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.
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.
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.
|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|
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".
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.
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.
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 was also notable for its exploration of 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. [nb 1] 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.
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.
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|
"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.Cracked Actor (song)
"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.David Live
David Live is David Bowie's first official live album, originally released by RCA Records in 1974. The album was recorded in July of that year, on the initial leg of Bowie's Diamond Dogs Tour, at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. The second leg, a more soul-oriented affair following recording sessions in Philadelphia for the bulk of Young Americans, would be renamed 'Philly Dogs', as reflected on a different live release, Cracked Actor.
The album catches Bowie in transition from the Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane glam-rock era of his career to the 'plastic soul' of Young Americans. While the cover featured a picture of Bowie in his latest soul threads – baggy trouser suit complete with shoulder pads and braces from October 1974 – the music was recorded in July of that year when he was showcasing his two most recent studio albums of original material, Diamond Dogs and Aladdin Sane, as well as selected favourites from Ziggy Stardust and earlier.
The tour was Bowie's most ambitious to date, featuring a giant set designed to evoke "Hunger City", the post-apocalyptic setting for Diamond Dogs, and his largest band, led by Michael Kamen. For "Space Oddity" (recorded at the time but not released until the album's 2005 reissue) Bowie sang using a radio microphone disguised as a telephone whilst being raised and lowered above the stage by a cherry picker crane. The tour was documented in Alan Yentob's Cracked Actor (1975).Drive-In Saturday
"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.Five Years (1969–1973)
Five Years (1969–1973) is a box set by David Bowie, released in September 2015. The period of Bowie's career from 1969 to 1973 is summarised over twelve discs and thirteen LPs. Exclusive to the box sets is Re:Call 1, a new compilation of non-album singles, single versions and B-sides.
It includes the albums David Bowie (more commonly known as Space Oddity), The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Aladdin Sane and the last Spiders album with Bowie Pin Ups. The albums cover the 5 years of Bowie's rise to stardom, with the box set also including Live Santa Monica '72, the soundtrack album of the last Ziggy Stardust show at the Hammersmith Odeon, and a 2003 Ken Scott stereo remix of Ziggy Stardust (previously available on the 2003 SACD edition and 2012 vinyl-and-DVD-Audio edition of the album).
The box set comes with a companion book featuring rarely seen photos, recording essays from producers Tony Visconti and Ken Scott, original press reviews and a short foreword by Ray Davies of The Kinks.Lady Grinning Soul
"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.The style of the piece has been compared to a James Bond theme. Pianist Mike Garson described his own performance as "about as romantic as it gets … French with a little Franz Liszt thrown in there". Rolling Stone's contemporary review called Bowie's singing "the album's most expansive and sincere vocal", while author Nicholas Pegg considers the track "one of Bowie's most underrated recordings … quite unlike anything else he has ever done". The song contains the highest note Bowie has sung on a studio album (G#5).The track was used in the films The Runaways (2010) and Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2012).List of songs recorded by David Bowie
David Bowie (1947–2016) was an English singer-songwriter, whose recording career spanned from 1964 until his death in 2016. This list includes songs that he recorded as a group leader or a solo artist, or credited featured or guest artist that have been officially released in various formats.Panic in Detroit
"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"".Musically "Panic in Detroit" has been described as a "Salsa variation on the Bo Diddley beat", and features prominent conga drums and female backing vocals. The lyrics namecheck Che Guevara and are also said to contain references to John Sinclair of the White Panther Party.In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine printed its list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Mick Ronson was ranked at #64, and "Panic in Detroit" as his "essential recording".Rock 'n' Roll with Me
"Rock 'n' Roll With Me" is a power ballad written by David Bowie and Warren Peace and recorded in January 1974 that first appeared on Bowie's Diamond Dogs album, supposedly to address the artist's complex relation with his fans. A version recorded during the Diamond Dogs tour in July 1974 was released on the album David Live.
While the song "Knock on Wood" from David Live was issued as a single in the UK, "Rock 'n' Roll With Me" was chosen for release as the US single (RCA PB 10105) in September 1974, in response to Donovan's recent cover version. The B-side in each case was another live recording from the Diamond Dogs tour, "Panic in Detroit", originally from Aladdin Sane (1973). An edited version was issued on a US promotional single (RCA JB 10105) that same month.
Like "Rebel Rebel", the lead single from Diamond Dogs, "Rock 'n' Roll With Me" was conceived as part of a never-produced Ziggy Stardust musical in 1973. It has been described as "one of Bowie's least self-conscious love songs" and a foretaste of the R&B balladry on Young Americans (1975).On 27 July 2016, a remastered version of the 1974 live promo single edit was posted online to promote the upcoming compilation Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976). Subsequently, this version was included on Re:Call 2, part of the compilation.Sweet Thing (David Bowie song)
"Sweet Thing" or "Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise)" is a suite of songs written by David Bowie for the album Diamond Dogs. Recorded in January 1974, the piece comprises the songs "Sweet Thing" and "Candidate" and a one-verse reprise of "Sweet Thing."
In the opening line, "Sweet Thing" contains the lowest note Bowie had recorded in a studio album (C2) until "I Took a Trip on a Gemini Spacecraft" for the album Heathen (2002), where he growled the word "Well" (G1) towards the end of the song.Bowie recorded a track with the same title, "Candidate" – but no musical similarity to the Diamond Dogs song "Candidate" and only a few words of lyrics in common – during the first several days of January 1974. It was unavailable until 1990 when it was released as a bonus track on the Rykodisc reissue of Diamond Dogs; it also appeared on the bonus disc of the 30th Anniversary Edition of Diamond Dogs in 2004.The Best of Bowie
The Best of Bowie is a David Bowie compilation album released in 1980. The cover was based on the 12-inch single sleeve design of Bowie's "Fashion". It made No. 3 in the UK Albums Chart.
In addition to including the rare 7" edits of "Fame" and "Golden Years", the compilation contains unique edits of "Life on Mars?" and "Diamond Dogs", ostensibly to allow all 16 tracks to fit on one LP. Early copies of the LP had a sticker on the back cover showing the track listing. If the sticker was removed, the original track listing could be seen, showing "Drive-In Saturday" (from Aladdin Sane, 1973) as track 7 in place of the live version of "Breaking Glass", which explains the latter's appearance out of chronological sequence here.The Best of David Bowie 1969/1974
The Best of David Bowie 1969/1974 is an album by David Bowie, released by EMI in 1997. The US release of the album was pulled from the stores because of a large number of inaccuracies in the credits and liner notes. It was re-released by EMI-CAPITOL Entertainment Properties the following year (1998) in the US as part of the essential collection, with a new cover and corrected information as a limited edition. This album was also included as the first disc of the compilation The Platinum Collection (2005/2006).
There are three uncredited rarities included on the album. They are: "John, I'm Only Dancing" (Sax version) - recorded during the sessions for the Aladdin Sane album; "The Prettiest Star" (Marc Bolan stereo version) - the original 1970 single release that features Marc Bolan on lead guitar; and "All the Young Dudes (Studio version)" - the original Bowie studio version from 1973.The Jean Genie
"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.The Platinum Collection (David Bowie album)
The Platinum Collection is a compilation album by David Bowie, released in 2005. The period from 1969 to 1987 is summarised over three discs. The first disc is the same as the compilation The Best of David Bowie 1969/1974, which was released in 1997, and the second disc is the same as the 1998 compilation The Best of David Bowie 1974/1979. The third disc, original to this collection upon its release in 2005, was later re-released separately as an independent compilation The Best of David Bowie 1980/1987 by EMI on 19 March 2007 (2007-03-19). This 2007 release was part of EMI's two-disc Sight & Sound series of releases and features a DVD of 1980s videos on the second disc.The Prettiest Star
"The Prettiest Star" is a song by David Bowie, originally released as a single in March 1970.
In January 1970, Bowie re-recorded an old Deram track, "London Bye Ta-Ta", intended as a follow-up single to "Space Oddity". However, the same sessions spawned a new composition named "The Prettiest Star", which Bowie had written for Angela Barnett, reputedly playing it down the telephone as part of his proposal to her. It's in Greek "hassapiko" dance style, as a tribute to Angie's Cypriot ethnic origin. He also chose it as his next single, to the displeasure of manager Kenneth Pitt, who favoured "London Bye Ta-Ta".The track featured Marc Bolan on guitar, with whom Bowie would spend the next few years as a rival for the crown of the king of glam rock. Producer Tony Visconti, who brought the two aspiring pop stars together in the studio, recalled that the session went well until the end when Bolan's wife June remarked to Bowie, "Marc is too good for you, to be playing on this record!"Despite receiving good notices, the single reportedly sold fewer than 800 copies, a major disappointment on the back of the success of "Space Oddity".
A more glam-influenced version was recorded in December 1972 or January 1973 for the album Aladdin Sane, with Mick Ronson recreating Bolan's original guitar part almost note-for-note.Time (David Bowie song)
"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.Watch That Man
"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.Ziggy Stardust (character)
Ziggy Stardust is a character created by David Bowie in 1971, and first featured on the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, released on 16th June 1972. The character was retired on 3rd July 1973, at a performance at the Hammersmith Odeon, which was filmed and released on Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture. After retiring the Ziggy Stardust character, David Bowie began portraying Aladdin Sane, who appeared on the album Aladdin Sane (1973).Ziggy Stardust Tour
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.
|With Tin Machine|