|Studio album by|
|Released||13 April 1973|
|Recorded||6 October 1972, 4–11 December 1972, c. 18–24 January 1973|
|Studio||Trident Studios, London and RCA Studios, New York and Nashville|
|David Bowie chronology|
|Singles from Aladdin Sane|
Aladdin Sane is the sixth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released by RCA Records on 13 April 1973. The follow-up to his breakthrough The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars , it was the first album he wrote and released from a position of stardom.
David Robert Jones, known professionally as David Bowie, was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry and is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, with his music and stagecraft having a significant impact on popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million albums worldwide, made him one of the world's best-selling music artists. In the UK, he was awarded ten platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and released eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and nine gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. It is one of Sony Music's four flagship labels, alongside RCA's former long-time rival Columbia Records, Arista Records, and Epic Records. The label has released multiple genres of music, including pop, classical, rock, hip hop, electronic, R&B, blues, jazz, and country. Its name is derived from the initials of its defunct parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). It was fully acquired by Bertelsmann in 1986, making it a part of Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG); however, RCA Records became a part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a merger between BMG and Sony Music, in 2004, and was acquired by the latter in 2008, after the dissolution of Sony BMG and the restructuring of Sony Music. It is the second oldest record label in American history, after sister label Columbia Records.
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is the fifth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 16 June 1972 in the United Kingdom. It was produced by Bowie and Ken Scott and features contributions from the Spiders from Mars, Bowie's backing band — composed of Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey. The album was recorded in Trident Studios, London, like his previous album, Hunky Dory. Most of the album was recorded in November 1971 with further sessions in January and early February 1972.
NME editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray called the album "oddly unsatisfying, considerably less than the sum of the parts",while Bowie encyclopedist Nicholas Pegg describes it as "one of the most urgent, compelling and essential" of his releases. The Rolling Stone review by Ben Gerson pronounced it "less manic than The Man Who Sold The World , and less intimate than Hunky Dory , with none of its attacks of self-doubt." The album cover featuring a lightning bolt across his face is regarded as one of Bowie's most iconic images.
New Musical Express (NME) is a British music journalism website and former magazine that has been published since 1952. It was the first British paper to include a singles chart, in the edition of 14 November 1952. In the 1970s it became the best-selling British music newspaper. During the period 1972 to 1976, it was particularly associated with gonzo journalism, then became closely associated with punk rock through the writings of Julie Burchill, Paul Morley and Tony Parsons. It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s and 1990s, changing from newsprint in 1998.
Roy Carr was an English music journalist, covering pop, rock and jazz. He joined the New Musical Express (NME) in the late 1960s, and edited NME, Vox and Melody Maker magazines.
Charles Shaar Murray is an English music journalist and broadcaster. He has worked on the New Musical Express and many other magazines and newspapers, and has been interviewed for a number of television documentaries and reports on music.
In 2003, the album was ranked among six Bowie entries on Rolling Stone 's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time (at #277) and was later ranked No. 77 on Pitchfork Media's list of the top 100 albums of the 1970s.
Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and the music critic Ralph J. Gleason. It was first known for its musical coverage and for political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine shifted focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. In recent years, it has resumed its traditional mix of content.
The name of the album is a pun on "A Lad Insane". An early variation was "Love Aladdin Vein", which David Bowie dropped partly because of its drug connotations.Although technically a new Bowie 'character', Aladdin Sane was essentially a development of Ziggy Stardust in his appearance and persona, as evidenced on the cover by Brian Duffy and in Bowie's live performances throughout 1973 that culminated in Ziggy's 'retirement' at the Hammersmith Odeon in July that year. Lacking the thematic flow found on its predecessor, Aladdin Sane was described by Bowie himself as simply "Ziggy goes to America"; most of the tracks were observations he composed on the road during his Ziggy Stardust Tour, which accounted for the place names following each song title on the original record labels. Biographer Christopher Sandford believed the album showed that Bowie "was simultaneously appalled and fixated by America".
Brian Duffy was an English photographer and film producer, best remembered for his fashion and portrait photography of the 1960s and 1970s.
The Ziggy Stardust Tour was a concert tour by David Bowie in the United Kingdom, North America, and Japan in 1972–73, to promote the studio albums The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and Aladdin Sane.
His mixed feelings about the journey stemmed, in Bowie's words, from "wanting to be up on the stage performing my songs, but on the other hand not really wanting to be on those buses with all those strange people ... So Aladdin Sane was split down the middle." This kind of "schizophrenia", as Bowie described it, was conveyed on the cover by his makeup, where a lightning bolt represents the duality of mind, although he would later tell friends that the "lad insane" of the album's title track was inspired by his brother Terry, who had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic. Bowie himself came up with the idea of the lightning bolt over his face, but said the teardrop was Brian Duffy's idea: "He [Brian] put on that afterward, just popped it in there. I thought it was rather sweet." Regarded as one of the most iconic images of Bowie, it was called "the Mona Lisa of album covers" by Mick McCann writing for The Guardian .
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal behavior, strange speech, and a decreased ability to understand reality. Other symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, hearing voices that do not exist, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and lack of motivation. People with schizophrenia often have additional mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or substance-use disorders. Symptoms typically come on gradually, begin in young adulthood, and, in many cases, never resolve.
The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, the Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders.
The majority of Aladdin Sane was recorded at Trident Studios in London in January 1973, between legs of the Ziggy Stardust Tour. A desire to rush release the record was blamed for mixes on the Rolling Stones-influenced "Watch That Man" and "Cracked Actor" that buried vocals and harmonica, respectively.Bowie and producer Ken Scott later rebuffed this suggestion regarding "Watch That Man", claiming that a remix they produced which brought the vocals forward was considered by Mainman management and RCA Records to be inferior to the original that was eventually released.
Trident Studios was a British recording facility, located at 17 St Anne's Court in London's Soho district between 1968 and 1981. It was constructed in 1967 by Norman Sheffield, drummer of the 1960s group the Hunters, and his brother Barry.
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first stable line-up consisted of bandleader Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman (bass), Charlie Watts (drums), and Ian Stewart (piano). Stewart was removed from the official line-up in 1963 but continued to work with the band as a contracted musician until his death in 1985. The band's primary songwriters, Jagger and Richards, assumed leadership after Andrew Loog Oldham became the group's manager. Jones left the band less than a month before his death in 1969, having already been replaced by Mick Taylor, who remained until 1974. After Taylor left the band, Ronnie Wood took his place in 1975 and continues on guitar in tandem with Richards. Since Wyman's departure in 1993, Darryl Jones has served as touring bassist. The Stones have not had an official keyboardist since 1963, but have employed several musicians in that role, including Jack Nitzsche (1965–1971), Nicky Hopkins (1967–1982), Billy Preston (1971–1981), Ian McLagan (1978–1981), and Chuck Leavell (1982–present).
"Watch That Man" is a song written by David Bowie, the opening track on the album Aladdin Sane from 1973. Its style is often compared to The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street. The mix, in which Bowie's lead vocal is buried within the instrumental sections, has generated discussion among critics and fans.
Aladdin Sane featured a tougher rock sound than its predecessor Ziggy Stardust,particularly on tracks like "Panic in Detroit" (built around a Bo Diddley beat) and Bowie's breakneck version of the Stones' "Let's Spend the Night Together". The album also explored unusual styles such as avant-garde jazz in the title track and Brechtian cabaret in "Time". Both numbers were dominated by Mike Garson's acclaimed piano work, which also featured heavily in the faux James Bond flamenco ballad "Lady Grinning Soul", inspired by singer Claudia Linnear.
Two hit singles that would be included on the album preceded its release, "The Jean Genie" and "Drive-In Saturday". The former (recorded at RCA's New York studios during the first leg of the Ziggy Stardust Tour in late 1972) was a heavy R&B chug with lyrics loosely based on Iggy Pop,the latter a futuristic doo-wop number describing a time when the population has to relearn sex by watching old movies. "Time" was later issued as a single in the US and Japan, and "Let's Spend the Night Together" in the US and Europe. In 1974, Lulu released a version of "Watch That Man" as the B-side to her single "The Man Who Sold the World", produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson.
|Christgau's Record Guide||B+|
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|
Aladdin Sane was released in the UK on 13 April 1973.With a purported 100,000 copies ordered in advance, the album debuted at the top of the UK charts and reached No. 17 in America, making it Bowie's most successful album commercially in both countries to that date. The album is estimated to have sold 4.6 million copies worldwide, making it one of Bowie's highest-selling LPs. The Guinness Book of British Hit Albums notes that Bowie "ruled the (British) album chart, accumulating an unprecedented 182 weeks on the list in 1973 with six different titles."
Critical reaction was generally laudatory, if more enthusiastic in the US than in the UK.Rolling Stone remarked on "Bowie's provocative melodies, audacious lyrics, masterful arrangements (with Mick Ronson) and production (with Ken Scott)", while Billboard called it a combination of "raw energy with explosive rock". In the British music press, however, letters columns accused Bowie of 'selling out' and Let it Rock magazine found the album to be more style than substance, considering that he had "nothing to say and everything to say it with". Village Voice critic Robert Christgau wrote a few years later that his favorite Bowie album had been Aladdin Sane, "the fragmented, rather second-hand collection of elegant hard rock songs (plus one Jacques Brel-style clinker) that fell between the Ziggy Stardust and Diamond Dogs concepts. That Bowie improved his music by imitating the Rolling Stones rather than by expressing himself is obviously a tribute to the Stones, but it also underlines how expedient Bowie's relationship to rock and roll has always been."
Bowie performed all the tracks, except "Lady Grinning Soul", on his Ziggy Stardust Tour, and many of them on the Diamond Dogs Tour. Live versions of all but "The Prettiest Star" and "Lady Grinning Soul" have been released on various discs including Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture , David Live and Aladdin Sane – 30th Anniversary. "The Jean Genie" is the only song on the album that Bowie played in concert throughout his career. However "Panic in Detroit" also appeared regularly in Bowie's later years, a remake of which was cut in 1979 but not released until added as a bonus track to the Rykodisc CD of Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) .
Belgian amateur astronomers at the MIRA Public Observatory in conjunction with Studio Brussel created a "Bowie asterism" in homage to David Bowie in January 2016; it depicts the iconic lightning bolt of Aladdin Sane using the stars Sigma Librae, Spica, Zeta Centauri, SAO 204132, Sigma Octantis, SAO 241641 and Beta Trianguli Australis which were near Mars at the time of Bowie's death.
The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die .
Two songs from the album, "Cracked Actor" and "Time" were included in the 2017 feature-length biographical documentary, and compilation Soundtrack,entitled Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story .
All tracks written by David Bowie, except where noted.
|1.||"Watch That Man"||4:30|
|2.||"Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?)"||5:06|
|4.||"Panic in Detroit"||4:25|
|2.||"The Prettiest Star"||3:31|
|3.||"Let's Spend the Night Together" (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards)||3:10|
|4.||"The Jean Genie"||4:07|
|5.||"Lady Grinning Soul"||3:54|
Aladdin Sane was first released on CD in 1984 by RCA.
Dr. Toby Mountain at Northeastern Digital, Southborough, Massachusetts,remastered Aladdin Sane from the original master tapes for Rykodisc, which released it with no bonus tracks.
The album was remastered by Peter Mew at Abbey Road Studios, and again released with no bonus tracks.
In 2003, a 2-disc version was released by EMI/Virgin. The second in a series of 30th Anniversary 2CD Edition sets (along with Ziggy Stardust and Diamond Dogs), this release includes a remastered version of the first disc. The second disc contains ten tracks, a few of which had been previously released on the 1989 collection Sound + Vision.
A 40th anniversary edition, remastered by Ray Staff at London's AIR Studios, was released in CD and digital download formats in April 2013.
This 2013 remaster of the album was included in the 2015 box set Five Years 1969–1973 and rereleased separately, in 2015–2016, in CD, vinyl and digital formats.A 12" limited edition of the 2013 remaster, pressed in silver vinyl, was released in 2018 to mark the 45th anniversary of the album.
|United Kingdom (UK)||13 April 1973||RCA||LP||RS 1001|
|United States (U.S.)||13 April 1973||RCA||LP||AFL1 4852|
|U.S.||13 July 1990||Rykodisc||CD||RCD-10135|
|Worldwide (except U.S.)||July 1990||EMI||CD||EMC-3579/CDP 79 468 2|
|Worldwide||28 September 1999||EMI/Virgin||CD||7243 521902 0 1|
|Worldwide||26 May 2003 (UK) |
24 June 2003
|EMI/Virgin||2 CD 30th Anniversary Edition||72435 83012 2|
|Worldwide||15 April 2013||EMI/Universal||CD 40th Anniversary Edition||5099993447423|
"The Jean Genie" is a song by David Bowie, originally released as a single in November 1972. According to Bowie, it was "a smorgasbord of imagined Americana", with a protagonist inspired by Iggy Pop, and the title being an allusion to author Jean Genet. One of Bowie's most famous tracks, it was the lead single for the album Aladdin Sane (1973). Promoted with a film clip featuring Andy Warhol associate Cyrinda Foxe, it peaked at No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart.
"Suffragette City" is a song by David Bowie. It featured on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album in 1972, and was previously released as the B-side to the Starman single in April 1972. It was later issued as a single in 1976 to promote the Changesonebowie compilation in the UK, with the US single edit of "Stay" on the B-side. The single failed to chart.
Changesonebowie was David Bowie's first widely selling compilation album, issued by RCA Records in 1976. It collected songs from the 1969–1976 period, including the first LP appearance of "John, I'm Only Dancing". A 'sax version' of this song, cut during the Aladdin Sane sessions in 1973, appeared on the first 1000 copies of the UK pressing. Later pressings of Changesonebowie featured the original version of the single that had been recorded and released in 1972. All U.S. pressings of the LP contain this original version as well.
"Changes" is a song by David Bowie, originally released on the album Hunky Dory in December 1971 and as a single on 7 January 1972, the day before Bowie's 25th birthday. Despite missing the Billboard top 40, "Changes" became one of Bowie's best-known songs. The lyrics are often seen as a manifesto for his chameleonic personality, the frequent change of the world today, and frequent reinventions of his musical style throughout the 1970s. This single is cited as David Bowie's official North American debut, despite the fact that the song "The Man Who Sold the World" was released in North America two years prior. This was the last song Bowie performed live on stage before his retirement from live performances at the end of 2006.
"Aladdin Sane (1913–1938–197?)" is a song by David Bowie, the title track from his 1973 album Aladdin Sane. Described by biographer David Buckley as the album's "pivotal" song, it saw Bowie moving into more experimental musical styles following the success of his breakthrough glam rock release The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in 1972.
"Holy Holy" is a song by David Bowie, originally released as a single in January 1971. It was recorded in November 1970, after the completion of The Man Who Sold the World, in the perceived absence of a clear single from that album. Like Bowie's two previous singles, it sold poorly and failed to chart.
"John, I’m Only Dancing" is a single by David Bowie, released in two versions – entirely different recordings, but carrying the same catalogue number – in September 1972 and April 1973. Bowie later re-worked the song into the disco-influenced "John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)," recorded in 1974, but unreleased until 1979.
"Drive-In Saturday" is a song by David Bowie from his 1973 album Aladdin Sane. It was released as a single a week before the album and, like its predecessor "The Jean Genie", became a Top 3 UK hit.
"All the Young Dudes" is a song written by David Bowie, originally recorded and released as a single by Mott the Hoople in 1972. In 2004, Rolling Stone rated "All the Young Dudes" No. 253 in its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and on its 2010 update was ranked at number 256. It is also one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
"The Width of a Circle" is a song written by David Bowie in 1969 for the album The Man Who Sold the World, recorded in Spring 1970 and released later that year in the United States and in April 1971 in the UK. It is the opening track to the album, a hard rocker with heavy metal overtones. Bowie had performed a shorter version of the song in concerts for several months before recording it.
"The Supermen" is a song written by David Bowie in 1970 and released as the closing track on the album The Man Who Sold the World. It was one of a number of pieces on the album inspired by the works of literary figures such as Friedrich Nietzsche and H. P. Lovecraft.
"Panic in Detroit" is a song written by English singer David Bowie for the album Aladdin Sane in 1973. Bowie based it on friend Iggy Pop's descriptions of revolutionaries he had known in Michigan and Pop's experiences during the 1967 Detroit riots. Rolling Stone magazine called the track "a paranoid descendant of the Motor City's earlier masterpiece, Martha and the Vandellas' "Nowhere to Run"".
"Cracked Actor" is a song written by David Bowie, originally released on the album Aladdin Sane in April 1973. The track was also issued as a single in Eastern Europe by RCA Records in June that year.
"Time" is a song by David Bowie. Written in New Orleans in November 1972 during the American leg of the Ziggy Stardust Tour, it was recorded in London in January 1973 and released as the opening track on side two of the album Aladdin Sane that April. An edited version of the song supplanted the release of the single "Drive-In Saturday" in the United States and Japan.
"Lady Grinning Soul" is a ballad written by David Bowie, which is the final track on the album Aladdin Sane, released in 1973. The composer's first meeting with American soul singer Claudia Lennear in 1972 is often cited as the inspiration for the song. In 2016, after Bowie's death, an interview with Lennear revealed that Bowie called her in 2014, and told her she was wrote the song about her.
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is a 1973 documentary and concert film by D. A. Pennebaker. It features David Bowie and his backing group The Spiders from Mars performing at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on 3 July 1973. At this show, Bowie made the sudden surprise announcement that the show would be "the last show that we'll ever do", later understood to mean that he was retiring his Ziggy Stardust persona.
Changestwobowie is a David Bowie compilation album issued in November 1981 by RCA Records. Its title and packaging followed the format of RCA's earlier Bowie compilation, Changesonebowie released in 1976. As well as selected post-1976 singles, the album collected five songs from earlier in Bowie's career that had not appeared on Changesonebowie, including "Wild Is the Wind" from Station to Station, which was released as a single to promote the album, along with a newly filmed video for the track. However, the album did not repeat the chart success of the earlier compilation, reaching No. 24 on the UK Album Chart and No. 68 in the United States.