Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

DAVID BOWIE

Prog Related • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

David Bowie picture
David Bowie biography
David Robert Jones - Born 8 January 1947 (Brixton, London, UK) - 10 January 2016

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.

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2016 ⭐

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...
read more

DAVID BOWIE forum topics / tours, shows & news


DAVID BOWIE forum topics Create a topic now
DAVID BOWIE tours, shows & news Post an entries now

DAVID BOWIE Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all DAVID BOWIE videos (2) | Search and add more videos to DAVID BOWIE

Buy DAVID BOWIE Music



More places to buy DAVID BOWIE music online

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 | 149 ratings
David Bowie
1967
3.34 | 316 ratings
Space Oddity [Aka: David Bowie, Man Of Words/Man Of Music]
1969
4.03 | 392 ratings
The Man Who Sold the World
1970
4.17 | 525 ratings
Hunky Dory
1971
4.26 | 701 ratings
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
1972
3.84 | 377 ratings
Aladdin Sane
1973
3.05 | 201 ratings
Pin Ups
1973
3.58 | 281 ratings
Diamond Dogs
1974
2.82 | 202 ratings
Young Americans
1975
4.02 | 340 ratings
Station to Station
1976
4.08 | 423 ratings
Low
1977
4.05 | 408 ratings
Heroes
1977
3.48 | 229 ratings
Lodger
1979
4.15 | 366 ratings
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
1980
3.18 | 253 ratings
Let's Dance
1983
2.29 | 140 ratings
Tonight
1984
2.23 | 80 ratings
David Bowie & Trevor Jones: Labyrinth (OST)
1986
2.24 | 118 ratings
Never Let Me Down
1987
3.08 | 110 ratings
Black Tie White Noise
1993
3.33 | 78 ratings
The Buddha Of Suburbia (OST)
1993
3.63 | 168 ratings
1. Outside
1995
2.88 | 158 ratings
Earthling
1997
3.42 | 135 ratings
Hours...
1999
3.75 | 183 ratings
Heathen
2002
3.36 | 139 ratings
Reality
2003
3.88 | 205 ratings
The Next Day
2013
4.51 | 374 ratings
Blackstar
2016

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

2.88 | 63 ratings
David Live
1974
3.88 | 79 ratings
Stage
1978
3.93 | 29 ratings
Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars-The Motion Picture Soundtrack
1983
4.12 | 21 ratings
Santa Monica '72
1994
3.00 | 3 ratings
Rock'n'Roll Suicide
1995
3.79 | 28 ratings
Bowie at the Beeb
2000
3.49 | 25 ratings
Live in Santa Monica'72
2008
4.11 | 38 ratings
A Reality Tour
2010
4.81 | 7 ratings
Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles '74)
2017
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live Nassau Coliseum '76
2017
5.00 | 2 ratings
Welcome to the Blackout (Live London '78)
2018
3.89 | 9 ratings
Glastonbury 2000
2018
3.00 | 1 ratings
Glass Spider (Live Montreal '87)
2019
4.00 | 2 ratings
Serious Moonlight (Live '83)
2019
5.00 | 1 ratings
Ouvrez le chien: Live Dallas 95
2020

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

3.60 | 20 ratings
The Best of Bowie
2002
3.86 | 7 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
4.00 | 1 ratings
Images 1966 - 1967
1973
3.61 | 25 ratings
ChangesOneBowie
1976
3.97 | 21 ratings
Soundtrack Christiane F. - Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo
1981
3.83 | 6 ratings
Changestwobowie
1981
4.00 | 1 ratings
Rare
1982
2.05 | 3 ratings
Fame and Fashion (David Bowie's All Time Greatest Hits)
1984
3.34 | 10 ratings
Sounds + Visions
1989
4.64 | 11 ratings
Changesbowie
1990
3.53 | 25 ratings
The Singles Collection
1993
4.40 | 5 ratings
The Singles 1969 to 1993
1993
2.74 | 10 ratings
The Deram Anthology 1966-1968
1997
4.00 | 6 ratings
London Boy
1998
4.67 | 3 ratings
The Best of David Bowie 1969/1974
1998
4.67 | 6 ratings
The Best of David Bowie 1974/1979
1998
4.00 | 5 ratings
All Saints (Collected Instrumentals 1977 - 1999)
2001
3.39 | 32 ratings
Best of Bowie
2002
3.60 | 5 ratings
The Collection
2005
4.50 | 2 ratings
The Platinum Collection
2005
4.03 | 10 ratings
The Best Of David Bowie 1980/1987 (CD + DVD)
2007
4.00 | 4 ratings
iSelect
2008
4.71 | 7 ratings
Nothing Has Changed
2014
5.00 | 4 ratings
Bowie Legacy
2016
3.00 | 1 ratings
Loving the Alien (1983 - 1988)
2018
4.00 | 1 ratings
Mercury Demos
2019

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Liza Jane (as Davie Jones with The King Bees)
1964
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Pity the Fool (The Manish Boys)
1965
0.00 | 0 ratings
You've Got a Habit of Leaving (as Davy Jones)
1965
4.00 | 1 ratings
Rubber Band
1966
0.00 | 0 ratings
Can't Help Thinking About Me
1966
0.00 | 0 ratings
Do Anything You Say
1966
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Dig Everything
1966
0.00 | 0 ratings
Love You Till Tuesday / Did You Ever Have a Dream
1967
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Laughing Gnome
1967
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rubber Band (US version)
1967
4.73 | 7 ratings
Space Oddity / Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud
1969
3.40 | 10 ratings
Memory Of A Free Festival
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola
1970
5.00 | 1 ratings
All the Madmen
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Prettiest Star
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Holy Holy
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
David Bowie / Dana Gillespie
1971
3.23 | 7 ratings
Starman / John, I'm Only Dancing
1972
3.83 | 5 ratings
Changes / Andy Warhol
1972
5.00 | 3 ratings
Starman / Suffragette City
1972
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Jean Genie
1972
4.04 | 5 ratings
Time / The Prettiest star
1973
2.00 | 1 ratings
Let's Spend the Night Together
1973
3.00 | 1 ratings
Sorrow / Amsterdam
1973
5.00 | 3 ratings
Life on Mars?
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
Drive-in Saturday
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
Knock on Wood
1974
5.00 | 1 ratings
Rock 'n' Roll Suicide
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
1984
1974
3.77 | 4 ratings
Rebel Rebel
1974
4.00 | 1 ratings
Diamond Dogs
1974
4.00 | 3 ratings
Young Americans / Suffragette City
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fame
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
Golden Years / Can You Hear Me
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
TVC 15
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Stay
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Be My Wife
1977
3.09 | 4 ratings
Heroes
1977
3.25 | 4 ratings
Sound and Vision / A New Career in a New Town
1977
5.00 | 1 ratings
Beauty and the Beast
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Breaking Glass
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Boys Keep Swinging
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
D.J.
1979
4.00 | 1 ratings
John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Alabama Song
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fashion
1980
4.20 | 5 ratings
Ashes To Ashes
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
1981
4.00 | 12 ratings
David Bowie In Bertolt Brecht's Baal
1982
3.04 | 6 ratings
Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Modern Love
1983
5.00 | 1 ratings
Let's Dance
1983
0.00 | 0 ratings
China Girl
1983
0.00 | 0 ratings
Tonight
1984
2.33 | 5 ratings
Blue Jean
1984
0.00 | 0 ratings
Loving the Alien
1985
0.00 | 0 ratings
Man in the Middle (Arnold Corns A.K.A. David Bowie and The Spiders from Mars)
1985
4.00 | 1 ratings
This Is Not America (with Pat Metheny Group)
1985
3.00 | 1 ratings
When the Wind Blows
1986
0.00 | 0 ratings
Absolute Beginners
1986
0.00 | 0 ratings
Underground
1986
0.00 | 0 ratings
Day-In-Day-Out
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
Never Let Me Down
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
Time Will Crawl
1987
3.81 | 7 ratings
1966 [Aka: I Dig Everything: The 1966 Pye Singles]
1989
3.08 | 7 ratings
Jump They Say
1993
4.00 | 1 ratings
Earthling in the City
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Little Wonder
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Thursday's Child
1999
4.00 | 1 ratings
Liveandwell.com
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
John, I'm Only Dancing
2012
4.11 | 9 ratings
Where Are We Now?
2013
4.11 | 9 ratings
The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
2013
3.77 | 20 ratings
No Plan
2017
3.00 | 1 ratings
Is It Any Wonder?
2020

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
3.34 | 316 ratings

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

Review by The Anders

3 stars That's one small step for Major Tom - one giant leap for David Bowie.

Or is it the other way around? David Bowie had tried and tried and tried with different band constellations, artist names and style changes, releasing a handful of singles between 1964 and 1967 as well as his debut album in 1967. He had moved from rhythm and blues to cabaret and easy listening, but with little success. The releases have showed some signs that Bowie had some unusual ideas, but the quality was mixed, and overall the songs were not outstanding enough to make an impact on a scene where other artists had done similar things, just way better.

But then in 1969 came a single that didn't sound like anything else. "Space Oddity" was used for the BBC transmissions of the moon landing; it didn't make an impact at first, but later in the same year it suddenly climbed into the UK top 10, becoming David Bowie's first hit. And I think most fans will agree this is where the story really begins. Indeed, almost all Greatest Hits compilations with David Bowie begin with "Space Oddity", or just have it as the oldest track. It is also worth noticing, that the many CD re-releases of his albums begin with this, the 1969 album on which it appears (thus omitting his 1967 debut album which has only been re-releaed separately, along with his early singles). This album was originally released simply as David Bowie in the UK by the Philips label, and as Man of Words, Man of Music in the US (by Mercury if I am not mistaken). Most re-releases of the album have been entitled Space Oddity, probably to avoid confusion with the 1967 Deram album which was also titled David Bowie.

Let us begin with the title track and leave the other songs for later. For the first time, Bowie has written a truely original song. The melody is much more focused than anything he had written before, but a lot of praise should also be put on the creative arrangement. Clearly, there is an echo of psychedelic rock here (as can be heard for instance in the cacophonic fade out), but in some ways I also find it kind of proggy (laugh at me if you like); there is a mellotron after all, but more importantly, the song abandons classic song structure. The initial "verse" ("Ground control to Major Tom") never comes back for instance.

Then there are the lyrics where we meet the astronaut Major Tom for the first time as he is leaving earth with his spaceship, but then something goes wrong, and the ground control (a.k.a the earth) loses contact with him, leaving him to an uncertain destiny. Major Tom reappears in several later Bowie songs, and I suppose you could say he gradually became a sort of an alter ego for David Bowie - who likes to portray other characters (Ziggy Stardust, Halloween Jack, The Thin White Duke, Nathan Adler...). The tale of Major Tom who is lost in space could be interpreted in many ways, and consequently I have always found it kind of sad that the 1980 song "Ashes to Ashes" simply states that "We know Major Tom's a junkie". Surely there are other possibilities in understanding his space adventure than drugs, and I admire many Bowie songs for their ambiguity. Why kill that ambiguity? (apart from that, I really like "Ashes to Ashes", it's a very catchy song from a musical perspective).

"Space Oddity" also shows a clear connection between music and lyrics. You can sense the nervousness about the spaceship taking off during the initial "verse": just listen to the uneasy harmonic structure. In the "bridge" after the second "chorus" where ground control says "There's something wrong, can you hear me Major Tom?", the panic is underlined by some more dramatic chords where we change towards the minor parallel key and then try to get back again, but without succeeding. And I could go on, but it requires more time and space to deliver a full song analysis.

The rest of the album differs a lot from the opening track, being mostly in the area of hippy'ish folk rock, and if you listen to these songs first, and then "Space Oddity" afterwards, the latter doesn't sound like it's from the same album. The main reason probably being that the song "Space Oddity" was produced by Gus Dudgeon, whereas the rest of the album was produced by Tony Visconti - the first of many Bowie albums to be produced by him (he dismissed "Space Oddity" as a "novelty song").

For most part, the other songs are not nearly as strong. "Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed" is more than a little Dylan-influenced, and it has a loooong fade-out; I'm just waiting for it to end. Indeed, long hypnotic fade-outs can be very effective, but it requires a stronger musical base. "Memory of a Free Festival" also contains a long fade-out, repeating the line "The song machine is coming down, and we're gonna have a party" over and over again, a bit like that of "Hey Jude". It is quite catchy, but nowhere near the Beatles masterpiece in terms of musical intensity. Lyrically, the song is interesting though; it seems to question the earnestness of hippie culture: "We claimed the very source of joy ran throug / It didn't but it seemed that way" - or later: "To paint that love upon a white balloon" - that line really says it all: as we know, a balloon is filled with air, and it can easily burst.

"Don't Sit Down" is a an amusing filler that doesn't do any harm nor anything good. It was unlisted on the original album release, but appeared as a hidden track between "Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed" and "Letter to Hermione". It was removed completely on the 1972 re-release, but re-inserted on later CD versions of the album. "God Knows I'm Good" is an attempt at social comment. It has an OK melody, but overall the music of the song is a bit anonymous. The story itself is touching enough, and we really feel sympathy for the old woman who steels the canned food, probably because she couldn't afford it.

In any case, Bowie clearly sounds more comfortable here than in the easy listening universe of his first album. The best of the songs include "Letter to Hermione" which is a moody farewell to a woman. It has a haunting melody and some beautiful melancholic chord changes. "Janine" has quite a catchy chorus, and it is foreshadowing Bowie's play with different personalities in the 70's ("If you take an axe to me, you kill another man, not me at all"). "The Wild-eyed Boy from Freecloud" is another fine song with a melancholic feel. It contains a rather pompous orchestral arrangement which I am unsure of what to think of. One part of me thinks it is too much, another part praises the symphonic elements in it.

The most famous song apart from "Space Oddity" is probably "Cygnet Committee" which seems to be dealing with the flipside of the late 60's counterculture. Centered around a spiritual leader (or "thinker" as he is called in the song) who is rejected by his followers, it touches a theme that was later touched in Ziggy Stardust, but one might also think of The Who's Tommy in this context (the album came out in the same year after all). The song also criticizes the more radical elements of the counterculture with lines such as "And we can force you to be free / And we can force you to belive" or "I will fight for the right to be right / I will kill for the God of the fight for the right to be right". Quite stunning lyrics. However, I don't think the music in this song can really live up to its its words.

Production-wise, there is a clear difference in quality between "Space Oddity" and the rest of the songs. The title song is great sounding with a creative use of the stereo spectre (epecially the vocals, but also the handclaps), but the rest of the album sounds a bit muddy. Clearly, Tony Visconti would improve as a producer later on, but of couse one also has to take the more limited studio technology of the time into consideration.

In general, I think the real milestone of the album is "Space Oddity", deservingly a big classic, and one of Bowie's most famous songs. This is where the "chameleom" truely came into his own. It is easy to hear why it became a single hit whereas the actual album didn't make much impact at the time.

 David Bowie by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1967
2.45 | 149 ratings

BUY
David Bowie
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by The Anders

2 stars This album, if I remember correctly, was released on the same day as the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album, but it was completely ignored. Musically, it is a far cry from Bowies early rhythm and blues singles, being mostly in the style of easy listening and cabaret, sometimes with a feel of 1966/67 "Swinging London". The music is generally not very engaging. The melodies are for most part unmemorably and clumsy, and it often sounds like he is unsure of where the melody should actually go. Consequently they are often difficult to remember. A good example is "Sell Me a Coat" where the melody is very repetetive in the chorus. The most memorable element of that song is probably the "la la la" part before the verses. His chords are usually stronger though, and they sometimes take you to unexpected places. I suspect he may have made the chorus first and then the melody.

Instrumentally, the playing sounds uninspired and very, very decent, and there's practically no energy. There are a few sound gimmicks now and then, like for instance in "Join the Gang", which spice the music up a bit, but only a bit. More outstanding is David Bowie's characteristic singing voice which adds a lot of personality to an otherwise very sterile sounding album.

Perhaps as a result of this, a lot of emphasis is on the lyrics which are often a bit "out there". Listen for instance to "Love You Till Tuesday": "Beautiful baby, my sweet desire started on Sunday, give me your heart and I'll love you till Tuesday... well I might stretch it till Wednesday". The most striking lyrics appear in "We Are Hungry Men" which is about overpopulation and how someone tries to reduce the number of people on earth by drastic means. It's a downright scary song, but it is sadly marked by the same musical weakness as most of the other numbers (uncertain melody and mediocre playing once again) - and then thre's a very annoying "Achtung! Achtung!" speaking voice that mostly sounds like a British idea of a German trying to speak English ( la Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove or several Monty Python sketches), rather than actual German accent.

"When I Live My Dream" is an example of a more cohesive song where music and lyrics fit each other. It is probably the album's best song, but it sounds more like a Frank Sinatra hit than something by the David Bowie we came to know from "Space Oddity" and onwards. Another remarkable track is the closer, "Please Mr. Gravedigger" where Bowie's singing is only accompanied by the sound of rain and thunder. There's some sneezing too, in what is essentially a novelty song. Quite a charming one though.

All in all not a very convincing album, and it is easy to hear why it made little impact at the time. However, you can sense some of the more quirky ideas from Bowie's later work.

Personal favourite song: "When I Live My Dream"

 The Man Who Sold the World by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.03 | 392 ratings

BUY
The Man Who Sold the World
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by The Anders

4 stars I realized that the posts in my Bowie thread became very long, so I thought I might as well just post them as proper reviews. So this is what I do now.

The Man Who Sold the World, in my opinion, is the first really great David Bowie album. On David Bowie/Space Oddity (1969) there is a very unique title song, but the rest of that album did not differ that much from what was otherwise released at that time - at least not musically...

With The Man Who Sold the World he seems to be through with following trends set by others, instead trying more to set the tone himself. This was also true when it came to the visual side. For instance he had begun performing in women's clothes - which at the time seems to have been very controversial and causing quite a stir. For people today, the controversy may be a little hard to understand, but I once read he was threatened with a shotgun, just for performing in a dress.

Also on the album cover of the original British release, he is seen in a dress. I have always loved him for doing that, because he clearly challenged the macho ideals of rock, and that itself is very relieving, at least from my point of view. He would continue to play with sexuality and gender norms with his Ziggy Stardust stage persona a few years later.

But all these things would be very hollow if there hadn't been a clear musical and artistic vision, and that is exactly what we get on The Man Who Sold the World. Stylistically, it is quite a change from David Bowie/Space Oddity, from hippy'ish folk rock towards hard rock, and we get the first glimpses of the glam rock sound from albums like Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. Whereas Space Oddity focused mostly on acoustic guitar, The Man... is all about the electric guitar. Mick Ronson plays a pivotal role here on his first performance on a David Bowie album, and his signature sound is recognized already on the first track, "The Width of a Circle".

The album is sometimes regarded as the birth of glam rock, but there is still an echo of the 60's in the music; perhaps most evident in "She Shook Me Cold" which has a sort of bluesy power trio sound a la the Jimi Hendrix Experience or Cream. Also "After All" with its dreamy, psychedelic feel, has echoes of the 60's.

Composition-wise the songs are becoming more original, but they are not as catchy as the best songs on his later albums. It's one of his less melodic albums; the most melodic song probably being the title track, but that is also characterized by an instantly recognizable guitar riff. But then the music has other qualities. "The Width of a Circle" is basically in two parts with different tempos and time signatures. There is also a small change of time signature in "All the Madmen" as the second chorus begins in 12/8 whereas the rest of the song is in 4/4. On the title track he skips a few beats to get a better flow in the melody (Nirvana, in their version, brought some of the missing beats back, thus making the song sound more regular and taking away some of its quirks, which is why I don't like their version very much).

There are also many fine moments in the production. Favourite parts include the percussion instruments in the title track which add a latin flavour. Then there is the instrumental part in "Saviour Machine" where some keyboard instruments are coming in in the 9th bar, using the stereo spectrum in a creative way. It adds a lot of energy and intensity to the music. And then, perhaps most striking, is the weird recorder riff in "All the Madmen". It sounds totally insane, underlining the song's lyrical content (the recorders reappear in "After All", and later on "Life on Mars?" from Hunky Dory). Also, in "All the Madmen", there is a sudden abrupt break after the first chorus where the music changes mood completely with only some keyboard instruments, and Bowie narrating, but then we go back to the rockband sound with recorders. Another "insane" musical element.

The lyrics are also a thing to behold, and some of them deal with subjects that also occur in later David Bowie albums. "She Shook Me Cold" and "The Width of a Circle" have a clear sexual content, the latter also deals with split personality ("Well I said hello, and I said hello / And I asked "Why not?", and I replied "I don't know"." - this topic of course had already been touched in "Janine" from Space Oddity, and it also foreshadows Bowie's many role playings, for instance with Ziggy Stadust). "Running Gun Blues" is probably a comment on the Vietnam war - the protagonist, if you can call him that, is cold as stone talking proudly about his many killings. The "Supermen" in the final song don't seem very sympathetic either, and they are are "guardians of a loveless isle"?.

I won't pretend I always get what he is trying to say, because many of the lyrics are pretty confusing. But it is hard not to be intrigued by the many idiosynchracies that occur. What about "Please don't believe in me, please disagree with me" (from "Saviour Machine") for instance? A very odd thing to sing.

All in all we have quite a striking album with many musical and lyricals oddities, some of them rather disturbing. But art is not necessarily meant to be pleasant, plus the songs provoke thoughts, however comprehensible or incomprehensible they may be. Because of that, the album keeps fascinating the listener. It is not a masterpiece, because most of the compositions don't seem as mature as those already on the next album, Hunky Dory. But The Man... is still a great album where you keep discovering new dimensions for each listening.

Personal favourite song: "After All".

 Cat People (Putting Out Fire) by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1982
3.04 | 6 ratings

BUY
Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 20-Year Chronological Run-Through*, pt. 20/20: 1982.

-- First review -- The erotic horror movie Cat People, directed by Paul Schrader, starring Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell, was a remake of a 1942 film directed by Jacques Tourneur. I haven't seen the remake, and frankly I'm not interested in it either. The electronica-oriented soundtrack was composed and performed by Italian-born Giorgio Moroder, and undoubtedly it's the theme song (subtitled 'Putting Out Fire') sung by David Bowie that's best remembered of the whole movie. Moroder composed it and Bowie wrote lyrics. Bowie also re-recorded the song for his album Let's Dance (1983). It's a tight and exciting pop song with a dramatic edge, and as such pretty good. It had a big hit appeal and Bowie performed it in his Serious Moonlight tour.

The B-side contains 'Paul's Theme', an electrified and dramatic synth piece. It has a slight resemblance to the 80's Tangerine Dream or Jean Michel Jarre at their catchiest, but the basic rhythm pattern comes closer to the world of disco, naturally: Moroder is dubbed as "the Father of Disco". It's a bit awkward to rate this single on a prog site, but I don't let that disturb me. A solid and effective pop single, no less. The following years saw David Bowie not only singing the theme songs but also acting in several movies.

* I started this year-by-year series in the New Year's Eve. In particular it was inspiring to focus on unreviewed releases [most of the 7" singles plus one album]. Covering the years 1963-1982, this is the full list: The Beatles: She Loves You 7" and A Hard Day's Night 7"; The Moody Blues: Everyday 7" and Boulevard de la Madeleine 7"; The Doors: Break On Through 7"; Genesis: A Winter's Tale 7"; Wigwam: Must Be the Devil 7"; Beggars Opera: Act One; Audience: The House on the Hill; Matching Mole: O Caroline 7"; Queen: Keep Yourself Alive 7"; Robert Wyatt: I'm a Believer 7"; Fruupp: Modern Masquerades; Carpe Diem: En Regardant Passer le Temps; Peter Gabriel: Modern Love 7"; Anthony Phillips: We're All As We Lie 7"; Farout: Further Out; Kate Bush: Babooshka 7"; Styx: Too Much Time on My Hands 7"; David Bowie: Cat People 7".

 When the Wind Blows by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1986
3.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
When the Wind Blows
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars In the mid-80's David Bowie was quite busy in the movie industry, in most cases as a performer of a theme song, but also appearing as an actor in some films, such as the fantasy adventure Labyrinth. When the Wind Blows (1986) is an animated disaster film based on Raymond Brigg's graphic novel, accounting a rural English couple's attempt to survive a nearby nuclear attack. Originally Bowie was to contribute more to the soundtrack but he chose to focus on his upcoming album Never Let Me Down, and Roger Waters was brought in to complete the project instead. The soundtrack album also features contributions from other artists, for example the instrumental Invisible Touch album track 'The Brazilian' by Genesis. The title song was composed by Erdal Kızılay and the lyrics were written by Bowie.

It is an emotionally strong song full of pathos, and especially the slight increase in tempo in the halfway is effective. What I don't like very much is the hard-edged, eighties-styled production. Just like the single for The Falcon and the Snowman theme song 'This Is Not America', the B side contains an instrumental version. In the case of 'When the Wind Blows', the instrumental version works quite nicely on its own, as a mellower orchestral piece. On the other hand it's also more harmless slice of sentimental movie music.

Being fond of Raymond Briggs' works (e.g. The Snowman) I wish to see the film some day.

 This Is Not America (with Pat Metheny Group) by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1985
4.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
This Is Not America (with Pat Metheny Group)
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars Being deeply disappointed at the uncertain situation of the US presidential election -- the world is at the risk of seeing that disgusting, hate-spreading, lying idiot staying in power and suffering the global results -- this song started to play in my mind this morning.

Naturally this collaborative single could just as well have been placed in the discography of PAT METHENY, whose Group made the soundtrack for John Schlesinger's spy drama "The Falcon and the Snowman" (1985). Based on the 1979 book by Robert Lindsey, it tells the true story of two young American men (acted by Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn), who sold US security secrets to the Soviet Union. I saw the film as a teenager and liked it. It was years later I found Pat Metheny, one of my biggest jazz/fusion favourites, and sadly I have no memories of the music on that movie.

The theme song finely sung by David Bowie has been among my favourite post-70's Bowie songs. It is included as a bonus track on the 1995 remaster of Tonight (1984), and it's contained on some of his compilations such as Best of Bowie (2002) and 3-cd Nothing Has Changed (2014). The cool, urban and moody soundscape created by Pat Metheny Group and Bowie's vocals with his interesting lyrics function brilliantly together. I also enjoy the cover by Alice, the Italian pop singer, although the original is clearly better.

Up till now I had never heard the instrumental version (the single's B side). Had I heard it without knowing the vocal version, I probably would appreciate it more, as an elegantly understated and atmospheric Pat Metheny piece, but can't help feeling that something crucial is missing -- the vocals. They simply make it whole.

 Heroes by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1977
3.09 | 4 ratings

BUY
Heroes
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Heroes" (1977) was the second album of Bowie's Berlin trilogy, produced by Tony Visconti and featuring Brian Eno as a central collaborator. Like the preceding album Low (released earlier in 1977), "Heroes" contains several Krautrock-ish or otherwise experimental, more or less ambient oriented (near-) instrumental tracks on its second vinyl side, and this single represents both sides of the classic album.

The title song 'Heroes' is among David Bowie's best known songs, and it hardly needs an introduction. The title refers to the song called 'Hero' on the German band NEU!'s album Neu! '75; Bowie had asked their guitarist Michael Rother to play on the album but that didn't happen. If I remember right from some documentary, the song was inspired by two young lovers that Bowie saw by the Berlin Wall. Also a German-language version ('Helden') was recorded.

On the B side is 'V-2 Schneider', which is an energetic instrumental (except for the repeated title) featuring saxophone played by Bowie himself. It was a tribute to Florian Schneider of the German band Kraftwerk, while V-2 refers to the first ballistic missile. The piece was later heard on the German biographical drama Christiane F. (1981).

I would probably give four stars for "Heroes" (the album), but perhaps three will do for this single. BTW, confusingly the cover art is the same with the album.

 The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.26 | 701 ratings

BUY
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review N 381

'The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars', often shortened to 'Ziggy Stardust', is the fifth studio album of David Bowie and was released in 1972. It's a conceptual album based on a story of a fictional rock star named Ziggy Stardust. Ziggy is the human manifestation of an alien being who is attempting to present humanity with a message of hope in the last five years of the existence of Earth. Ziggy represents the life of a great rock star with the excessive use of drugs and sex, and where in the end he was able of destroy the message due to his own excesses.

'Ziggy Stradust' has eleven tracks. All songs were written and composed by Bowie, except 'It Ain't Easy' written by Ron Davies. The first track 'Five Years' tells of an Earth doomed to destruction in five years in the aftermath of this knowledge. It's a song that begins with a very simple musical idea but that slowly and gradually changes due to a fantastic and an emotional crescendo. This is a fantastic song, very well orchestrated, and that represents an incredible opening number. The second track 'Soul Love' isn't one of the highlights of the album, but definitely is a great song. It's a very good glam rock song, where the guitar and the saxophone play wonderfully and where we can hear the great and powerful voice of Bowie. This version was also released as the B side of the live single 'Blackout', released in 1978. The third track 'Moonage Daydream' is the song that depicts Ziggy's transformation. Lyrically, it describes the creation of is own person from a combination of religion, romance, sex, rebellion and passion, and subsequently he metamorphoses into the rock star. Musically, is an excellent pure hard rock song with some symphonic musical arrangements. It's truly a classic rock song, the heaviest song on the album. The fourth track 'Starman' is the song chosen to be released as the first single of the album. The lyrics describe Ziggy bringing a message of hope and salvation to Earth, through the radio by an alien, Starman. Musically is a song in a gentle pop rock vein, featuring great and beautiful acoustic guitar work and string arrangements by Mick Ronson. This is one of the highlights of the album. The fifth track 'It Ain't Easy' is a cover of a song of Ron Davies. It sounds to the southern country American rock and because of that, in my opinion, it seems to be a song a little bit out of the place. This is my less favourite song and probably the only weak song on the album. The sixth track 'Lady Stardust' is in generally interpreted as alluding to glam rock icon Marc Bolan, the front man of the rock group T. Rex, an artist very appreciated by Bowie. It's a very nice acoustic space ballad, mainly performed by piano and acoustic guitar. This is a song that reminds me very strongly the piano acoustic ballads of Elton John. The seventh track 'Star' is a short song and one of the greatest songs on the album. Lyrically it's the song that begins Ziggy journey as a Rock'n'Roll star. It's a truly glam art rock song which proves that a short song can be a great song. This is the prototype of a perfect rock song. The eighth track 'Hang On To Yourself' is another good and wonderful song of the album, portraying the Spiders from Mars comforting Ziggy. This is a song quite representative of glam rock's influence as a bridge between rock and punk. It's a catchy and wonderful song, as everything on the album is, but a little bit dark. The ninth track 'Ziggy Stardust' was inspired by the legendary Stardust Cowboy. It's a very sad song that shows the decline of the alien rock star. This is the most famous song of the album and probably its best song too. It's an extraordinary iconic song with immortal lyrics, where Bowie's vocals seduce us as never, and Ronson plays as if it was his last time. The tenth track 'Suffragette City' is the song chosen to be released as the third single of the album. It's a fantastic hard rock song that describes Ziggy's paranoia. This is one of the most energetic Bowie's rock songs that feature a very heavy piano riff. It's a kind of a semi-punk/rock music that reminds me Roxy Music. The eleventh track 'Rock'n'Roll Suicide' is the second song from this album to be released as the second single of it. Lyrically it detailed Ziggy's final collapse as an old Rock'n'Roll star. Musically this is a superb song. It's a song at the same time beautiful, dramatic, emotive, passionate and dark. This is one of the best and one of my favourite songs too. It represents a dramatic and a perfect way to close this special and unique album.

Conclusion: 'The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars' is a very special album and one of the best and most representative albums of the glam art rock from the 70's. It became also a landmark and one of the most known and important rock albums ever made. So, 'Ziggy Stardust' became with other albums like 'Roxy Music' and 'For Your Pleasure' from Roxy Music, as one of the albums that most contributed to influence the punk movement and the new wave. Despite 'Ziggy Stradust' being not a truly progressive album, it would be a perfect tragedy not has it in your personal collection, because it's absolutely essential for any classic rock fan. In reality, we are in presence of a brilliant conceptual album that became as one of the greatest musical influences even in the progressive rock music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Blackstar by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.51 | 374 ratings

BUY
Blackstar
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by iluvmarillion

5 stars As most everybody knows David Bowie completed this album in the last year of his life. The album was assembled using a talented group of jazz musicians with Bowie's long time producer Tony Visconti to lay down the 7 tracks and 40 minutes of music. Bowie is not only a musician/ songwriter but also a performance artist who made a video timed to be released with the album which is as much part of the album as the album itself.

Bowie incorporates elements of his demise into the music and while designed to be dark and moody there are enough changes in pace to make it interesting while never venturing into the macabre. The opener Black Star sets the dark tone with lots of keys and synths and what appears a single kettle drum and background sax. The pace picks up with Tis A Pity She Was A Whore which I think is the best track. This time the sax leads with voice trailing off at the end. Lazarus is the second longest track with a slow moving riff which has Bowie looking down on the world and reflecting on his life. Drums and sax swap lead with electric guitar coming in at the end. Girl Loves is one more highlight with a slow repeating theme which suddenly picks up then dies away. Dollar Days features some more superb sax playing. I Can't Everything Give Everything Away leads to a bright finish and is David Bowie's last statement to the world.

There is not one note out of place in this, David Bowie's final album. The world has too few artists and we just have to lament his loss and treasure the music that he gave us. There may be better song writers/ musicians than David Bowie. There may be better performance artists than David Bowie. There may be better albums than Black Star. However there is only one David Bowie.

 Hunky Dory by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.17 | 525 ratings

BUY
Hunky Dory
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

5 stars Often when people are asked to point to David Bowie's first truly amazing album, Hunky Dory is the one that gets mentioned, for reasons that are quite esay to see once giving it a listen. What we've got here is an album that took the grandiose anthems of the previous couple of albums and then ups the ante even further, with countless hooks everywhere underpinned by some remarkable variety in terms of tone and overall feel. This ultimately provides a listening experience that's far more consistently engaging while also having some incredible highlights that still remain some of Bowie's greatest work.

When talking about these highlights, the unforgettable Changes and Life On Mars? are the ones likely to immediately come to mind, and for great reason. With Changes, while the verses are all around well constructed, it's the iconic chorus that really seals this as such a wonderful song, the wonderful escalating flourish of strings right before it erupts into such a simultaneously upbeat, yet wistful feeling burst of energy being charming no matter how many times you've heard it. Life On Mars on the other hand takes a far more grandiose approach, where every moment of the song is leading up to the awe inspiringly climactic chorus. While the melody of the verses is somewhat repetitive, the key changes give it the constant feeling of escalation that makes the song as memorable as it is. In terms of a couple of other songs that are particularly noteworthy, you've got Oh You Pretty Things, which is a similarly fun and infectious track with a very upbeat sound that manages to be outstanding once again based mostly around the charm and amazing melody that Bowie is able to create to such an effective degree. The biggest outlier on the album, yet one of very high quality, is Queen Bitch, which is not only far more energetic, but utilises a more abrasive guitar tone, which when combined with the more sarcastic vocal delivery that Bowie provides on this track, makes this sound very much like a Velvet Underground song. Not only does this bring some freshness to the album, but it's a blast to listen to.

While Hunky Dory likely contains some of the highest highs in David Bowie's career however, it's definitely another very inconsistent album, and one that's extremely top heavy, with most of side A being noticeably better than the second half of this, with the exception of the inconsequential, forgettable Eight Line Poem. It definitely feels like this side of the album was dedicated to the quirkier cuts of the album, and this works to varying degrees of success, as while the majority of these songs are very good, they don't really compare for the most part to the breathtaking highlights of the first half. What makes this less of a problem for the album is that when I listen to songs like Andy Warhol and The Bewlay Brothers without thinking about the masterpieces that came before, they really do reveal just how great they are in their own right, ultimately revealing this to be an album largely composed of amazing tracks, just with some being on a higher calibre.

It's really easy to see why many people consider this album to be one of David Bowie's absolute greatest, given how many stunning moments this has spread throughout, with the filler still for the most part having some semblance of charm, even if FIll Your Heart and Eight Line Poem definitely feel a few cuts below the rest. This is just a really entertaining album all across the board that balances decent variety with a constant sense of fun in order to create a near unforgettable listening experience, and the start of the long line of truly amazing albums that David Bowie would release.

Best tracks: Changes, Oh You Pretty Things, Life On Mars?, Queen Bitch

Weakest tracks: Eight Line Poem, Fill Your Heart

Verdict: This is just one of those albums that is basically essential listening, with there being so much charm packed into almost every moment, making it just an overall joy to listen to, despite the fact that it can initially feel inconsistent. This is one of the albums that I'd consider a great place to start when listening to David Bowie's catalogue for sure, at least for his glam era.

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

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.