man who sold the world lands back on earth and wanders straight into some futuristic bordello, screaming 'saxual' bondage and whiplash beat, surrounded by pin ups and diamond dogs, your typical distorted young American masquerading as a lad somewhat insane. 'Tis a pity she was a whore' is not a misogynist statement but rather a personally profound regret, perhaps for having lived a life full of scary monsters and low heroes (Ziggy, Duke, Sane, Earthling etc..) and indulging in transgender exploration, bending rules and preconceived notions.

'Lazarus' is quite the 21st century ballad, a lovely song coated in alleged sweetness but really more menacing and bittersweet, just barely below the surface. It hit me quite quickly how much it has a spiritual resemblance to Porcupine Tree's classic song of the same name, Prog-pop songs that exude feeling and 'scars that can't be seen', a tremendous lullaby of magnificence and despair. David's vocal is transcending, egged along by a poignant saxophone spread, courtesy of Donny McCaslin. The moody outro is pure gold, gentle and exalted.

Hey, let's dance a bit with 'Sue' because David of Suburbia will never let you down, even if he is the only DJ, but tonight it's in a decadent, dissonant and a paranoid club, where everyone is wearing black ties but have no faces, surrounded by white noise and an absolutely wicked percussive back beat. Intense, corrosive, ashen, the arrangement is a musical Polaroid of instant gratification (they do something in the weeds), a dizzying palette of oddity that somehow makes the skin crawl, as he intones 'soon goodbye'. Eerie! This is not Donna Summer but Sue.

Kindergarten-like recitation appears with obsessive 'Girl Loves Me', another swirling, drum-punched, bass sweltered and echo-laden voice masterpiece. Ding-ding! Troubling material, Heathen reality. Just like the next day offers a new sun, sweeping relief comes with the symphonic 'Dollar Days', a gorgeously orchestrated and lovingly sung track that expresses David's sweet side, 'never seeing the English evergreens' as Donny does his finest Andy Mackay tribute on sax, blowing mighty and sweaty. This segues straight into the last song, the finale 'I Can't Give Everything' , a perfect cover to consider for Bryan Ferry, Martin Fry, David Gahan, Jim Kerr, Bono and the hundreds of emotional singers out there.

Finally, the drum work here really stands out, a brazen blend of rock pummeling and jazzy twists, giving very track a pulse, a beat, perhaps knowing full well that the motor will soon pause into park. Mark Guiliana is a stellar stick man. Freddie and Davie can now sing Ashes to Ashes without sounding prophetic or feeling Under Pressure. Legends live on eternal . RIP

5 'toiles noires

 Blackstar by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.51 | 248 ratings

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Blackstar
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Corcoranw687

4 stars 4.25 stars. The video for the title track took me by surprise, at first noticing the length of the video I was watching and then the startling visuals and dynamic music the following ten or so minutes would contain. It wasn't even close to what one would have expected from a Bowie single in in the last week of 2015, especially given the more focused approach to the songs on The Next Day. I remember passing on watching the video for Lazarus, since I'd already heard "Blackstar" and "Sue" before, I wanted to hear the rest all together. The feelings I associated with the album in the two days after it was released were of feeling very frantic and lost. I was even listening to it on the way to work the morning his death took over the news. At first I saw him on the news and was excited for a moment, feeling like they were really promoting the album and might give an interview or something. The feelings now associated with the album can only be of a dying man making his final collection of songs, especially reflected in lyrics for "Lazarus", "Dollar Days", and "I Can't Give Everything Away". The other songs range from the incredible "Blackstar" which must be heard to believe, to a few truly odd and downright creepy jazz inspired songs that fill the album out. This exceeded all of my expectations upon release and still inspires after a year of frequent plays. Certainly a top 5 Bowie album for me
 Blackstar by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.51 | 248 ratings

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Blackstar
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Mingo

4 stars It has been such a bad year having lost so many of these visionaries. Bowie was one for me. This album is clearly a milestone again. The content is great, not the best he has done of course but I doubt there are many who could have pulled this off in the health he was in while making it. It does sound real and that is something in these days of the predictable sound we hear in rock now. Will anybody ever take the place of Bowie? There is no sign of it yet. This album reminds me of a final album that sounds not even slightly like this one. Queen. Both sound like there is no attempt to be commercial radio stations but also not trying to be too clever. Excellent and I am glad I bought this.
 Hunky Dory by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.15 | 421 ratings

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Hunky Dory
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This early work by Bowie has irresistible charm and depth, sticking to that sort of energetic mid-tempo pop-rock that appeals to pretty much everyone. Not yet the "glam rocker," Bowie here has crafted some handsomely arranged rock n' roll that wraps up a variety of styles and tones - from the boogie-woogie, to folk, to western, to classical, and back to rock n' roll again. It's a great listen, often lush and always emotive.

A handful of standouts, like the immensely likable "Changes," intricately composed "Life on Mars?", and experimental "Andy Warhol," grab one's attention. The other songs, while offering many points of interest for the careful listener, do drift somewhat into the background of acoustic and string textures. For me, the impression is that Hunky Dory would make excellent dinner-party music; inoffensive in its mild tone but also fun for its genuine charm. There's a timelessness here and in Bowie's performance. Bowie's voice and lyrics are of course excellent, as is the songwriting in general. Instrumental work is fine; not much to laud but effective overall.

Recommended but not essential. Hunky Dory is great if you're interested in Bowie the musician, or for thoughtful pop-rock that proves that the '70's really are the time to go for creative and genuine music.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

 Blue Jean by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Blue Jean
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars Tonight (1984) is generally seen as one of the weakest Bowie albums, and I have to agree. Let's Dance (1983) had been a gorgeous comeback into the charts; the superb hits 'China Girl' and 'Let's Dance' still sound very good and can truly be considered as pop classics. The follow-up album continues in the same direction but fails artistically -- commercially it did quite well, though. The album contains just two highlights, or, to put it more plainly, two good songs in the first place. One is the exciting opener 'Loving the Alien' and the other is 'Blue Jean'. Both were released as singles and are among his best known songs of the 80's.

'Blue Jean' has a bold attitude, an effective sharpness. The music video by Julien Temple is quite enjoyable too, featuring Bowie in a double role: as a fancy-dressed performer and as a clumsy ordinary man on his miserable date with a beautiful woman. Of course the composition itself is pretty repetitive, but the execution is very succesful. The marimba (or is it xylophone?), the delicious drum fills ("She's got turned-up nose" ...) and a terrific vocal job. 3½ stars for 'Blue Jean', not quite deserving a classic status.

The B side also comes from the album Tonight, sadly. 'Dancing With the Big Boys' is... frankly, disgusting to my ears. It is noisy and all over the place, but with very thin substance -- musically or lyrically. The composition itself could serve as a harmless album filler, but the angry, hard arrangement finished with painfully sharp brass sounds and shouty vocals, shared with the co- writer Iggy Pop, makes it intolerable to me, thus dropping my rating to just two stars.

 Changes / Andy Warhol by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1972
3.86 | 2 ratings

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Changes / Andy Warhol
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Just added six singles to David Bowie's page, and there would be plenty more out there (discogs.com is a good source). This one is an outtake from his excellent breakthrough album Hunky Dory (1971), featuring a well-known hit and a less known album track.

'Changes' is among the handful of Bowie songs I've loved since my early teens. Actually the compilation titled ChangesOneBowie pretty much epitomizes my early relationship with his music: the 70's hits (plus the then-newer 80's hits, obviously), not yet diving deeper into his album catalogue. This song is simply charming and amicable in its laid-back melodicism. The arrangement, featuring piano and saxophone, is elegantly bordering between rock and entertainment music. And together with The Who's 'My Generation', 'Changes' is of course the most famous pop song with stuttering: "ch-ch-ch-ch-changes".

'Andy Warhol' is an acoustic rock song with slightly bittersweet lyrics on the modern art world. Not bad, but musically it wears itself out much sooner than many other songs of Hunky Dory. For the loveliness of 'Changes', a four-star rating seems justified.

 David Live by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Live, 1974
2.79 | 51 ratings

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David Live
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Bowie missed a trick here by not calling this one Live Oddity, because this is a truly strange live album. To many, it was a massive disappointment on its original release, because it offers little of the glam rock style which, as of Diamond Dogs, David was still most closely associated with.

With the Spiders having broken up (just as Ziggy promised they would be!), Bowie had cobbled together a new band led by Michael Kamen and performed his repertoire in a curious art rock style which worked in a bunch of influences, including a mild dose of the Philly soul which would in later legs of the tour come to dominate it sound and be the fulcrum of Young Americans.

At the same time, the space given to the band to jam away at times makes it feel a bit looser and more classic rock- oriented than that stylistically very disciplined album, whilst at points the presentation feels like it is trying to crawl towards something like Bowie's late-1970s art rock sound as on Station to Station without being entirely sure how to get there, Young Americans having been perhaps a necessary detour along the way to help Bowie get his sound in order before pushing on.

In terms of sound quality, it is alright in general, though it can be a little heavy on the audience noise and Bowie sometimes seems to be the worse for wear. This was the tour documented on the classic Cracked Actor documentary, of course, so we're coming into that bit of the 1970s where Bowie and cocaine where pretty much one and the same.

Ultimately, it's a mess, but it's an interesting enough mess that Bowie fans interested in this strange transitional time may find it worthwhile. It's at its best when it's doing the torch song type compositions, like Time from Aladdin Sane or the Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise) triptych from Diamond Dogs.

 Santa Monica '72 by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Live, 1994
4.11 | 16 ratings

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Santa Monica '72
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Widely bootlegged before it finally got an official release in 2008, this album captures Bowie plus Spiders on the Ziggy Stardust tour of the US. Slipping in a preview of the next album in the form of Jean Genie, for the most part it's a fast- paced and energetic runthrough of the best of the preceding four albums from Bowie's 1969 self-titled release to Ziggy Stardust itself.

The band are in a rough and ready mood, giving the material a big injection of garage rock that really teases out the proto-punk attitude of the louder numbers and makes the renditions here contrast interestingly with the studio works. Perhaps the biggest deviation comes in the performance of Space Oddity, where wild vocal improvisations take the part of some of the instrumental sections (like the "liftoff" sound) that would have otherwise been tricky to reproduce on stage at the time.

The mix isn't always the best and the band do get sloppy here and there, but there's an undeniable energy to the performances which will win over all but the cloth-eared - and as Bowie notes on the back cover, Mick Ronson was absolutely on fire during this gig.

 Blackstar by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.51 | 248 ratings

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Blackstar
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by RainingStigmata

4 stars Boy what a ride! The first time I listened through this album the time past in the blink of an eye, which is surprising as usually in prog there requires a lot of thought put into the music by the listener before the genius is seen. It's tough to put into words exactly how I feel about this album and David Bowie as I have never really sat down and listened to this sort of music as such, being more a lover of Metal. Below are my thoughts in my listen to this beautiful piece by David Bowie.

Blackstar - A haunting introduction with such an infectious beat and yet caught me out in places not knowing where I was - brilliant beginning. Having not listened to much Bowie, really only his "hits" - I wasn't sure if this was his actual singing voice now. Well that was answered about 5 minutes in when the pieces moves into a more clean feel with higher hopes than the daunting intro. A few minutes later, back to haunting and the unknown. What an opener! The supporting instrumentation here adds beautiful accompaniment to the melancholy of the drums and vocals. Reminded me in parts of the haunting passages performed by The Beach Boys when they went artsy.

'Tis a Pity She Was a Whore - Nice rock beats to start off followed by some wandering saxophone to begin. The vocals kick in and it's still - not sure. Pessimistic sounding but optimistic feel? Again after not listening to much Bowie this is a real ride so far. Some nice introduces of the sax and piano providing a nice jazz contrast against the more rockier sounding drums.

Lazarus - Nice, slow and melancholic beginning, with some great sounding sax thrown in. This reminds me of some other fairly recent "ballads" that other bands in the prog genre go through, with a drum loop, sad accompaniment and a beautiful voice on top providing the perfect level of thought-provocation in the listener. The piece does build however and the message behind it feels extremely foreshadowing of what was to come for Bowie. This extra meaning and the subsequent event of his death really hit a nerve with me while listening, that i've had to listen to it back. Beautiful. One of my favourites on the album.

Sue (Or In a Season of Crime) - There seems to be an emerging trend on this album for amazing drumming with the haunting vocals of Bowie playing off against the supporting instrumentation with well calibrated ease. The guitars really drive this song with a repeating motif throughout contrasting this to TaPSWaW, making this a heavier sounding track with so much more going on in it. How about that climax! What beautiful drumming and effects to end the song.

Girl Loves Me - Another haunting piece with drums keeping the beat in a loop and supporting instruments feeling a lot more in sync, slightly orchestral as opposed to the first half of the album where it felt a lot more driven by jazz. This may take a couple of listens to truly understand and get a hold of but once you do it will be hard to turn it off, especially if you miss Mondays.

Dollar Days - Beautiful start of saxophone and piano already reminds me of 90's television show introductions. That probably sounds worse than what I mean. Once the vocals kick in this quickly leaves us however. David's voice feels lot brighter in this song. Less haunting, more conventional. The saxophone solo provides some nice reprisals of the introduction as the song builds to a crescendo, and there's the guitar! Feels like absolutely perfect timing. The drums become more busy as the music ends.... in a dance? Wow. The other of my favourites on this album.

I Can't Give Everything Away - The final song of the album, and it feels like the music has passed in no time. The drums fall into a familiar groove in line with most of the album but again Bowie's vocals feel like they've evolved over the course of the album from dark, daunting, dreary to a more hopeful and optimistic sound, and this even includes the music behind him. Donny McCaslin again is having a great time on this album, and then a beautiful guitar solo to transition from the orchestral background to a more rock driven feel to end the album.

In sum, a haunting album to begin with turns more bright and hopeful towards the end of the piece with intense sincerity played on behalf of all the players on the album.

Thanks to micky for the artist addition. and to Dean for the last updates

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