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DAVID BOWIE

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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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...
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DAVID BOWIE discography


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

2.44 | 161 ratings
David Bowie
1967
3.35 | 330 ratings
Space Oddity [Aka: David Bowie, Man Of Words/Man Of Music]
1969
4.02 | 409 ratings
The Man Who Sold the World
1970
4.19 | 547 ratings
Hunky Dory
1971
4.26 | 725 ratings
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
1972
3.85 | 394 ratings
Aladdin Sane
1973
3.04 | 213 ratings
Pin Ups
1973
3.60 | 297 ratings
Diamond Dogs
1974
2.83 | 215 ratings
Young Americans
1975
4.02 | 362 ratings
Station to Station
1976
4.09 | 440 ratings
Low
1977
4.05 | 425 ratings
Heroes
1977
3.47 | 243 ratings
Lodger
1979
4.14 | 379 ratings
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
1980
3.19 | 267 ratings
Let's Dance
1983
2.30 | 149 ratings
Tonight
1984
2.23 | 84 ratings
David Bowie & Trevor Jones: Labyrinth (OST)
1986
2.25 | 126 ratings
Never Let Me Down
1987
3.08 | 119 ratings
Black Tie White Noise
1993
3.30 | 82 ratings
The Buddha Of Suburbia (OST)
1993
3.63 | 174 ratings
1. Outside
1995
2.89 | 165 ratings
Earthling
1997
3.43 | 141 ratings
Hours...
1999
3.74 | 194 ratings
Heathen
2002
3.38 | 147 ratings
Reality
2003
3.88 | 220 ratings
The Next Day
2013
4.50 | 393 ratings
Blackstar
2016

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

2.89 | 65 ratings
David Live
1974
3.89 | 81 ratings
Stage
1978
3.93 | 29 ratings
Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars-The Motion Picture Soundtrack
1983
4.10 | 22 ratings
Santa Monica '72
1994
3.00 | 3 ratings
Rock'n'Roll Suicide
1995
3.80 | 30 ratings
Bowie at the Beeb
2000
3.48 | 25 ratings
Live in Santa Monica'72
2008
4.09 | 39 ratings
A Reality Tour
2010
4.71 | 9 ratings
Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles '74)
2017
3.75 | 4 ratings
Live Nassau Coliseum '76
2017
4.69 | 4 ratings
Welcome to the Blackout (Live London '78)
2018
3.87 | 11 ratings
Glastonbury 2000
2018
3.67 | 3 ratings
Glass Spider (Live Montreal '87)
2019
3.75 | 4 ratings
Serious Moonlight (Live '83)
2019
4.00 | 3 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
3.75 | 8 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
3.60 | 28 ratings
ChangesOneBowie
1976
3.98 | 22 ratings
Soundtrack Christiane F. - Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo
1981
3.75 | 8 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
4.58 | 12 ratings
Changesbowie
1990
3.53 | 25 ratings
The Singles Collection
1993
4.40 | 5 ratings
The Singles 1969 to 1993
1993
2.70 | 11 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
3.41 | 33 ratings
Best of Bowie
2002
3.60 | 5 ratings
The Collection
2005
4.33 | 3 ratings
The Platinum Collection
2005
4.03 | 10 ratings
The Best Of David Bowie 1980/1987 (CD + DVD)
2007
4.00 | 5 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
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Width of a Circle
2021

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
4.74 | 8 ratings
Space Oddity / Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud
1969
3.22 | 9 ratings
Memory Of A Free Festival
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola
1970
5.00 | 2 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
3.30 | 8 ratings
Starman / John, I'm Only Dancing
1972
3.88 | 6 ratings
Changes / Andy Warhol
1972
5.00 | 5 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 | 4 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
5.00 | 1 ratings
Fame
1975
4.00 | 2 ratings
Golden Years / Can You Hear Me
1975
5.00 | 1 ratings
TVC 15
1976
4.00 | 1 ratings
Stay
1976
4.00 | 1 ratings
Be My Wife
1977
3.17 | 5 ratings
Heroes
1977
3.67 | 6 ratings
Sound and Vision / A New Career in a New Town
1977
5.00 | 2 ratings
Beauty and the Beast
1978
5.00 | 1 ratings
Breaking Glass
1978
4.00 | 1 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
3.75 | 12 ratings
David Bowie In Bertolt Brecht's Baal
1982
3.04 | 7 ratings
Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
1982
3.00 | 1 ratings
Modern Love
1983
4.50 | 2 ratings
Let's Dance
1983
4.00 | 1 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
5.00 | 1 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
 Station to Station by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.02 | 362 ratings

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Station to Station
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 453

"Station To Station" is the tenth studio album of David Bowie and was released in 1976. It's generally regarded as one of his most significant musical works. "Station To Station" is also notable for being a vehicle for his last great persona, the Tim White Duke. Impeccably dressed in a white shirt, black pants and vest, Duke was a hollow man who sang love songs with a desperate intensity while feeling nothing. The character has been described as a dement aristocrat, a zombie amoral and an Aryan superman without any kind of emotions. This character greatly inspired David Sylvian to create his own style. Japan's sound was still noticeably influenced by music acts such as David Bowie and Roxy Music. "Station To Station" was a transitional album for Bowie. It presents a new direction with the use of synthesizers and motorik rhythms influenced by German electronic bands like Kraftwerk and Neu! This trend would culminate in some of his best and most acclaimed studio works, the "Berlin Trilogy", "Low", relesed in 1977, "Heroes", also released in 1977 and "Lodger", released in 1979, all recorded with the participation of Brian Eno. It has been described as one of his most accessible albums and at the same time more impenetrable. It was recorded soon after he completed filming for Nicholas Roeg's movie "The Man Who Felt The Earth". The cover of the album even shows a scene from the movie. The final result of "Station To Station" is that this is an album that is both, musically accessible and lyrically elliptical, a transition between the plastic soul of "Young Americans" and the chilly electronic hum of his "Berlin Trilogy" that would follow. But, if "Young Americans" often felt like a studied genre exercise, "Station To Station" filtered that rhythmic influence through some of Bowie's obsessions at the time, the austere Krautrock of Kraftwerk and Neu!, and his occult obsession by Nazism. But, perhaps the most bizarre thing about "Station To Station" is that an album of such sinister origin would turn out to be Bowie's highest charting album ever in the U.S. A., until "The Next Day" in 2013. "Station To Station" has six tracks. All songs were written by David Bowie, except "Wild Is The Wind" written by Ned Washington and Dimitri Tiomkin. The first track is the title track "Station To Station". This is Bowie's lengthiest song on any studio album of him, with above 10 minutes. The lyrics contain several literary and mystical references and it's also the song that presents Bowie as Thin White Duke. Musically, this is a fantastic musical journey in rock and funky music styles and became as one of the best and most important tracks of Bowie's musical career. The second track "Golden Years" became the first song to be released as a single. Originally was written for Elvis Presley, but was rejected by him. Written under the musical influence of funk and soul, it's a very good song, but it's more similar in style to his previous studio album "Young Americans" than the rest on "Station To Station", which received more influences from electronic music. The third track "Word On A Wing" was written while he was filming "The Man Who Sold The World". The Christian element of this song is another form of Thin White Duke tests his indifference through religion. This is a wonderful song full of emotion and with a beautiful piano performance that reminds us, his previous musical style. It's a very touching song where Bowie exposes his weaknesses with truly sincerity. The fourth track "TVC 15" was the second song chosen to be released as a single. This song was inspired by an episode, during a drug period, when he was hallucinated and believed the television set was swallowing his girlfriend. It's an excellent funk rock song very catchy and very intense. This is, in my humble opinion, one of the most interesting and original songs that Bowie ever wrote. The fifth track "Stay" was the third song of the album to be released as a single. Like many of the tracks on the album, this is one more piece of music driven by a funk riff. It features a chamberlain, the American precursor of British mellotron and it features also an excellent guitar performance all over the song, and a very solid percussion work. The sixth and last track "Wild Is The Wind" is the only cover song on the album. This is a great version of the original song and represents one of the best musical moments on the album. I agree with ZowieZiggy when he wrote that we are in presence of one of the best vocal performances from David Bowie and, like him, I can also listen to the song till the exhaustion. This song represents a perfect way to close this magnificent, surprising and excellent musical work. Conclusion: "Station To Station" belongs to my old vinyl collection as one of my oldest albums. "Space Oddity", "The Man Who Sold The World", "Heroes", "Stage", "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" and "Let's Dance" are the other oldest Bowie's albums in my musical vinyl collection. So, I know it since it was released and it was always one of my favourite Bowie's albums too. It's true that "Station To Station" isn't a really progressive album. However, it's an excellent art rock album and very experimental too, to be loved and appreciated by any true progressive fan. So, I can strongly recommend it for all progressive people with a very open mind. If David Bowie was never a truly progressive musician, he always was an aesthetic artist and an experimental rock musician that explored several styles of music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Width of a Circle by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2021
3.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
The Width of a Circle
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by sl75

— First review of this album —
3 stars A dive into the archives for just one year of David Bowie's long career, 1970, featuring most of the non-album singles from that year, and extensive live recordings.

The first CD consists entirely of a live set recorded for John Peel's The Sunday Show in February 1970. It was apparently his first performance with Mick Ronson. The set draws mostly on the Space Oddity album, but also includes embryonic versions of songs he would record later, notably an unfinished version of The Width Of a Circle.

The second CD opens with songs recorded during a live performance of Lindsay Kemp's pantomime "Pierrot In Turquoise or The Looking Glass Murders. A throwback to an older Bowie period, the set is bookended by his 1967 song When I Live My Dream, with short songs written for the show (in some cases using musical material he would develop into other songs eg Threepenny Pierrot which would become London Bye Ta-ta.

Later on the CD, there is a live set recorded for Sounds Of The 70s, featuring the band then known as Hype, with Ronson now much more integrated into the sound. They perform one reimagined track from the Space Oddity album, embryonic versions of two songs from The Man Who Sold The World, and a heavy rock cover of Lou Reed's Waiting For The Man.

The balance of the CD consists of his 1970 singles, both in their original versions, and in recent remixes by Tony Visconti (including an unsplit version of Memory Of A Free Festival). (I'm honestly not sure how much the remixes add to the listening experience.)

It's interesting listening for how it captures a transitional period in Bowie's career, as he moved from a singer-songwriter-ish phase to developing a rockier sound with Ronson. There's the tension between on the one hand attempting to produce catchy pop singles (in an unsuccessful attempt to get him back into in the pop charts he'd briefly topped the previous year), while also creating longer more exploratory pieces. Hearing the older songs from the Space Oddity album played in this way gave me a new appreciation for some of those songs.

I'd love to rate it higher, but it's really only an album for committed fans and collectors.

 Hunky Dory by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.19 | 547 ratings

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Hunky Dory
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by The Anders

5 stars When Hunky Dory was released in late 1971, David Bowie had almost finished recording Ziggy Stardust. Perhaps knowing what was to come, his new record label RCA did little to promote this album, and it initially sold poorly, despite some very positive reviews. But after the breakthrough with Ziggy Stardust, it climbed up to No. 3 on the British album chart, and today it remains one of Bowie's most popular albums with signature songs like "Changes" and "Life on Mars?".

In reality, Hunky Dory is one of his less ambitious works, and in a way it feels like a sort of interplay before the following more spectacular album release. But it nevertheless contains some very strong songs, and it is the first fully mature album from David Bowie as a songwriter. It is also a slightly atypical Bowie album, containing some relatively light songs that are very much held in a singer/songwriter tradition, being based mostly on piano or acoustic guitar. As such, it is probably his most accessible album overall, even though later productions like Let's Dance had a broader commercial appeal.

The best known songs are of course "Changes" and "Life on Mars?". "Changes" is the song with the most pop appeal, being built around a very effective hookline: "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strange". But as the the lyrics suggest, it is not just plain pop. The chord changes, especially in the intro, are very delicate, and the cinematic strings fit perfectly here. Lyrically it is a kind of credo for Bowie, looking back at his career up until then: "Every time I thought I got it made, it seemed the taste was not so sweet, so I turned myself to face me". That's exactly what his career would be about: turning and facing the strange.

"Life on Mars?" is probably his most famous song today (unless that title goes to "Space Oddity" or "Heroes"), and it is just on the verge of being over-exposed. However, as opposed to, say, "Smoke on the Water" or "Stairway to Heaven", I think this song can actually bear it. Musically it is much more interesting, especially with its sublime use of key changes that kind of take you out in space, like a journey to Mars would indeed do. Once again the string arrangement fits the song perfectly without becoming too bombastic (except perhaps after the final chorus). Another great moment is the recorders that occur in the second verse. It's an echo of "All the Madmen" from The Man Who Sold the World, but here they are much less aggressive. And of course Rick Wakeman should be praised for his piano which interacts very well with the echoed drums.

There are plenty of other highlights. "Oh You Pretty Things" (previously recorded by Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits) mixes the singer/songwriter elements of the album (verse) with the glam rock sound of the Ziggy period (chorus), and perhaps there is also a bit of Beatles in it - I imagine it would fit well into the White Album for instance. Again there are some great chord changes in the piano - especially in the intro. Lyrically I am a bit unsure of what to think of its theme of superhumans - it's kind of creepy actually. "Oh You Pretty Things" mutates into "Eight Line Poem", a slightly overlooked gem: It is thoughtful, kind of impressionistic and speaks to my curiosity. Also, the laid-back piano chords underline the living-room feel of the lyrics perfectly.

"Quicksand" is one of the more deep songs with some very striking lyrics that mention both Heinrich Himmler, Winston Churchill, Greta Garbo and Brigitte Bardot! I'm pretty confused by them in fact, but that's just the great thing about it: It gives you something to think about, and it is very much open for interpretation. The music is laid back and thoughtful, yet also kind of hypnotic, and even the "Eurovision key change" (one note up) that comes with the second verse is very effective. Another confusing song in a similar vein the the closing track "The Bewlay Brothers" with some - at least to me - totally incomprehensible lyrics, and another very interesting composition. My favourite part is probably the varispeed vocals in the outro which lead my thoughts to his later Berlin period - for instance "Beauty and the Beast" from Heroes.

"Andy Warhol" is probably the quirkiest song on the album, especially with that weird intro ("It's War-hole actually... as in holes..." etc.) and with the cacophonic guitar notes towards the end. Lyrically it is quite humorous: "He think about paint, and he think about glue, what a jolly boring thing to do". "Song to Bob Dylan" is another slightly humorous nod to another great master, and musically it even contains some vocal phrasings not entirely unlike Dylan himself. "Queen Bitch" is a nod to one of Bowie's biggest influences, Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. It is clearly the most pure glam rock song on the album, foreshadowing both Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. Mick Ronson's trademark guitar sound is the highlight for me here.

Only two songs can not entirely live up to the high standard. The first is "Kooks" - a song written to his then newborn son Zowie. It most of all resembles the more lightweight corners of the 70's glam rock (and there's another instant of the previously mentioned key change). However, on a different album it would shine as a great song, and the piano playing in the verse is great. The last one is the cover song "Fill Your Heart", the closest the album gets to a filler. It is very lightweight, but fortunately Bowie adds some distance to it, almost parodying its happy-go-lucky feel, for instance with his vocal phrasing on the last "makes you FREE!". And of course the delayed sax at the end crossfades perfectly into "Andy Warhol".

Still, despite not being as strong as the other songs, "Kooks" and "Fill Your Heart" do their job well in making the album hang together as a whole, and I couldn't imagine it without them.

Hunky Dory is not a grand production. It is not particularly ambitious. Nor is it a concept album in any way. It's just a collection of damn good songs. The result is Bowie's first masterpiece album. More were to come...

 Diamond Dogs by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.60 | 297 ratings

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Diamond Dogs
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 418

"Diamond Dogs" is the eighth studio album of David Bowie and was released in 1974. This is a conceptual album with a mix of the novel "1984" by George Orwell and Bowie's personal artistic vision of a post apocalyptic world. Originally, Bowie wanted to make a theatrical musical production of Orwell's novel and he began writing new material soon after completing the recording sessions of his previous studio album "Pin Ups". However, in the late, the author's estate of the novel denied him the legal rights to do so. Then, he decided to make something a little different from the initial idea.

The line up on "Diamond Dogs" is David Bowie (lead and backing vocals, guitar, saxophones, Moog synthesizer and Mellotron), Mike Garson (keyboards), Herbie Flowers (bass guitar), Tony Newman (drums), Aynsley Dunbar (drums), Alan Parker (guitar on "1984") and Earl Stick (guitar on "Rock 'N' Roll With Me").

"Diamond Dogs" has eleven tracks. All songs were written by Bowie except "Rock'N'Roll With Me" written by Bowie and Warren Peace. The first track "Future Legend" is a spoken introduction, and it serves as a kind of a prologue to the album, with Bowie talking about a post apocalyptic description of New York, after a post nuclear war. The second track is the title track "Diamond Dogs". This is the lengthiest track on the album and is a fast rock song with a great chorus work. It's a rock'n'roll song with clearly influences of The Rolling Stones. This is a more conventional rock song with a simple and traditional musical structure which, in my humble opinion, lacks to it some original creativity. The third track "Sweet Thing", the fourth track "Candidate" and the fifth track "Sweet Thing (Reprise)" is a kind of a musical suite and, in reality, they make part of only one song. These are all great tracks with dread and dark tones that represent a kind of a dark tale of the big city. They're all songs with great chorus, beautiful musical performances, nice lyrics and fantastic instrumental sections. The final result is a truly great, pure, brilliant and beautiful musical moment of continuous suite music. These three tracks represent, for me, without any doubt, one of the highlights on the album. The sixth track "Rebel Rebel", like the title track "Diamond Dogs", has nothing to do with progressive rock music. They're straight and pure rock'n'roll traditional songs in the style of The Rolling Stones. Here, we can clearly see homage to Keith Richards, with his performing guitar riffs, and to Mick Jagger, where the vocal performance of Bowie reminds us his unique style. The seventh track "Rock'N'Roll With Me" is a very good and beautiful ballad with nice piano work and warm chorus. It's a song with a very simple musical structure and a nice tune too. This is a very lovely slow song, not too long and that became pleasant enough to listen to, even in our days. The eighth track "We Are The Dead" is based on some words from "1984" novel by Orwell. This is a slow keyboard ballad, very melodic and beautiful to listen to. It represents one of the darkest musical moments on the album with explicit lyrics and with a very dense dark musical atmosphere. The ninth track "1984" is clearly fully oriented by Orwell. It represents the first musical sign of Bowie, to the soul music approach, which will be appeared on their next studio album "Young Americans". This is a very nice funky musical number with plenty of energy and creativity. The tenth track "Big Brother", like the previous track, is also a clearly fully Orwell oriented song. It's an excellent song where Bowie's voice sounds very robotic, as a machine. This is a song with very pessimistic lyrics where the hero of the novel Winston Smith failed in his fighting against the dictator, Big Brother, and was converted as one of his followers. It's one of the most progressive tracks on the album and one of its best, too. The eleventh and last track "Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family", like "Sweet Thing", "Candidate" and "Sweet Thing (Reprise)" is a kind of a musical suite, which make part of an only one song. It represents the last step of Smith to the submission to the authority. This is a very paranoid song with a variety of circling musical sounds and repetitive vocals, and with an abrupt and unexpected end to the album. This song is, with the previous song "Big Brother", one of the most progressive songs on the whole album. Both tracks represent an unexpected grand final for this great album.

Conclusion: Once more we are in presence of a great studio album of Bowie, the only truly and real chameleon artist. Strangely or not, he was able to make another surprisingly great studio album. This is Bowie's third classic studio album from his glam rock musical period. But it's darker than "The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars" and "Aladdin Sane" are. "Diamond Dogs" is another great conceptual musical work, a bit more complex than some of his earlier musical studio works and represents another classic art rock album. It's probably the deepest and darkest studio album of Bowie and it's also the most paranoid, indecipherable, inscrutable and insane, too. 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. So, this is a Bowie's album not to lose. This is a must for any classic Bowie's fan.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Space Oddity [Aka: David Bowie, Man Of Words/Man Of Music] by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.35 | 330 ratings

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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
2.44 | 161 ratings

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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
4.02 | 409 ratings

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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 | 7 ratings

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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

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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

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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.

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

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