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Happy 40th birthday, Diamond Dogs!
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MessagePosté le: Mer 23 Avr - 16:34 (2014)    Sujet du message: Happy 40th birthday, Diamond Dogs! Répondre en citant

26 April 2014

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MessagePosté le: Jeu 24 Avr - 11:56 (2014)    Sujet du message: Happy 40th birthday, Diamond Dogs! Répondre en citant

Happy 40th birthday, Diamond Dogs!

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MessagePosté le: Jeu 24 Avr - 14:33 (2014)    Sujet du message: Happy 40th birthday, Diamond Dogs! Répondre en citant

“Bowie Was Like Orson Welles”: Diamond Dogs At 40

On the 40th anniversary of its release, engineer Andy Morris delivers the inside skinny on Bowie’s wildest album.

By David Buckley April 24, 2014

THE ‘DEGLAMIFICATION’ OF DAVID BOWIE was well under way as 1973 turned into 1974. Bit by bit, colourfully theatrical new tones were being introduced to his musical mix from soul, disco, electronica, chanson and show tunes, as well as a much harder rock edge when he felt the need.

For his follow-up to October ’73’s stop-gap Pin-Ups, Bowie had originally planned a thoroughgoing theatrical reworking of George Orwell’s 1984 novel, yet he was denied the rights by Orwell’s widow. It was about the best thing that could have happened, as it liberated Bowie’s imagination as never before.

When Diamond Dogs emerged on April 24, 1974, it proved to be Bowie’s most ambitious album yet. We Are The Dead was a horror movie in four minutes; Big Brother the sound of rock’s Messianic grand delusion collapsing. Only the title track and the first single Rebel Rebel reminded listeners of Bowie’s recent glam rock past. The rest was the future.

Recording the first time for three years without the Spiders or producer Ken Scott, Bowie produced himself at Olympic Studios in Barnes, mainly with engineer Keith Harwood.

Sixteen-year-old Olympic Studios engineer Andy Morris was also on hand throughout, and offers MOJO this exclusive and revealing insight into Bowies’s methods, and parties…


By the time you worked with David Bowie you were a bit of a veteran, aged 16?
I was in the recording studio when the Rolling Stones recorded It’s Only Rock ’N Roll (But I Like It). I remember placing microphones in the toilets downstairs when Jagger and Keith were about to sing the overdubs. I also worked with Badfinger and The Pretty Things, but Diamond Dogs was the album I worked on the most.

Why did Bowie choose Keith Harwood to work with?
I think because of the people he had worked with – the Stones, Led Zeppelin. He had worked with some of Britain’s greatest bands. He was a great guy – had golden ears. Easy to work with, no ego, he just took me under his wing.

For the initial sessions for Diamond Dogs, am I right in saying that some of the Spiders were still around?
Yes, [bassist] Trevor Bolder was around. Lulu was in town working on a record. She was full of piss and vinegar. She would sit in the studio listening to the songs with David.

What were Bowie’s inspirations?
Definitely Bruce Springsteen and the song Spirit In The Night. We listened to that record for days and days in the studio.

What was Bowie’s studio method?
David was like Orson Welles! He was a visionary, highly intelligent. I think David already had a vision of the tour, the show, and how he would present the music live. 1984 was the song we spent the most time on because David wanted to get it perfect, and it turned out perfect, it’s a masterpiece. Bowie was a workhorse, he didn’t f**k around. When I worked with the Stones, there were loads of hangers-on whereas David was a workaholic. He would come in at one o’clock in the afternoon and some days we wouldn’t leave until five in the morning.

How did Rebel Rebel come about?
We were sitting in the studio at 4am. The Stones were working in Studio A and Ron Wood and Mick Taylor had just done a benefit gig with Kilburn & The High Roads. Keith Harwood had left the studio at about 1am and we were waiting for David’s driver Tony [Mascia] to pick him up in his Daimler. I was wrapping up microphone cables but there was one cable still on and the fader was up and David started to play the first three chords of Rebel Rebel. He was just consistently going over those chords. We laid down a rough version and then David called my house and asked if we could meet up with Keith at Trident Studios because Trident, to my recollection, had the one of the few mastering labs in London. And then we had the first acetate of Rebel Rebel.

What was Bowie like as a personality? Was he friendly?
Yeah, he was great, man. I’ll give you an example. I lived in North London – which was quite a distance from Barnes in the south – so it would take me about 45 minutes to get to the studio, on this little 50cc motorcycle which my mum bought for me. During the end of one session, David was getting into his car and he said, ‘So where do you go on that motorcycle of yours every day?’ And I said, ‘I go to Palmers Green.’ And he said, ‘Whoa, that’s a long way from here. Why don’t you come and stay at my place?’ He was with Angela at the time. She was great, I loved her.

What was Bowie’s home like?
It was a beautiful four-storey house on Cheyne Walk in Chelsea. I remember the third floor – there was like a living room with a pit which had about fifty cushions in it. And he had a lot of those [ball] chairs – white on the outside, and inside they were green.

I went to his Christmas party there, which must have been 1973. All the Stones were there. Ronnie Wood was there and Stevie Wonder. [Bowie protégés] Ava [Cherry] and Geoff MacCormack were there. Prince Charles’ caterer was the caterer for his party. You walked in and everything was like 10 out of 10: food, champagne. The party started at 8; we left at 7 the next morning. Lots of things going in different rooms! He had lots of decorations up, and avant-garde paintings which were not hung up but leaning against walls.

Was there a Christmas tree?
There was! A real Christmas tree. David took mistletoe around the house and he was going to kiss everyone in the house. He pointed to me and he said, ‘I’m going to save you until last.’ I ended up sleeping in David’s pit, and Angela cooked breakfast and I left. There were still about thirty people in the morning just lying around everywhere.

It was around this time that David Bowie said his drug use began to escalate and he has gone on record to say Keith Harwood was a drug user. Did you see any evidence of this?
Yeah, of course. There was cocaine in the studio, especially when the Stones were around. I never saw any drugs being done in front of me when David was in the studio, though. I never saw David’s demeanour as being indicative of someone who was doing a lot of coke. But I was never a drug user. I used to see him drink a lot of tea! He had a private chef who would come in and cook for him and he’d eat in the control room with Keith. Very rarely would I see him go to the greasy spoon next door like the Stones used to.

And finally, did you see the Diamond Dogs tour?
I was working in the USA in 1974, aged 17. But I couldn’t get a ticket!


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MessagePosté le: Jeu 24 Avr - 21:33 (2014)    Sujet du message: Happy 40th birthday, Diamond Dogs! Répondre en citant

Merci lunamagic pour tous ces posts...  Okay
Ce que dit Johnny Marr - lui même guitariste (à une moindre échelle) plutôt influent - pense de Bowie est très juste. (en même temps... je ne vois pas pourquoi je le contredirais!)

"People who I grew up admiring, like Pete Shelley from the Buzzcocks or Ian Curtis, were hugely influenced by Bowie."
"What was fantastic was that it was this tough, tight rock music, but the cool girls liked it, because back then, a lot of rock music was good guitar players but was just guy-zone - music for spotty, greasy boys"

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MessagePosté le: Jeu 24 Avr - 22:49 (2014)    Sujet du message: Happy 40th birthday, Diamond Dogs! Répondre en citant

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MessagePosté le: Jeu 24 Avr - 22:53 (2014)    Sujet du message: Happy 40th birthday, Diamond Dogs! Répondre en citant

Rock Hall Anniversary: David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs

April 21, 2014

David Bowie has always been considered one if not the biggest artist in the 1970s glam rock movement, especially with the Ziggy Stardust persona. But that character takes its last gasp in the singer’s eighth studio album Diamond Dogs.

Released in April 1974, the album was described as revolving around the concept that had a blend between the George Orwell book Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Bowie’s vision of a post-apocalyptic world. However, the character of Ziggy Stardust was still very much alive in the album, as it would be witnessed in the album cover, where Bowie is still sporting the character’s haircut, as well as the single “Rebel Rebel” (where in a few vintage clips, Bowie is in the Ziggy Stardust getup). Other moments on the album includes the Rolling Stones influence of the title track, and the preview what would be Bowie’s next musical phase with the track “1984”.

Diamond Dogs became Bowie’s third UK chart topper, and first to hit the top five in the US. It was certified gold on both sides of the Atlantic. However, critical reception was not as strong, as it received lukewarm receptions from and Robert Christgau, and was panned by Rolling Stone. And even to this day, it is not considered one of Bowie’s best works. But despite that, it has set the stage for what was to come in Bowie's career from the mid-1970s on, and has been reissued a few times, especially in 2004 where a bonus CD was included.

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MessagePosté le: Jeu 24 Avr - 23:31 (2014)    Sujet du message: Happy 40th birthday, Diamond Dogs! Répondre en citant

Diamond Dogs de Bowie : Apocalypse Glam’

Rédigé par : Sophie Rosemont 18 avril 2014

Coincé entre Pin Ups et Young Americans, débarrassé des habits glam, l’album Diamond Dogs figure au panthéon de l’œuvre de Bowie. Retour sur la conception de ce joyau aux multiples facettes et sur une période aussi féconde que poudrée, où l’on croise Mick Jagger, William Burroughs, George Orwell, Guy Peellaert et un certain Halloween Jack. Par Denis Roulleau.

Le 11 mars dernier, afin de célébrer comme il se doit le quarantième anniversaire de la sortie de Diamond Dogs, David Bowie garnissait les bacs des disquaires – du moins ceux qui n’ont pas encore mis le vinyle sous la porte – d’un magnifique picture-disc en édition limitée du single Rebel Rebel, dans son mixage original, qui n’était plus disponible depuis le début des années 1980. Un collector qui nous confirme que Bowie, omniprésetn sans jamais être là, depuis son retour inespéré début 2013 avec The Next Day, ne fait rien que ce qui lui plaît et n’en finit pas de surprendre… comme il avait stupéfié son monde, ce 3 juillet 1973, sur la scène de l’Hammersmith Odeon (Londres), en déclarant avant d’entamer le bien nommé Rock and Roll Suicide : « Ce fut une des plus grandes tournées de notre vie, et de tous les concerts de cette tournée, celui de ce soir restera particulièrement gravé dans nos mémoires pendant très longtemps. Non seulement parce que c’est le dernier de cette tournée mais aussi parce que c’est le dernier que nous ne ferons jamais… Merci ! ».

Lassé de son numéro d’extra-terrestre androgyne qui le plongeait dans d’inquiétants états schizophréniques, Bowie avait bazardé ce soir-là, devant les caméras de D.A. Pennebaker convoqué d’urgence, les Spiders, le Glitter, le Aladdin Sane et le Ziggy. « Je veux me poser et changer de cap, expérimenter… », déclarait celui qui n’était alors âgé que de 26 ans et qui entrevoyait déjà la suite : l’univers post-apocalyptique de Diamond Dogs. Un album sombre, charnière, qui figure toujours aujourd’hui parmi les préférés de Bowie himself.

Se poser… Bowie l’a bien mérité même s’il ne trouve rien de mieux, quinze jours seulement après ses adieux, que de rameuter ses troupes (les Spiders, quasi au complet) au Château d’Hérouville pour l’enregistrement d’un (inégal) disque de reprises : « Pin Ups, c’était vraiment pour donner quelque chose à faire aux Spiders. C’était ma façon de leur dire au revoir. Je ne savais pas vraiment comment les caser dans le projet suivant, » dira-t-il. Une manière également de se ressourcer à l’aune des standards du Swinging London (« See Emily Play », du Floyd période Syd Barrett, « I Can’t Explain » des Who…) où il a tenté de percer pendant près de dix ans. Tout avait soudainement changé avec l’énorme succès de The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Bowie a accédé au rang de superstar. Avec tout ce que cela comporte : tournées incessantes en Grande-Bretagne et aux Etats-Unis dans des salles remplies de pseudo-Ziggy, mainmise sur ses affaires de Tony DeFries qui avait détrôné Ken Pitt, son manager historique, addiction naissante à la cocaïne, vie privée très agitée entre sa femme, Angie, et ses nombreuses maîtresses (Ava Cherry, Amanda Lear, Lori Maddox…) qu’ils partagent d’ailleurs souvent avec Angie…

Fort du succès de Pin Ups sorti en octobre 1973 et soulagé par la fin des Spiders, Bowie entend désormais reprendre le contrôle et prouver qu’il existe seul, sans l’apport du producteur Ken Scott et les talents d’arrangeurs de Mick Ronson, avec lequel il a produit avec succès le Transformer de Lou Reed un an plus tôt. Une autre de ses relations le pousse également à voler de ses propres ailes, son voisin londonien Mick Jagger, avec lequel il entretient un rapport de fascination réciproque, et beaucoup plus à en croire Angie Bowie (« je les ai trouvé nus dans le même lit »), ou encore Ava Cherry et Bebe Buell qui affirmaient récemment avoir participé aux ébats des deux stars. « Jagger est incroyablement sexy et viril » confesse alors volontiers Bowie, loin d’être insensible, également, au son des Stones qui influencera considérablement les guitares de Diamond Dogs.

Une autre mixture, littéraire celle-ci, guidera les textes du futur album conçus pour la plupart selon la technique du cut-up inventée par Bryon Gysin et William Burroughs. Bowie a rencontré pour la première fois le parrain de la Beat Generation le 17 novembre 1973 à l’occasion d’un entretien croisé organisé par Rolling Stone et il a été très impressionné par ce genre littéraire où un texte est découpé au hasard, mélangé avec d’autres, pour produire un ensemble inédit. Il a été également très marqué par Nova Express, le roman de Burroughs publié en 1966, qui dénonçait la manipulation des masses dans un monde imaginaire et hallucinatoire, tout comme 1984, le chef d’œuvre de George Orwell, que Bowie souhaite initialement adapter en comédie musicale. Une envie guère étonnante tant l’univers orwellien colle parfaitement avec sa psyché, ses traumatismes : lui-même issu d’une famille marquée par la folie et un nombre élevé de suicides (son demi-frère adoré Terry Burns mettra d’ailleurs fin à ses jours en 1985), il se retrouve désormais dans un autre maelstrom, au cœur de la société du spectacle, où il craint là aussi de perdre son âme et la raison.

Bowie perçoit également des similitudes inquiétantes entre les prédictions d’Orwell et un contexte économique difficile marqué par les débuts de la récession, suite au choc pétrolier de 1973, et les premières violences sociales en Angleterre. Malgré le refus de la veuve de l’auteur, Sonia Brownwell, de lui céder les droits du livre, Bowie décide finalement que les thèmes de 1984 constitueront bel et bien la trame de son prochain disque, une œuvre résolument à son image : « C’est mon apocalypse glam, dit-il. Diamond Dogs est l’album qui me ressemble le plus parmi tous ceux que j’ai pu faire dans les années 1970. »

Durant les deux premiers mois de 1974, accompagné par Tony Newman et Aynsley Dunbar (batterie), Herbie Flowers (basse) et Mike Garson (claviers), Bowie se consacre essentiellement à l’enregistrement du disque à Londres et en Hollande. En plus de cumuler les responsabilités de producteur, compositeur, arrangeur et chanteur, il se charge lui-même des parties de guitare, de percussions et de saxophone. Tout juste consent-il à s’entourer de l’ingénieur du son Keith Harwood et à rappeler son vieil ami Tony Visconti pour l’aider au niveau des arrangements et du mixage. Et il faut au moins un Visconti pour « lisser », dans la mesure du possible, les bandes sur lesquelle Bowie a joué avec les dissonances, un son rugueux (il a remixé le Raw Power des Stooges quelques mois plus tôt) et la multiplication des styles musicaux : jazz doucereux (« Sweet Thing »), réminiscences glam, rock façon Rolling Clone (Diamond Dogs et plus encore le hit single « Rebel Rebel » dédié à son « hot friend » Jagger), soul « Shaftiene » (« 1984 » et « Rock and Roll with Me » co-signée avec Warren Peace) et même un mantra expérimental (« Big Brother »).

Terry O’Neill/Getty Images

Très inspiré par 1984 et passé maître dans l’art du cut-up pour mieux exprimer l’horreur de son propos (« Candidate »), Bowie a créé un monde cauchemardesque post-nucléaire, Hunger City (la cité de la faim), où des bandes survivent tant bien que mal entouré de chiens enragés, eux-mêmes placés sous la coupe de rats dégénérés. « J’ai tenté avec Diamond Dogs de créer une atmosphère bizarre, étouffante, expliquera-t-il quelques années plus tard. C’étaient tous de petits Johnny Rotten ou Sid Vicious avant l’heure. Il y avait ces gangs de types vicieux en patins à roulettes grinçants, avec leurs couteaux de chasse et leurs fourrures, et tous étaient très maigres parce qu’ils ne mangeaient pas assez, et tous avaient des cheveux de drôles de couleurs. »

Parmi eux, un certain Halloween Jack, mi-homme, mi-chien, mutant consanguin de Ziggy Stardust. Totalement amnésique et mythomane, accompagné du gang des Diamond Dogs, ce nouveau personnage de la galaxie Bowie erre dans Hunger City et traverse l’ensemble du disque à la recherche de son identité et du monde originel, non sans découvrir quelques inavouables secrets gouvernementaux. Une marotte de l’artiste qui, 20 ans plus tard, remettra le couvert dans le genre complot étatique pour le concept-album Outside produit avec Brian Eno.

« Diamond Dogs est mon premier album enregistré sous l’influence de la cocaïne. Je me souviens qu’à l’époque, je n’étais pas sûr du résultat, mais j’étais soulagé de l’avoir achevé. » En ce début de décennie 1970 en effet, comme à peu près tout digne représentant de la pop culture qui se respecte, Bowie se poudre allègrement le nez. Sa consommation commence d’ailleurs à atteindre des pics inquiétants et, si elle n’affecte pas encore son inspiration, elle modifie non seulement son apparence physique mais également son comportement, qui oscille entre indifférence glaciale et crises de paranoïa aigue. Comme en témoigne cette célèbre scène du documentaire Cracked Actor, réalisé lors de la tournée américaine de 1974, qui le montre assis dans sa limousine, très amaigri et les traits tirés, demandant constamment à son chauffeur de vérifier s’ils ne sont pas suivis par la police…

Commercialisé en avril 1974, soit deux mois après son enregistrement, Diamond Dogs dont la pochette est signé Guy Pellaert (voir encadré) reçoit un accueil critique mitigé, malgré le succès commercial du single « Rebel Rebel », qui atteindra la 5e place du top britannique et avec lequel Bowie ouvrait encore ses concerts lors de sa dernière tournée à ce jour… en 2003. Supposément écrit en hommage à Jagger (« Jagger était souvent fourré dans le studio et David parlait beaucoup de lui », se souviendrait Mike Garson en 1986), il semblerait en fait que cette pop-song sexuellement ambigûe au riff basique mais imparable, ait plus à voir avec l’artiste transsexuel américain Wayne County, qui venait de rejoindre l’écurie MainMan de Tony DeFries. Habitué de la Factory et actrice pour Andy Warhol, Wayne County, qui affirmera avoir repoussé les avances pressantes de Bowie (« Il avait une allure bien trop féminine, les genoux cagneux, il ne m’attirait pas du tout » ), lui reprochera aussi – assez justement – de s’être inspiré pour « Rebel Rebel » de l’une de ses propres compositions, « Queenage Baby » . Quant à cette partie de guitare stonienne en diable, officiellement attribuée à Bowie comme toutes celles de l’album, il semblerait finalement qu’elle soit l’œuvre du musicien de studio Alan Parker, ex session man de Scott Walker, qui a également oeuvré sur le titre « 1984 ». Quoi qu’il en soit, « Rebel Rebel » demeurera l’un des titres les plus célèbres de Bowie et Diamond Dogs (que le critique Lester Bangs estimait gavé de « chansons franchement médiocres ») deviendra rapidement disque d’or.


La suite dans le numéro Rolling Stone actuellement en kiosque.

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MessagePosté le: Ven 2 Mai - 12:21 (2014)    Sujet du message: Happy 40th birthday, Diamond Dogs! Répondre en citant

40 Years Ago: David Bowie Releases ‘Diamond Dogs’

by Eduardo Rivadavia May 1, 2014 12:23 PM

David Bowie entered 1974 as one of the world’s biggest rock stars. He was still flying high on the breakthrough success of the ‘Ziggy Stardust‘ character, whose image had become so famous that it wound up gracing the cover of the singer’s eighth album, ‘Diamond Dogs,’ which was released on April 24, 1974.

The strange aspect about the return of Ziggy is that Bowie had famously retired him nearly a year earlier, during the last show of the tour in support of the follow-up, ‘Aladdin Sane.’ So, after the late-1973′s covers LP, ‘Pin-Ups,’ Bowie laid off the Spiders from Mars and proceeded to hire session musicians to back him on ‘Diamond Dogs.’

The sessions were spread over several months and studios in and around London, before culminating in a final mix at producer Tony Visconti’s newly built personal studio. Since producing and playing bass on 1970’s ‘The Man Who Sold the World,’ Visconti had been busy overseeing Marc Bolan’s classic glam LPs, so this reunion proved both timely and momentous in seeing Bowie’s next crucial career transition through.

Bowie had been planning to build a full-fledged concept album around George Orwell’s dystopian classic, ‘1984,’ 10 years before the fateful date. But when the author’s estate refused to grant him their blessing, David was forced to scale back on overt references to the novel, and rework the material to mesh with other, unrelated song ideas and make sense of it all, somehow.

As a result, ‘Diamond Dogs’ became a complex affair, both musically and lyrically, which quickly moved on from the apocalyptic prophecies intoned on the introductory mood piece, ‘Future Legend,’ into the title track’s more familiar arena glam aesthetic (backed by faux concert sounds) and the dramatic cabaret balladry of ‘Sweet Thing’ (beautifully garnished by Mike Garson’s piano).

However, the ensuing ‘Candidate’ didn’t pack that typical, finely crafted Bowie touch and, when followed by an elegiac reprise of ‘Sweet Thing,’ felt like a poorly finished concept album remnant (which is precisely what it was). In that regard, it previewed other ‘1984’-inspired leftovers stuffed onto ‘Diamond Dogs’’ second half. Flourishes of infectious creativity were often weighed down by dark, overwrought words, which were made all the more confusing for being untethered from the initial source material.

Luckily, Bowie’s formidable pop instincts ensured that these ebbs were invariably countered by undeniable crests — namely via the unusually direct love letter to his adoring fans, ‘Rock ’n’ Roll With Me,’ and the gloriously raw career landmark, ’Rebel Rebel,’ which built the bridge between glam and the not-yet born British punk movement in four-and-a-half perfectly imperfect minutes.

All this being said, not even artistic triumph, chart-dominating singles and impressive album sales (No. 1 in the U.K. and No. 5 in the U.S.) could mask Bowie’s ongoing growing pains on ‘Diamond Dogs.’ This is why, with decades of hindsight, ‘Diamond Dogs’ now seems more like the gateway from the Ziggy Stardust era to his Thin White Duke blue-eyed-soul period, and beyond.

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MessagePosté le: Dim 4 Mai - 09:06 (2014)    Sujet du message: Happy 40th birthday, Diamond Dogs! Répondre en citant

Classic Album: David Bowie – Diamond Dogs

May 2nd, 2014 | by Jonathan Wallace

In Diamond Dogs, with a twisted and sophisticated take on his sound, David Bowie predicted a dark, post-apocalyptic future world. 40 years on, how does the prophecy and the music stand up?

In 1974 David Bowie needed to deliver. The Ziggy Stardust album (1972) and accompanying stage show was a whirlwind success and saw Bowie become a significant rising star in America and the most important pop artist in the UK. The follow up, Aladdin Sane (1973), was swallowed up as a straight sequel by a public so Ziggy hungry, they barely noticed the (subtle but not insignificant) musical developments. In time for the Christmas market of the same year, came a covers album. Pin Ups now seems (and can’t have seemed much differently at the time) like a cash in and a stop-gap to allow Bowie to plan his next move. That next move would come under more comprehensive scrutiny than anything he’d released before, hence the need to deliver.

As Pin Ups hit the shelves, whatever careerist thoughts people might have had about him, Bowie’s concerns were of firmly of an artistic bent rather than fiscal. Renowned (and often reviled) for his magpie-like borrowing from a broad palette of influences, in late ’73 his latest obsession was the “cut-up” style of the beat poets and of William Burroughs in particular. The technique (taking a finished piece of text, cutting it to pieces and rearranging it to form a new text) formed a notable lyrical tool in the writing of Diamond Dogs. Musically, having perfected (if not exclusively invented) glam rock, Bowie was keen to move on before it became stale which of course it soon would. While he managed to thoroughly update his sound in parts of the album, elsewhere it linked directly back to Ziggy setting up a strange duality. Conceptually though, Diamond Dogs is solid, which cleverly pulled the diverse elements together. The concept, as we’ll see, may have been second hand (and on closer inspection feels slightly less than watertight) but nevertheless, it works.

The concept is derived from another of Bowie’s literary favourites - Nineteen Eighty-Four. Diamond Dogs actually began life as prep work towards a stage musical of the George Orwell dystopian classic. This planned theatre version was abandoned for a number of reasons (not least because the rights were denied) but Bowie took the material he’d written and applied it to his own nightmarish vision. Set in Hunger City where “Fleas the size of rats sucked on rats the size of cats” Bowie conjures sinister images of a land not for the faint hearted.

‘Future Legend’ gets the fun started coming across like a movie trailer that begins “In a world…” He introduces us to, and skillfully engrosses us in this frightening landscape in a brief tableau. With just a few monstrous lines of cut-up narrative backed by appropriately spooky tunage, the scene is well and truly set. It’s grim and yet it’s grotesque camp too. Then, just as we’re ready to be sucked into this decaying universe, the ghost of Ziggy appears and blasts us with the title track. “This ain’t Rock ‘n’ Roll – This is Genocide” he warns with a sound-bite proclamation. It makes the intro feel like a trick, yet the familiar glam rhythm is still gratifying and the sound - The Stones fronted by Iggy (or Lou, or both) is even more so. The cut-ups continue and map out the story successfully. Although it sounds like Ziggy, he does introduce us to new persona Halloween Jack, who inhabits this realm and despite it’s hazards, apparently thrives there.

At this point the album can go either way. Apart from that weird intro it’s Bowie business as usual (Ziggy was dark too remember). It’s here that Diamond Dogs begins, in earnest, to nail it’s colours to the mast. An almost nine minute suite ‘Sweet Thing/Candidate’ lays it on thick and challenges us to get on board or run. It’s an immense psycho-ballad affair that introduces Bowie’s throaty baritone. It’s the vocal style that was to galvanise so many goth rock singers over the following decade but through the song it progresses gradually upwards reaching falsetto and somewhere beyond. It’s an heroic singing performance rarely matched (though he would come close – appropriately on ‘”Heroes”‘). The music shifts throughout from a sluggish fuzz (that Zappa would soon add to his canon) via a late Beatles guitar solo and on through to a kind of art musical that Queen would have come up with if they’d tried.

It’s a lot to take on board which is probably why we’re thrown straight back into familiar territory with the irresistibly glistening riff of ‘Rebel Rebel’. Then or now, anyone who struggled through the enormity of the preceding nine minutes can relax again with light relief. Released as the lead single prior to the album, every listener was and is familiar with ‘Rebel Rebel’. It’s slithering lead guitar figure is heaven sent and Bowie flaunts his Jagger knock-off even more than on ‘Diamond Dogs’. But that previous nine minutes changed everything and ‘Rebel Rebel’, hardly prone to criticism as a pop song, already feels lightweight and throwaway. So as side one closes we’re at another crossroads. This album can still go either way.

Turning over, unexpectedly it’s the backwards looking Bowie that seems determined to lay claim to Diamond Dogs. ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll with Me’ is an over-the-top uber-ballad that out-glams and out-Ziggys practically everthing from the Stardust era. The vocal delivery, the subject matter, the chord progressions. Every note, every inflection, they’re all straight from the glam anthem text book. To this end, it is close to faultless yet it seems a step backwards, from even Aladdin Sane. However, it becomes apparent that it is at once a hint of things to come (the following year’s soul soaked Young Americans album) as well as a fitting farewell to glam. For from this point on, it is truly Diamond Dogs all the way.

While the suite on side one is an obvious centrepiece of the album, it’s ‘We Are the Dead’ that represents it’s essence most succinctly. An eerie verse manages to maintain an air of semi-positivity, but soon deteriorates into an ever-spiralling nightmare of the most frightful cut-ups yet. The music isn’t completely without precedent (he came close on 1970’s The Man Who Sold the World album) but more than ever before, a haunted house atmosphere prevails. Unidentified ooze drips from every instrument and Bowie sneers through gritted teeth. Hunger City, in all its grime, urban decay and scavenging is brought to life, if you allow the jumbled lyrics to dictate their own meaning.

Should you find Bowie’s borrowing of ideas bothersome, you might want to step out for ’1984′. It’s a careful reproduction (barely concealed theft) of Isaac Hayes’ iconic ‘Theme from Shaft’. However, once the overfamiliarity of the wah-wah guitar and swooping strings fades, the reshuffled stylistic ingredients do result in a fantastic end product. It is outlandish, theatrical drama, furthers the dark tale, maintains a continuing sense of dread and still features the art-musical feel of the newer sounding material.

And then, much more suddenly than the first, side two approaches it’s finale. ‘Big Brother’ paired with it’s garbled, anti-loop coda ‘Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family’ provide another suite-like section to draw this gruesome tale to a close. The two together only total 5+ minutes, but the unconventional patchwork structure of ‘Big Brother’ and the mis-stepping, yet edgily hypnotic swirl of ‘Chant’, create the illusion of an eternity enduring Bowie’s dark vision. ‘Big Brother’ musically manages to summarise Bowie’s career to date, yet perhaps pushes forward more than anything else here. ‘Chant’ meanwhile is a repetitive experiment in unusual time signatures that oddly compliments the intro, bookending a challenging and rewarding experience.

Diamond Dogs was another triumph in a decade of albums few can rival. It’s not perfect. The success as a conceptual whole, illustrated perfectly by the freakish cover art, harshly exposes the more pop moments of the album. The need to include “hits” dilutes the bigger picture. Also the song programming is a touch confused and delays the impact of what this thing is really all about. Ultimately though, these flaws do little to damage the achievement. Artistically, Bowie was moving too quickly for the public, the music industry and even for himself. Jonathan Wallace

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MessagePosté le: Dim 4 Mai - 09:16 (2014)    Sujet du message: Happy 40th birthday, Diamond Dogs! Répondre en citant

Je l'écoute en ce moment même:)
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1974 was yet another dramatic year in David Bowie's career. He entered it with the famous Ziggy/Aladdin haircut intact, Britain's biggest rock star since the Beatles, a string of hit singles and albums in his wake. He left it remade a soul boy, with red mullet permanently off the menu. Diamond Dogs is the rite of passage between these two extremes. With its portents of a funkier future, it delivers with its immense decadence and astonishing creativity, the coup de grace to the whole glam rock moment. The songs, the cover and, a little later, that terribly worrying (though artistically brilliant) documentary, Cracked Actor - all seemed to up the ante in some quite terrifying way. Diamond Dogs was Number 1 in the UK for a month and, succeeding where Ziggy and Aladdin Sane had failed, was the album that broke Bowie in the USA, reaching Number 5. For many fans, Diamond Dogs is simply David Bowie's best album.

And it all started in 1984.

George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece, published in 1949, was a chilling, nightmarish vision of the future. The themes of surveillance, lovelessness, depersonalization and cultural terrorism are brilliantly realised in a novel which still stands as the most resonant warning against the terrors of totalitarianism. The novel had made a big impact on Bowie as a teenager, and, in its powerful themes, he saw the basis for his first rock musical. His new album was originally conceived as a straight adaptation of the Orwell novel, with his songs used to tell the story. Halfway through the preparation of the album, however, Bowie was told the bad news that George Orwell's widow was less than pleased about the project:

'It actually was a stone-cold version of 1984 as a musical. And it was in fact the first time that I was rejected by a literary figure. My office approached Mrs Orwell, because I said, "Office, I wanna do 1984 as a musical, go get me the rights" and they duly trooped off to see Mrs Orwell who in so many words said, "You've got to be out of your gourd, do you think I'm turning this over to that as a musical?" So, they came back and said, "Sorry David, you can't write it". And I said, "What do you mean, it's impossible, of course I can write it!" And they said, "No, she won't let you, you see, she won't give you the rights. She won't sell you the rights for any amount of money in the world. She said she's seen one film of it, and that that was such a disaster that she'll never let it out of her grasp ever again."

Recording had however already started at Olympic Studios in Barnes, London, where Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones had cut many of their classic songs. One eager teenage fan was Denis O'Regan, later to become one of the most important photographic journalists in the world:

'The Diamond Dogs album and tour came about well before I became a professional photographer. At this point the only time that I had seen David perform live was at the Hammersmith Odeon, on the night before he retired the Ziggy Stardust character. David recorded parts of Diamond Dogs at Olympic Studios in Barnes a mile away from where I lived. I saw some excited fans outside the studio. I'd heard the rumours and instinctively knew that David was due to arrive...

Dressed in a large hat and coat, David climbed out of his American limo and bounced across the pavement to the studio, cigarette in mouth. He signed some autographs, and I snapped a few pictures with my first-ever camera, bought from a friend for £5. A few years later I was a professional photographer and NME's biggest contributor. Five years after that, I was David's official photographer.'

For the first time in four years, Bowie was working without producer Ken Scott. Mick Ronson, Bowie's right-hand man musically, had also departed to pursue a solo career. So, Bowie was left without a topic, and, through his own choosing, without a band. Yet out of such seeming adversity came greatness. It's a measure of Bowie's creativity at the time that he managed to change tack quite effortlessly and 1984- The Musical, morphed into something altogether different, and altogether more compelling:

'I really had to turn around on a dime, 'cos I was already in the studio putting bits of it down and I thought, oh no!, I kind of have to go somewhere else with this. Which was fairly easy because I was working with this real freewheeling guy called Keith Harwood. I was kind of in awe of him, because he'd worked on three Stones albums, so he was really a professional rock 'n' roller. He was one of the first people who was, like, down and out rock 'n' roll. He had the greasy hair and the boots and the leather jacket. I'd been used to engineers and producers like Ken Scott, who goes home to his wife at night, tie and shirt and all that, a very professional person, - sort of my George Martin in a way. Keith was like heavyweight, cocaine and grease, and "hey, rock and roll!" And it was only really me and Keith in the studio, because I'd got this thing, my usual thing, well, I don't need a band, I'll play all the instruments, it's as easy as that. I did end up using proper drummers and bass players and things, but a lot of the overdub stuff, the guitars and the saxophones and the keyboards, was me.'

One of the reasons why the album has remained such a fan favourite is that it is perhaps the most Bowie of all the Bowie albums yet released. He is so committed, so involved in this music; it never feels compromised or diluted, it's raw, neat Bowie. That said, Bowie's hired help was of the top-drawer variety. First off there was Herbie Flowers, one of Britain's best bassists. Then there was Mike Garson on piano, retained from the Spiders line up. Bowie's long-standing mate, Geoff MacCormack, now going by the name of Warren Peace, was on backing vocals, whilst Alan Parker, then in Blue Mink and now a renowned composer for film and television, was on lead guitar. Two drummers would work on the sessions: Aynsley Dunbar, who had taken Woody Woodmandsey's place for Pin Ups, and Tony Newman, Herbie Flowers' buddy and already one of the most experienced drummers doing the rounds. Bowie had lost the Spiders, but he had constructed a powerhouse of a band to take their place, albeit, on a less permanent basis.

In fact, Bowie enjoyed the artistic freedom afforded him after the break-up of the Spiders, the hired-hand nature of the new band suited him.

'The nicest thing about that particular way of working is that they don't feel that they're my band', Bowie said. 'The Spiders looked to me to supply them with new identities. And I said, "Look, there really isn't a band in the next concept; the next concept is Aladdin Sane, on his own, and having done that, I want to write about the cities that Ziggy comes from, the Diamond Dogs thing, and there's no band in that.'

'He told me that his Spiders from Mars image was over, and that he was going in a completely different direction', recalls Aynsley Dunbar.

'Although I was fortunate to work with some of the best musicians at the time, David still stood out as a great composer and writer. He knew exactly what he wanted, and that made it very easy to work with him. He was a superb performer, as he got very involved in each part that he created for himself. Before I met him, I knew David only by his outrageous stage personas (fluorescent hair, extreme makeup, and his wildly bizarre clothes) and thoroughly expected him to look weird at the session. When I arrived at the studio, I remember thinking, "Man, this gig is going to be weird." Actually, he turned out to be quite an exceptional person to work with. Not only was he tremendously talented and focused, but also he surprised me by the way he looked at the sessions. He dressed very elegantly, in good clothes, had tremendous style and was very much into fashion.'

There was still the odd 'what not to wear' fashion discussion though. This was, after all, 1974. Drummer Tony Newman, who was hired for the sessions, and then made the transition to Bowie's touring band for the first leg of the Diamond Dogs tour, recalls the Bowie of those days:

'He was very, very thin. Well we were all very thin. We all dressed everyday, especially for rehearsals for the tour. I had all these Granny Takes A Trip suits, all this glam-rock stuff, so I'd get dressed, and David would too, and we'd always talk about our outfits. I remember one day we were talking about shoes. He had these stack-heeled shoes ­ pink, with crocodile skin ­ and I had some too. He said, 'Aren't you sick of wearing those?' And I said, 'Yes, I am, actually' and he said, 'no, it's not a very nice fashion is it, I'm sick of this now.' So, he didn't wear them anymore!

By the time of the tour, he had the auburn hair and cut himself rather like a model. But he was just one of the lads, he was always of good humour, and always treated us with respect.'

Indeed, the atmosphere in the sessions was businesslike, but fun too. 'Herbie and Tony Newman were like a double act, like Morecambe and Wise', is how Geoff MacCormack remembers it. 'They were sort of jobbing musos with wonderful anecdotes and one-liners, very funny, good London boys'.

By his own admission, it was obvious by the end of 1973 that cocaine and various addictions were beginning to impact on the life of the former David Jones. Bowie had long been fascinated (some said fixated) by themes of decadence and death, and now he appeared ever more convinced of the impending and inevitable end of Western culture as we knew it. Earlier that year, Bowie and his friend and musician Geoff MacCormack had travelled back to Europe by train from a concert tour in Japan. It was a stark introduction to a new political system for both of them. 'We came back via Siberia, through China, Russia and Poland', recalls MacCormack. 'I think it must have stirred his imagination. Here was an insight into another system, quite a shocking insight in many ways because culturally it was so different, especially coming from Japan, which we had both fallen in love with, and where the different cultural shocks were all pleasant shocks. They were lovely people in the Eastern Bloc, but it was still then in the Seventies a harsh system; you felt like you were being noted, if not watched.'

Other inspirations for Diamond Dogs came from Bowie's childhood. At the same time, Bowie was also doing what he has always done best ­ antennae out, he was picking up the faint sounds of tomorrow's culture:

'I had in my mind this kind of half Wild Boys/1984 world, and there were these ragamuffins, but they were a bit more violent than ragamuffins. I guess they staggered through from Clockwork Orange too. They'd taken over this barren city, this city that was falling apart. They'd been able to break into windows of jewellers and things, so they'd dressed themselves up in furs and diamonds. But they had snaggle-teeth, really filthy, kind of like violent Oliver Twists. It was a take on, what if those guys had gone malicious, if Fagain's gang had gone absolutely ape-shit? They were living on the tops of buildings. I got that from my father's work at Dr Barnardo's Homes, because Dr Barnardo and Lord Shaftesbury had once gone onto the roofs of the city of London and had found all these urchins living up there. That always stayed in my mind as being an extraordinary image, all these kids living on the roofs of London. So, I had the Diamond Dogs as living on the streets. They were all little Johnny Rottens and Sid Viciouses really. And in my mind, there was no means of transport, so they were all rolling around on these roller skates with huge wheels on them and they squeaked because they hadn't been oiled properly. So there were these gangs of squeaking, roller-skating, vicious hoods, with Bowie knives and furs on, and they were all skinny because they hadn't eaten enough, and they all had funny-coloured hair. In a way, it was a precursor to the punk thing; that's the way it was going. That was what I decided would be my rock musical, Diamond Dogs. It never came up to being a rock musical, but I got damn near it.'

Diamond Dogs ushered in an era of darker themes and paranoid emotional states. It was obvious from the start that it would be a heavier and darker album than any he had made since The Man Who Sold The World. 'I recall Olympic Studios. It had a very heavy vibe', says Mike Garson. 'The studio played me as I played it!' 'The studio was very dark', agrees Tony Newman. The whole thing was black, apart from David's lights. When he's in the studio he's illuminated. It was like he was singing the song, and there was an aura about him, because that's exactly how I remember him singing 'Sweet Thing'. 'Olympic 2 was a little bit doomy', agrees Alan Parker. 'The smaller Studio 2 was oppressive purely because of the set-up there. But we had a great time recording. I remember those sessions going extremely well. And then there's another sort of overdub room upstairs, which is where I did some other guitar work on that LP.

Although most of the material had already been worked out before the album began, there would be some experimentation in the studio. Diamond Dogs marked the beginning of a more experimental way of working in general for Bowie, as Mike Garson remembers: 'I have this memory of David taking lyrics, and with a scissor cutting them up randomly and pasting them together.' 'I got the feeling that there was some lyric-writing and arranging on the spot. As we played, other things would develop,' recalls Tony Newman.

This was the beginning of Bowie using the studio as an instrument. 'Big Brother/Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family' was in part constructed out of studio 'accidents', and provides one of the musical highlights of this astonishing album. The moment when the song morphs into the chant, in 5/4 time, is as thrilling a piece of rock theatre as Bowie has ever committed to tape.

The centre piece of the album, and, a fan favourite to this day, is the song suite 'Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (reprise)', a near nine-minute epic which some would say defines the Bowie of the post-glam rock world better than any other song. Not only is it a bravura performance from the lad himself, with the seamy, low register of the beginning building to some bracing, showboating, but the music twists, turns and tumbles, part-pop, part-show tune, part-avant-garde experiment. However, for the middle section, when Bowie smells 'the blood of les tricoteuses', he asks Tony Newman to play in character: '"Sweet Thing" is where I become the young, French military drummer watching his first guillotining. David and I were talking about atmosphere and vibe, and that was one of the scenarios I had to play for him.' Newman's militaristic paradiddle, captures the mood perfectly. Although he plays such a starring role on the cut as musician, Mike Garson has this to say about the classic track:

'I forgot all about it; I didn't even hear it until 2000. When I did, I was very impressed with the playing. As usual, David's writing skills inspired me to great heights. That's what I love about our relationship, even after all these years. The best way to put it is we are in sync at certain moments, where the whole is greater than the parts.'

Newman also remembers the unconventional recording set-up for the title track:

'"Diamond Dogs', was, I think, originally recorded as a three-piece - bass, piano and drums - Mike Garson, Herbie Flowers and I. I can remember that track. David sang right in front of me, he was standing right in front of the drums. I remember that I reversed the backbeat deliberately, and he really liked that. I was thinking, "This is getting a bit old, let's try something new", and that's how its stayed. I think he sang it once and we recorded it; we didn't do it much, there weren't many takes. He's a great singer anyway.'

Diamond Dogs is a Gothic horror-trip into grotesquery and seedy lowlife. Bowie's cultural references are seamlessly woven together with name checks here, mini vignettes there. The title track, references Todd Browning, the maker of the then banned 1932 film Freaks, one of the most controversial horror pics ever made, starring, as it did, men and women with real-life deformities and rare medical conditions. The underrated 'We Are The Dead', with its horror-movie electric piano opening, funereal pace and horror-house imagery, is likewise graphically Gothic. But it's the brazen drug-referencing that is most evident: 'Is it nice in your snowstorm, freezing your brain?', Bowie inquires in 'Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (reprise)', before adding 'Do you think that your face looks the same?' Earlier he suggests: 'We'll buy some drugs and watch a band/Then jump in a river holding hands'.

The druggy, low-life themes are, of course, very Burroughsian in their influences (we've already seen how Bowie used the cut-up technique in some of the lyrics) (Note: Can David recall on what songs he utilised the cut up technique?). In November 1973, as the project was taking shape, journalist Craig Copetas arranged a meeting between Bowie and Burroughs for an article in Rolling Stone. Geoff MacCormack recalls: 'I remember William Burroughs turning up one day. He was a quite awesome-looking guy. He had these tiny little black eyes, and you didn't quite know what his look was portraying, it was kind of an empty stare. He wasn't the kind of guy you would bound over to and say, hi man, how ya doin!?'

But it wasn't all doom and degradation; Diamond Dogs contains three great pop tunes: 'Rebel Rebel', for example, has become a legendary rock track. Alan Parker, who had been called in for the album, remembers working with Bowie on the brilliant riff:

'He's very quick, David. He'd say, "Yeah I like that particular approach", and he'd throw in a couple of thoughts or ideas. On "Rebel Rebel", he had the riff about 75% sorted out. He wanted it a bit like a Stones riff, and he played it to me as such, and I then tinkered around with it. I said, "Well, what if we did this and that and made it sound more clangy and put some bends in it?", and he said, "Yeah, I love that, that's fine"'. I can tell you exactly what I used, it was an old Les Paul standard, a black one, and it was an old Fender reverb amp with a single Wharfedale speaker in them.'

Bowie remembers 'Alan's additions to the 'Rebel Rebel' riff were the three descending notes, A flat, D and E at the end of each riff. That gave it its nice continuity.'

'Rebel Rebel' would give an expectant public its first taste of the new album. The single stormed the UK charts, debuting at Number 6, before surprisingly sticking at Number 5 for three long weeks. On the other hand, 'Rock 'n' Roll With Me' the single that never was, pointed ever so slightly, towards the more soulful future that would be the Young Americans period. Geoff MacCormack remembers helping Bowie with the music.

'We wrote it in Oakley Street [Bowie's London home at the time]. 'I'd just popped around to hang. David was fiddling around on a tiny piano. He got up, and I started fiddling around with a chord sequence and stuff that I had just written. David said, 'Hang on a minute, play that again!' So, it was very much accidental. My contribution was round the verse parts. I wouldn't have dreamt of sitting down and saying, "Oh let's write a song together."

And what's the song actually about? Geoff MacCormack can shed some light: 'I've never asked David, but it is my understanding that the content is the relationship between artiste and audience.'

'1984', later released as a single in America, was another classic Bowie cut. The brilliant 'Shaft'-aping riff from Alan Parker, and Bowie's portentous lyric - 'beware the savage jaw of 1984' - were topped off by some wonderful string arrangements, this time courtesy of a re-called Tony Visconti. 'Can you write some Barry White strings for that', was Bowie's directive. 'Then Bowie called about mixing Diamond Dogs', continues Visconti:

'He said he'd produced it himself and couldn't get a decent mix anywhere. He was just asking for advice on selecting a studio, not suggesting that we should work together. As I was putting the finishing touches to my private studio, I suggested he try my place. I had just purchased the contents of a brand-new sixteen-track studio. I bought all the latest digital devices, as well as the "classic equipment". All I lacked was studio furniture, but David said he had to try it immediately. He arrived early in the afternoon the next day and we played around with the title track. Having still no furniture, we mixed sitting on a couple of carpenter's sawhorses. He took a copy home and called me the next night to say it sounded great everywhere he played it, and to book my studio for the next two weeks. Before he came the next day, a huge Habitat van showed up. David had bought me chairs for the studio, a dinner table, and all manner of cutlery and china for the dining area as a present.'

With the album ready, the next stage was the artwork, and a typical piece of Bowie opportunism. Having spoken to Mick Jagger, who was then putting the final touches to the upcoming Stones album, It's Only Rock And Roll, Bowie discovered that Jagger and co. were working with the Belgian artist Guy Peellaert, who had published Rock Dreams, a collection of portraits of pop legends, including Bowie himself. Moving in for the kill, Bowie asked Peellaert to produce the artwork for Diamond Dogs. Bowie, still with the crimson spiky cut, was depicted as half-man-half-dog; with two moonfaced bitches, faces like clowns, patrolling behind him. His canine genitalia caused such a stir that they had to be removed via airbrush, although they were lovingly restored in the 1990s and remain on full view in this anniversary edition. The thrilling artwork, mixing imagery of decadence, urban breakdown, New York, and the freak show, portrayed an anthropomorphic hell. And Diamond Dogs would be released four and a half months before the Stones' effort. The sound of stolen echoed around planet pop.

Contemporary critical reaction to the album was generally positive, despite the rather awkward conditions to which reviewers were subjected. No advance copies of the record were made available; journalists were invited to attend a preview at the MainmMan offices in New York, where tape-recorders and note-pads were strictly forbidden. How a considered opinion could be reached in such conditions is hard to say. Chris Charlesworth, who penned a glowing review for Melody Maker, was less than impressed by the machinations of Bowie's people:

'In hindsight, nowadays, I tend to think: Who did those people (at MainmMan) think they were, and what did they think they were dealing with - a new work of such far-reaching importance to western culture that it had to be treated with the reverence Buck House servants no doubt reserve for laundering royal underwear? Their self-importance was staggering. It was a fucking pop record, one of hundreds released that year. Did they think that some great catastrophe might occur if I was to take notes? Would that I'd had the bottle to tell them MM was interested in reviewing the album only under our conditions. No-one else behaved like that, as I recall, not even the (solo) Beatles, who were the real princes of the rock world at that time.'

The next step was to take the album on the road, and here Bowie pushed rock theatre into territories off the existing cultural map. For the show, which toured in the late spring and summer of 1974 across North America, Bowie would play the role of Halloween Jack. This was basically a one-man show with just two dancers Gui Andrisano and Warren Peace, to provide on-stage action. During 'Diamond Dogs' the two dancers, who doubled as backing singers, lassoed Bowie. For 'Time', Bowie sang enclosed in a gigantic hand, which opened as the song started. For 'Sweet Thing', he sang atop a bridge, whilst, for 'Space Oddity', he seemed to have discovered the gift of flight. Hunger City, a crumbling post-nuclear holocaust city with atomic bomb-blasted skyscrapers of molten steel, would be recreated at huge expense for an astonished public. Chris Charlesworth, who saw the show, remembers the impact:

'I was in Toronto to see the show and I was genuinely impressed. Again, in hindsight, I see now that DB had effectively turned his new album and other songs into a musical starring only himself, but being as how I was largely ignorant of musicals (of the Rodgers & Hammerstein/Lionel Bart variety) and also unimpressed by them (they weren't cool), Bowie's props and presentation were something new for me and very striking. I suppose, in a way, Alice Cooper was doing the same thing, only cruder.'

'It was a scream' is how Bowie put it in 1993:

'I'd have these flats on stage. The band would be positioned behind these flats, and I'd be working through the show and, unbeknownst to me, they'd all edge out, and every time I turned round, they'd go back in again. So it was like, 'he's behind you!', like this pantomime show. It ended up with them all coming on stage with me. But the first two or three shows, I really got them behind the screens and it was like this real stark, one-man show.

We had this cherry-picker, and it had this secretary's chair affixed to the top of it. I'd start off doing 'Space Oddity' sitting in the chair, on the telephone, and, during the course of song, the arm of the cherry-picker would come out of the window, but it was lit in such a way that you didn't see the cherry-picker arm. All you saw was this arm coming out over the audience, and I was about twenty-foot out over the audience, over their heads, singing, and, of course, the nights when it wouldn't go back in and I was bloody stuck out there, God, I had to sing three or four songs until they got me back in. That in itself was so totally Dada because I'd be singing three or four songs into a telephone, it was so ludicrous. And one night I had to actually climb back on the pole to get back into the window because it just wouldn't come back in again. Never work with props. We had a bridge that used to go up and down and a bridge that went from one building to another, the full span of the stage, going asymmetrically from one side to the other. Occasionally that would go plunging down at the speed of light, and I would jump off it when I assumed it would hit the bottom, and I would be in the air so that I didn't come to some catastrophic end.

It was quite an unbelievable, unbelievable headache, that tour, but it was spectacular. It was truly the first real rock 'n' roll theatrical show that made any sense. A lot of people feel that it has never been bettered. I mean, it was such an extravaganza, and it was so weird, it just came from such a strange place. It really did look like one of those expressionist movies come to life, it was like Metropolis meets Caligari, but on stage, in colour and it had a rock 'n' roll soundtrack to it. It was something else, it really was.

As with anything radical and new, there would always be teething problems. One night it would be the set, the next Bowie would have to deal with a certain disgruntlement from the players themselves. Here's Bowie, speaking in 1976:

'I started thinking about how hard it is for musicians to take part in rock theatre, and that's when I tried to lose musicians on the Diamond Dogs show; and that failed dramatically, because everyone complained. They kept saying, "We don't like playing behind these bleedin' screens", and I said, "Well, you've got to, because I haven't got any parts for you. I don't want people to see you playing, because it doesn't look like a street if there's a bass amp stuck in the middle, but it was very hard to convince them about that. So, they all left me, and the show sort of gradually fell apart, which it should have done, because it was about a decaying city, so it was quite apropos that it should have fallen down in the middle of the tour.'

Bowie planned a film version of the album, but the plan was never realised 'Diamond Dogs is the last rock 'n' roll group', Tony Visconti told Radio 1 in 1976. 'In one version of the song, the dogs actually eat people, or they kill people on stage, or they shoot machine guns back into the audience. He has these horrible visions of the apocalypse, the end of civilisation as we know it.' 'I remember helping David to construct a miniature Diamond Dogs set in his hotel suite living room', revealed Visconti in 1999. 'The script was actually the videotape itself at one point. I've never seen it written down on paper, although I'm sure it exists in that form by now.'

Sadly never a film, its influence lives on. Like all of Bowie's best work, Diamond Dogs sucks you into its own universe of sound, and holds you there. If Bowie defined glam rock, then Diamond Dogs is that era's epitaph, for, just a matter of months after the record's release, Bowie had changed musical trains to become a soul singer, leaving glam rock behind forever. This 30th - anniversary edition of Diamond Dogs contains a bonus CD of curios, including the original version of '1984/Dodo', which was the last time Bowie worked with producer Ken Scott and the remaining Spiders, a version of Bruce Springsteen's 'Growin' Up' featuring Ronnie Wood, and Bowie's 2003 remake of the classic 'Rebel Rebel', which opened many gigs on the Reality tour. Of particular interest is the shorter version of 'Rebel Rebel' which Bowie cut in New York in January April 1974. 'We travelled from Cannes on the SS France, and when we got in to New York, it was one of the first things we did,' recalls Geoff MacCormack. 'I put the congas down on that version of "Rebel Rebel", probably in several takes!' Best of all is Bowie's demo for 'Candidate'. It's no exaggeration to say that this piano-led song contains some of the rudest lyrics of 1973, 'Inside every teenage girl there's a fountain/Inside every young pair of pants there's a mountain'. Bearing no relationship to the 'Candidate' squeezed in between two 'Sweet Things' on the album proper, save the phrase, 'pretend I'm walking home' this demo is a great Bowie song in its own right, and deserves elevation to the very overcrowded pantheon of classic Bowie songs.

Diamond Dogs broke Bowie in America in 1974, though, for his British fans, it was the moment he withdrew from centre-stage. One fan, the young Marc Riley, later better known as BBC Radio 1''s Lard, can still feel his adolescent pain:

'Diamond Dogs represents to me something of a double edged sword. Still one of my favourite Bowie albums it brings back painful memories of myself as an over-sensitive 13-year-old feeling abandoned by my leader. I'd missed the Aladdin Sane tour by a matter of months but by June 74, I was a seasoned gig go-er eagerly awaiting Bowie's triumphant return. Which never came. Rumours of the Diamond Dogs tour hitting Britain ­ unlike the tour itself ­ came and went. He dropped the album in our laps and disappeared for what seemed to be an age!

Alan Yentob's Cracked Actor documentary, although flawless, only added insult to injury. It rankled to see all those "ac/dc" Californian "space cadets" waltzing in and out of the spectacle that is now considered the first theatrical prop-ridden enormodome stage-show AND I COULDN'T GO! Not happy! I've never seen Bowie perform "Sweet Thing /Candidate/Sweet Thing (reprise)" and I probably never will. That grates as well.'

The Diamond Dogs tour was regarded as too expensive to ship to the UK, and leaving many British fans feeling somewhat cheated. For all those who are still mildly miffed, even after thirty years, here is two CDs-worth of pure Bowie brilliance. The dog's bollocks? You bet.

David Buckley
March 2004

David Buckley is the author of two books on David Bowie. Having heard Diamond Dogs on release at the age of 9, he hasn't been the same since.

David would like to thank all those people who gave generously of their time for this piece: Chris Charlesworth, Aynsley Dumbar, Ros Edwards, Mike Garson, Ann Henrickson, Geoff MacCormack, Tony Newman, Alan Parker, Denis O'Regan and Marc 'Lard' Riley. Thanks also to Tony Visconti for permission to use quotes from an earlier interview.

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Diamond Dogs chronology
by Kevin Cann

18-20 October 1973
The Midnight Special American television show vidoed for NBC at the Marquee Club, London. The show, billed as David Bowie's 1980 Floor Show includes one new song, 'Do do/1984'; a taste of his next major recording project, Diamond Dogs.

19 October 1973
Pin Ups LP released.

October/Nov 1973
David and 'new' session' line-up start recording his next LP in Studio 2 at Olympic Studios, Barnes, South London. Recording now gravitates towards Olympic, as well as the important change of surroundings, the studio is technically and aurally as good as Trident. David decides to produce the new material himself, but does conduct one final session with Ken Scott at Trident Studio, recording 'Dodo/1984' (included here on CD 2). David also produces and records one final track at Trident at the end of the year.
The Diamond Dogs schedule keeps him busy for nearly five months and includes, at times; Mike Garson, Aynsley Dunbar, Tony Newman, Ron Wood, Keith Christmas and Blue Mink's Herbie Flowers and Alan Parker (Newman and Flowers would later make up half of Marc Bolan's last band in 1977). Tony Visconti also re-acquainted himself with David and replaced Mick Ronson's valuable input by supplying string arrangements, as well as help on the final mix. Also working at Olympic is Brian Eno, mixing his first solo LP Here Come The Warm Jets. David and Brian occasionally bump into each other at the studio. In 1976 the two would work together on the first of many album collaborations.

27 October 1973
Disc (UK music weekly) reports 'Bowie 1984 A.D., including a brief interview with Tony Ingrassia:
'David Bowie currently writing script with Tony Ingrassia. "We have not fully acquired the rights to the book yet and it is still possible we will have to call it 1983, or something like that!" he joked.'

31 October 1973
David's performance of 'Sorrow' on Top Of The Pops is canceled at the last moment.

November 1973
'Sorrow'/'Amsterdam' single released in the US (issued early October in the UK).

16 November 1973
David's 1980 Floor Show is broadcast on The Midnight Special for the first time on US TV.

21 November 1973
David videos Lindsey Kemp's Mermaids at the Bush Theater, London in a one-off production staged for guests only.

December 1973
'Take It In Right' and 'Candidate' are written by David in December. 'Take It In Right' later becomes 'Can You Hear Me' and is re-recorded for the LP Young Americans in 1975. Demos of both tracks are recorded on the first day of 1974 at Olympic Studios.

3 December 1973
David begins recording The Astronettes vocal group at Olympic Studios, as well as continuing his own recordings. This includes work on another Lulu backing track.

4 December 1973
Attends John Osborne's play A Patriot For Me (starring Marianne Faithful) at the Palace Theatre, Watford with a mystery blonde called Anna.

8 December 1973
Music weekly Disc report on another Bowie project:
'David Bowie is now working on two stage musicals, '1984' and a 'Ziggy Stardust Show', though which of them will be staged first remains anybody's guess.'
It also reported that David had written a 'considerable amount of material for both shows.'

22 December 1973
'Good Luck For 1984', David interviewed by Ray Fox-Cumming for Disc:
'There's this fantastic house somewhere in the Kensington area on which David Bowie had his sights ever since he was a student at art school. On March 1 next, having made the previous owner "an offer he can't refuse". the Bowie family move in. Adam Faith calls to ask David to play guitar on his next LP. David replies. "I'm not much of a guitarist, are you sure you wouldn't rather I did some sax? I'm much better at that."

22 December 1973
Top Of The Pops: Ten Years Of Pop Music 1964-74 broadcast. Presented by Jimmy Saville, the compilation features David's classic '72 performance of 'Starman'.

25 December 1973
David and Angela host Christmas dinner for Mick and Bianca Jagger at their Oakley Street home in Chelsea.
Between Christmas and New Year, David is again drawn into the studio. In his last known visit to Trident, after an important association of around six years, he records an early version of 'Rebel Rebel'. (The 'flamenco' version of Rebel - the favoured live version would be recorded in New York soon after his arrival in April 74, with Goeff MacCormack helping out on percussion.)

December 1973
In London's Pall Mall thoroughfare, a 10 foot high colour billboard display featuring David from the 1980 Floor Show is erected. Drawn by George Underwood, the ad wishes Londoners Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year.

1 January 1974
David, eager to carry on recording, is back in the studio on New Years Day. Early versions of 'Take It In Right' and 'Candidate' are made, the former a basic acoustic recording with lyrics still in progress, the latter (featured on CD2) written for the on-going stage musical project. Keith Harwood engineers, assisted by Olympic Studio's Andy Morris.
Astronettes recording also continues in Studio 2 each day until January 5, resuming on January 9 to 11.

8 January 1974
On his 27th birthday, David visits the home of his best mate George Underwood in cast Hampstead, accompanied by Amanda Lear. David takes them to Everyman cinema in Hampstead to see Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis'. Along with Robert Wiene's 'Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' and Murnau's 'Nosferatu', German expressionist film was to influence many of Bowie's stage shows over the next few years.

January 1974
Lulu's 'The Man Who Sold The world/'Watch That Man' single released, reaching number 3 in the UK (her highest chart entry since 1969). Lulu was the last artist David would produce (he wouldn't take personal production credits on Iggy Pop's '77/'78 LPs The Idiot and Lust For Life).

10 January 1974
Lulu performs her new single 'The Man Who Sold The World' on Top Of The Pops. David helps her to record the backing track for the appearance and oversees the sound.

14 January 1974
David records 'Big Brother at Olympic Studios. The Astronettes LP recording concludes January 14/15, the project is left incomplete.

15 January 1974
A busy day at Olympic Studios. David records 'Rock 'N' Roll With Me', 'Candidate', 'Big Brother', Take It In Right' and 'Diamond Dawgs (sic).
It was during this period that David began to deconstruct his lyrics using the famed 'cut-up' methodology. This technique featured on a number of Diamond Dogs tracks, including 'Sweet Thing'. It was originally inspired by The Cut-Ups, a mid-60s film produced by Williams Burroughs and Antony Balch and first seen by David at an Arts Lab event. Another of his heroes Tristan Tzara, who conducted similar Dada-ist writing experiments some forty years before Burroughs may also have stimulated David's creative process.

16 January 1974
'We Are The Dead' recorded at Olympic.
David contacts his old friend Tony Visconti for advice about the final mix of Diamond Dogs, finding Visconti in the process of building a small studio at his home in Hammersmith. David visits - master tapes in hand - which they both listen to in the half-finished studio.

25 January 1974
'Love Me Tender'/'Slaughter On 10th Avenue' single released by Mick Ronson. This was the beginning of a DeFries master plan to launch Mick in the wake of David's retirement.

12 February 1974
David appears on Dutch TV show Top Pop miming to 'Rebel Rebel'. During his visit to Amsterdam he is presented with the Edison Award for 'Most Popular Male Vocalist', the most prestigious music award in Holland.

13 February 1974
David makes final adjustments to Diamond Dogs during a brief visit to Studio L. Ludolf, Hilversum, Holland.

15 February 1974
'Rebel Rebel'/'Queen Bitch' single released on Valentines Day, the first taste of David's new eagerly sought after LP. The single makes number 5 in the UK.

22/23 February 1974
Mick Ronson makes his first solo appearances at the Rainbow Theatre, north London. David attends the first night.

28 February 1974
William S. Burroughs' interview with David is published in Rolling Stone, the two introduced (and the article prepared) by journalist Craig Copetas at Bowie's Oakely Street home the previous November. David reveals his admiration for Burrough's literary cut-up technique, particularly the 'wonderhouse of strange shapes, colours, tastes, and feelings' created in his books.

1 March 1974
Mick Ronson's first solo LP, Slaughter On 10th Avenue released, including three contributions from David; 'Growing Up And I'm Fine', 'Music Is Lethal' (featuring just David's lyrics) and 'Hey Ma Get Papa', the only track co-written by Mick and David.
David also recommends the title track to Mick, buying him the LP of the stage show for inspiration (written by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart). David had also included his own reference to Rodgers and Hart on Diamond Dogs with a taste of 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered' during the LPs 'Future Legend' intro.

15 March 1974
Now We Are Six LP released by Steeleye Span (Chrysalis). David is invited to session on the LP by the producer (and Jethro Tull front man) Ian Anderson, a long-time admirer of David's work.

25 March 1974
MainMan internal telex notes:
'David has virtually finished Diamond Dogs. He is now in the process of recording Lulu.'
The track, 'Can You Hear Me' is written and produced by David, who also plays guitar. Tony Newman is on drums and an unnamed bass player. At this point 'brass and strings will probably be added'.

29 March 1974
On the eve of Diamond Dogs release, David prepares to leave the UK. Whether unintentionally or by plan, he has not returned to live in the UK since.
David travels to Paris, initially for a one-night stay at the Raphael Hotel with travelling companion Geoff MacCormack. Three days later the pair take the train to Cannes, their proposed two-night stay at the Carlton Hotel curtailed to a couple of hours, the two just making the boat for New York.
Also on the 29th, MainMan London telex their New York office that Mick Ronson is arranging strings for Lulu's single 'Can You Hear Me'. This is Mick's last noted work in connection with David in the 70s. It would be nearly 20 years before the two would collaborate in the studio again, on David's 1993 LP Black Tie White Noise.

3 April 1974
Departs from Cannes on the SS France for New York, briefly stopping at Madeira for a few hours ashore. David dines with harmonica playing legend Larry Adler and attends a recital he is giving on the ship.

11 April 1974
Arrives in New York and checks into the Sherry Netherlands Hotel on 5th Avenue. In the year of the Diamond Dogs, David would resume touring and truly discover the highs and lows of living in America.
'Rock 'n' Roll Suicide'/'Quicksand' single released, its highest UK chart position number 22.

24 April 1974
Diamond Dogs LP released, written, arranged and produced by David.
Olympic Studio's Keith Harwood engineered for David, having just worked with the Stones on LP It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, the perfect engineer for David's continued fascination with the Stones sound. Harwood died in 1977.
David oversees art direction on the brilliant Diamond Dogs sleeve, which is created by by Belgian born artist Guy Peellaert, the man behind the classic images in the book Rock Dreams. Peellaert's design a bizarre Orwellian landscape mixed with classic fairground/freak show imagery, based on ideas he found in a book about Coney Island Pleasure Park. Peellaert took with him the photos Terry O'Neill had taken of David with the dog in London and returned to Paris to start work. His studio is itself a library of periodicals and images collected over many years, his unique style an impressive and often subversive collage of photo-realistic artwork.
The Diamond Dogs cover became particularly talked about because - of all things - the almost undetectable dog genitalia, which is removed for public release on the insistence of RCA America.

May 1974
'Rebel Rebel'/'Lady Grinning Soul' single issued in the US, the A-side David's reworking using the original master, then overdubbing and remixing. Geoff MacCormack adds castanets and congas and David additional vocals and phasing. The revised 'Rebel Rebel' is only issued in the US but is featured here on CD 2.

14 June 1974
The Diamond Dogs tour opens at the Montreal Forum in Canada and single 'Diamond Dogs'/'Holy Holy' is issued to coincide. The show is captured for posterity during David's visit to Philadelphia in July and issued as David Live (which will be reissued in a special 30th Anniversary package during 2004).

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Diamond David

"And in the death as the last few rotting corpses lay… ten thousand peoploids split into small tribes coveting the highest of the sterile skyscrapers… like packs of dogs the glass fronts of Love Me Avenue. Any day now — the year of the Diamond Dogs. This ain't Rock 'n' Roll — this is genocide."

That's the vision that opens David Bowie's eighth album, "Diamond Dogs", due to hit the streets late in May. By the time you've heard those words, you'll already have had to cope with the cover-art depiction of Bowie metamorphosed into a dog — a nightmare disturbingly detailed by Guy Peeleart of "Rock Dreams" fame — and the inner cover revealing a city gone to waste.

"Diamond Dogs" is about a future world (any day now), over-mechanized and breaking down. As always, Bowie is topical. The urban decay of the album lyrics could be describing any city, but perhaps they most often evoke New York — the ultimate city. "Diamond Dogs" seems to exactly capture old mother-trucking, blood sucking Noo Yawk: from the hypodermic tip of the Vampire State Building to the subway depths of Transylvania Avenue.


So here I am in New York to hear the album, up in the offices of Mainman — the holding company for Bowie's operations. I'm sitting in Tony Defries' deluxe office, a spacious room where the Axminster tickles yer ankles, and I'm listening to the depiction of the collapse of a city. I sense a contradiction in this somewhere.

A pile of "Financial Times" litter Mr. Defries' desk, a box of the very best Havana cigars lie nearby, and there are memos detailing how the office potted-plants are to be cared for; and when you open a box of special Mainman matches, they've all got golden heads. Matches with many shiny golden heads, that burn with a vivid purple flame before blackening.

Sitting back in the leather couch, I can just see down to Park Avenue, where the wheels of the city turn, and limousines whirr by. But less than a mile away, decay creeps in from Seventh Avenue, and up on Tenth Avenue it's slaughter. Mick Ronson's image is hung fifty feet high over Times Square, and under it, they're showing the first porno movie version of the Bible. New York.

So when those opening words hiss by, spoken over an electronic orchestra, it means something. As the phrase "This ain't rock 'n' roll, this is genocide" ends the title song begins.

It's a rocking raunchy number that owes a heavy debt to the Stones' "Main Street" album. A guitar chimes in, another churns the rhythm along, and a sax section blows a storm. All played by D. Bowie.

"Angie bought me a baritone sax, so I've got the whole set now and I can do a brass section". David later informs me, "and I play all the guitars on this one, except for one bit on '1984' which is Alan Parker".


He's also playing a series of mellotrons and moog synthesizers, which give the first side of the album a ghostly mechanical effect. Between tracks you can hear those machines whirring and clicking away. They create the impression of a machine society, and yet it's still strange that an album which is about the break-down of an over-mechanized society should rely to so heavily upon machines. None of this album would be possible without 16-track tape machines, sophisticated recording studios, mellotrons, and moogs.

"Diamond Dogs" runs to nearly six minutes long, and then cuts into a three-song sequence of nine minutes, comprising "Sweet Thing", "Candidate", and "Sweet Thing Reprise". Bowie's voice on this section is just loaded with decay. Decay; mind you, not decadence. This album is the real thing.

"Rebel Rebel" closes out side one on its lightest note. It's probably Bowie's best single, but it won't be released as such in America. At least three of the other four songs have obvious "single-potential" though, so I'd take bets that an edited "Diamond Dogs" or "1984" hits the charts soon.

Side Two has five songs, and kicks off with "Rock 'n' Roll With Me" which puts stress on the "roll" rather than the rock. It's slow, stately, and delicious. "We Are The Dead" was to have been the original title of the album, and in some ways, it's still the meat, but now it's just cut 2, side 2. A five-minute trip through a graphically depicted wasteland, where images of defecation and anesthesia are crammed together. This time, David isn't just playing with the idea of apocalypse: he's vividly visualizing the pattern of waste and decay, and giving us no starmen to rescue us from the future.


It's slightly surprising to find the song "1984" here. It's part of the "Nineteen Eighty Floor Show" project that Bowie may turn his attention to later this year. But here it is, fitting in perfectly with the futuristic pessimism of the album, and sounding like a movie theme toon.

It's followed — logically enough — by "Big Brother". "We'll build a glass asylum, with just a touch of mayhem" our controller tells us, of a Herb Alpert-like Moog and a heavy industrial hum. The song buzzes into the final number: "Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family" — an electronic study of less than two minutes, which fades for nearly half its length with an echoey eerie "Right, right, right".

It's a strong and effective album, and certainly, the most impressive work Bowie's completed since "Ziggy Stardust". The themes are like those of the more recent albums, but it also goes back to draw on the raw, ugly power that animated "The Man Who Sold The World" to offset the production tartiness of the newer records.

The result is that where "Aladdin Sane" seemed like a series of Instamatic snapshots taken from weird angles, "Diamond Dogs" has the provoking quality of a thought-out painting that draws on all the deeper colors.

Bowie's going to have to reproduce some of these effects on stage when he tours this year, and that was the subject when we talked last week. Having spent a week trying to arrange an interview (he doesn't do them) via various helpful but apologetic Mainmen, one of them runs into the man himself at a 3 o'clock in the morning party given after Todd Rundgren's triumphal Carnegie concert.

"God, I hate New York at times". David theatrically intones, as we get into the 'Englishmen-in-America' rap, "and I've got to spent the next two months here getting the tour ready for a June 14 start in Montreal". The tour then winds its way down through the mid-West to the East Coast, climaxing at Radio City in New York around the end of July.

Nor that David's simply gigging, he'll be making "an extensive series of theatrical presentations" — according to Mainman. "Well, I've a feeling this may be the last big production type of tour that I do", Bowie tells me. Will it go to England? "Oh yeah, sure" he replies. Even after all the "Bowie Quits" headlines of one year ago? David breaks into a very wide grin, "Yeah, well you really want to do it again, and I do like to play.

"Also, I'm putting a very good new band together. There'll be three people from the "Diamond Dogs" album, Mike Garson on piano again, Herbie Flowers on bass, yeah I managed to persuade Herbie to tour with me, and I y'know he's got to be the best bassist in the country, and there's Tony Newman who used to drum in the old Jeff Beck Group.

"I've also been looking for guitars, and I've found a really incredible black guy called Carlos, just Carlos!, and there's another black guy I want to get to play guitar in the band. I want a really funky sound."

"Ever since I got to New York I've been going down to the Apollo in Harlem. Most New Yorkers seem scared to go there if they're white, but the music's incredible. I saw the Temptations and the Spinners together on the same bill there, and next week it's Marvin Gaye, incredible! I mean I love that kind of thing!

"Have you heard Ann Peebles? Yeah, well Lennon's right, ain't he, best record in years. I mean that's what I'd like to do producing Lulu, take to Memphis and get a really good band like Willie Mitchell's and do a whole album with her, which I will do.

"Lulu's got this terrific voice, and it's been misdirected all this time, all these years. People laugh now, but they won't in two years time, you see! I produced a single with her — "Can You Hear Me" — and that's more the way she's going. She's got a real soul voice, she can get the feel of Aretha, but it's been so misdirected.

"English singers do all this 'Oh yeah', 'Alright now' on soul songs, and it's wrong, but when she doesn't do that she just has the feel naturally."


Apart from Lulu, what else has been happening for Bowie?

"Oh, I just spent most of the time in London, there and in Paris, and I did some recording at Ludolf in Holland. Jagger uses that studio a lot, and he's done some really good songs there very recently, you'll hear 'It's Only Rock 'n' Roll Music' [sic] soon it's gotta be the single. Then I came here, now I'm working with Jules Fisher preparing the act for the tour.

"He's working on the staging and lighting, and he's great. He just got an award for the lighting he did on 'Ulysses In Nighttown' for Broadway, and he's worked on 'Hair' and 'Lenny' — a really great lighting designer."

"Then there's the new album, which will be out as soon as the cover art's OK'd by RCA. It's a painting of me changing into a dog, right and they're a bit worried that its cock shows. But apart from the cock, everything's all right".

Rock - June 1974

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David Bowie sings 'Diamond Dogs'

David Bowie's new album, "Diamond Dogs" (RCA Records and Tapes), is full of unanswered queetions. With a little explication, the loose ends may tie up into quite a package, but meanwhile we are left with four good songs that can stand on their own and a lot of material that merely sounds interesting.

First the good news: There are two terrific Rolling Stones songs on the album. Well, they aren't written or performed by the Stones, but that's a minor detail. On the title nunber, it's David playing Keith Richard guitar and Bobby Keyes sax while singing Mick Jagger phrasing, complete with "Woo woos." And the lyrics, though they apparently continue a science-fiction theme that runs throughout the album, could easily be attributed to the Jagger-Richard school.

Not so the lyrics of "Rebel, Rebel," which are a little too cultivated. But otherwise this song is simply a bastard son of The Stones' "Satisfaction." First comes the simple but catchy guitar riff that repeats itself endlessly. Then an almost tuneless hypnotic chanting sort of vocal is added. And the whole thing faces out with a speeded up recitation that snunds almost exactly like the "Satisfaction" ending.

"Rock 'n Roll With Me" is something different, but definitely not rock and roll. It's a ballad with gospel feel and an uplifting chorus, uplifting despite the fact that the lyrics are somewhat cryptic.

And "1984" starts off sounding like the soulful soundtract to one of those black exploitation movies, then moves on into some interesting changes, at times reminiscent of Frank Zappa's work. It features some strings in its imaginative arrangement.

And that's it for what comes through clear and solid on "Diamond Dogs." But the questionable parts, while not always musically satisfying, are interesting and worth mentioning. Foremost is the theme of the alhum. It appears to be science-fiction, a pessimistic picture of civilization in ruins in the not-so-distant future.

Chicago Sun-Times

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MessagePosté le: Dim 4 Mai - 15:27 (2014)    Sujet du message: Happy 40th birthday, Diamond Dogs! Répondre en citant

Sounds of the Times
By Pierre-rene Noth

Rock music has long had a reputation for decadence and defiance. To rock haters, this has been an Indictment of the sound. To rock lovers, that has been one of its outstanding merits. Rock reached its current musical kingship by being against convention, which meant being against the established sounds and the established order.

Rock doesn't have to be either decadent or defiant anymore to be good, but for those who value it by these standards there is a new album superbly suited for play at orgies of a tumbling empire, Roman or modern. It is "Diamond Dogs" on RCA (CPLl-0576) by David Bowie.

Bowie has made the image of decadence and defiance into an almost personal one over the years. His dyed orange hair, lipstick and open appeal to homosexuals got him the attention that at earlier stages of his career was lacking despite the strength of his music. His early "The Man Who Sold the World" album remains his best even though it never sold a tenth of what his releases do now.

"Diamond Dogs" is a fierce album of blasting, crushing and often discordant music. It howls. It moans. It grates. It appalls. Its beat, mainly fueled by the veteran Aynsley Dunbar on drums, is so basic and impelling it rolls other rock before it like a pounding surf.

Bowie, in the opening "Future Legend" number, warns that "This ain't rock'n' roll, this is genocide." While this diamond hard rock may not be quite that murderous, It certainly makes mayhem out of tenderer ears. Hardened by years under the headphones, these ears loved it.

"Rebel Rebel," which is the new single drawn from the album, is an overpowering cut. "Diamond Dogs" may be even better, though less suited to getting AM air play.

Also fierce are "Candidate," "We Are the Dead," "1984," "Big Brother" and "Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family." Not all of the album works ("Sweet Thing" in the first of two versions and the bluesy "Rock 'n' Roll With Me" are the weak links) but few albums show this much consistently overwhelming rocking.

The package's biggest drawback, however, is the lack of a lyric sheet. Ever since the oil-vinyl-paper-and - everything else shortage scare. fewer and fewer albums are coming out with lyrics, booklets, posters or any of the other goodies rock fans were starting to take for granted. And naturally, although you're getting less, the price isn't going down.

But even denuded of proper packaging, "Diamond Dogs" is a greyhound streaking for the front of the rock pack.

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MessagePosté le: Aujourd’hui à 13:04 (2018)    Sujet du message: Happy 40th birthday, Diamond Dogs!

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