This David Bowie album tends to get a bad rap with what went before, but no, this was dangerous, edgy music for its time.
Written by: Explorer
ARTIST: David Bowie
ALBUM: Aladdin Sane
SERIAL: RS 1001
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: David Bowie – lead vocals, main performer * Mick Ronson – guitars * Trevor Bolder – bass * Woody Woodmansey – drums * Mike Garson – piano, flute * Ken Fordham – flute, sax * Mac Cormack, Juanita ‘Honey’ Franklin, Linda Lewis – backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Watch That Man * 02 Aladdin Sane * 03 Drive In Saturday * 04 Panic In Detroit * 05 Cracked Actor * 06 Time * 07 The Prettiest Star * 08 Let’s Spend The Night Together * 09 The Jean Genie * 10 Lady Grinning Soul
WEBLINKS: Site Link
So how on earth (or any other solar body for that matter) does David Bowie follow up such a career/era defining album that was ‘Ziggy Stardust’? Well, being just about the most talked about rock star on the planet back in 1973, it must have all seemed fairly straightforward.
It was generally thought of at the time as giving Ziggy an American makeover. Whether that was Bowie’s idea back then, and it’s been dissected on many an occasion, who really knows. But regardless of its aims and otherwise it made me, a very impressionable teenager and many, many more like me become even more enamoured with David Bowie and the Glam rock scene.
The album kicks off with the thrilling hard rock of ‘Watch That Man’ with Mick Ronson at his guitar hero best, and then we are also treated to the strange but wonderfully exotic title track which puts the spotlight firmly on Bowie’s latest recruit pianist Mike Garson.
And yes there are of course the two singles ‘Drive In Saturday’ with Bowie at his lyrical best and the immortal ‘The Jean Genie’ with its direct simplicity making it an instant classic. On the Brechtian ‘Time’ hearing Bowie singing ‘flexes like a whore’ and then following it with ‘.. falls wanking to the floor’ had me reeling, never had I hear such lyrics and all this before the track is finished off with a quite stunning guitar solo.
Along the way, there are a couple of tracks that sit rather awkwardly on the album. The Rolling Stones chestnut ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ and ‘The Prettiest Star’ which was a Bowie leftover from a few years earlier, which is the nearest it gets to with regards to album filler.
The Ziggy sound had now been refined and given an upgrade with the aforementioned Garson playing a major role in the albums themes and also with a less claustrophobic production than its illustrious predecessor, it made for an absorbing, bewitching listening experience.
I can (and more than likely will) bang on forever about the early 70’s, a period that was for me THE most fertile and creative period in rock music. So many iconic bands and timeless TV music shows. David Bowie as a singer/songwriter stands alone as the single most individualistic of performers, a man who could tap into the zeitgeist like no one else.
This album tends to get a bad rap with what went before, but no, this was dangerous, edgy music. A few months after this release, David Bowie would famously ‘retire’ his Ziggy character at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon, and move on to different musical pastures, and I for one couldn’t wait for the great dames next move.
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