Bowie - Aladdin Sane / The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust / The Man Who Stole The World - Triple Vinyl Bundle
Celebrate the anniversary of the April 1973 release of Aladdin Sane with this Spring bundle!
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ALADDIN SANE / THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST / THE MAN WHO STOLE THE WORLD
TRIPLE VINYL BUNDLE
Aladdin Sane is the sixth studio album by David Bowie, released on 13 April 1973 by RCA Records. The follow-up to his breakthrough The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, it was the first album he wrote and released from a position of stardom.
The album features contributions from Bowie's backing band the Spiders from Mars Preceded by the singles The Jean Genie and Drive-In Saturday, Aladdin Sane was Bowie's most commercially successful record up to that point, peaking at No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 17 on the US Billboard 200.
It has also been classified as one of the greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone and one of the best albums of the 1970s by Pitchfork.
THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars needs no introduction, being one of the best-known albums of an enormous cultural icon. This release uses the 2012 remastered versions of the tracks.
THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD
Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World: The Classic Album - 2016 Remastered on 180g Vinyl
The Man Who Sold the World is the third studio album by English rock singer-songwriter David Bowie. It was originally released in the United States by Mercury Records on 4 November 1970, and then in April 1971 in the United Kingdom. He recorded the album with producer Tony Visconti at Trident Studios in London and Advision Studios in central London.
Aladdin Sane is the sixth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 13 April 1973 by RCA Records. The follow-up to his breakthrough The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, it was the first album he wrote and released from a position of stardom. It was produced by Bowie and Ken Scott and features contributions from Bowie's backing band the Spiders from Mars – comprising Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey – as well as pianist Mike Garson, two saxophonists and three backing vocalists. It was recorded at Trident Studios in London and RCA Studios in New York City between legs of the Ziggy Stardust Tour.
Bowie wrote most of the tracks on the road in the US between shows. Because of this, many of the tracks are greatly influenced by America and Bowie's perceptions of the country. Due to the American influence and the fast-paced songwriting, the album features a tougher and raunchier glam rock sound than its predecessor. The lyrics reflect the pros of Bowie's newfound stardom and the cons of touring, and paint pictures of urban decay, drugs, sex, violence and death. Some of the songs are influenced by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, and a cover of their song "Let's Spend the Night Together" is included. The album features a new character called Aladdin Sane, a pun on "A Lad Insane", whom Bowie described as "Ziggy Stardust goes to America". The album cover, shot by Brian Duffy and featuring a lightning bolt across Bowie's face, was the most expensive cover ever made at the time and represents the split personality of the Aladdin Sane character and Bowie's mixed feelings of the tour and stardom. It is regarded as one of his most iconic images.
Preceded by the singles "The Jean Genie" and "Drive-In Saturday", Aladdin Sane was Bowie's most commercially successful record up to that point, peaking at No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 17 on the US Billboard 200. The album also received positive reviews from music critics and, although many found it to be inferior to its predecessor, it has been regarded by Bowie biographers as one of his essential albums. It has also been classified as one of the greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone and NME and one of the best albums of the 1970s by Pitchfork. The album has been reissued several times and was remastered in 2013 for its 40th anniversary, which was included on the box set Five Years (1969–1973) in 2015.
Following the release of his album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and his performance of "Starman" on the BBC television programme Top of the Pops in early July 1972, Bowie was launched to stardom. The television performance helped propel the album to No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart and it remained on the chart for two years, although the album was not as big a success in the US as in the UK, peaking at only No. 75 on the Billboard 200. With the album, Bowie became one of the most important glam rock artists. To promote the album, Bowie undertook the Ziggy Stardust Tour in both the UK and the US, the latter ultimately becoming a major influence for his next album.
David Bowie said, “Aladdin Sane was my idea of rock and roll America. Here I was on this great tour circuit, not enjoying it very much. So inevitably my writing reflected that, this kind of schizophrenia that I was going through. Wanting to be up on stage performing my songs, but on the other hand not really wanting to be on those buses with all those strange people. Being basically a quiet person, it was hard to come to terms. So Aladdin Sane was split down the middle.”
Aladdin Sane was the first album Bowie wrote and released from a position of stardom. He composed most of the tracks on the road during the US tour in late 1972. Because of this, many of the tracks were influenced by America, and his perceptions of the country. Biographer Christopher Sandford believes the album showed that Bowie "was simultaneously appalled and fixated by America". The tour also took a toll on Bowie's mental health, which further influenced his writing; it marked the beginning of his long-time cocaine addiction. He co-produced Lou Reed's album Transformer and mixed the Stooges' album Raw Power the same year, adding to his exhaustion. His mixed feelings about the journey stemmed, in Bowie's words, from "wanting to be up on the stage performing my songs, but on the other hand not really wanting to be on those buses with all those strange people ... So Aladdin Sane was split down the middle." Bowie would later say that due to being on the road, he was unsure of the direction to take for the album. While he felt that he had said as much as he wanted to say about Ziggy Stardust, he knew he'd "end up doing...'Ziggy Part 2'". He stated: "There was a point in '73 where I knew it was all over. I didn't want to be trapped in this Ziggy character all my life. And I guess what I was doing on Aladdin Sane, I was trying to move into the next area – but using a rather pale imitation of Ziggy as a secondary device. In my mind, it was Ziggy Goes to Washington: Ziggy under the influence of America."
Rather than continue the Ziggy Stardust character directly, Bowie decided he would create a new persona, Aladdin Sane. The character reflected the theme of "Ziggy goes to America" and, according to Bowie, was less defined and "clear cut" than Ziggy Stardust, and "pretty ephemeral". According to biographer David Buckley, the character was a "schizoid amalgamation" that was reflected in the music.
Aladdin Sane was mainly recorded between December 1972 and January 1973, between legs of the Ziggy Stardust Tour. Like his previous two albums, it was co-produced by Bowie and Ken Scott and featured Bowie's backing band the Spiders from Mars – comprising Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey. Also in the lineup for the album was American pianist Mike Garson, who was suggested to Bowie by RCA executive Ken Glancey as well as singer-songwriter Annette Peacock, after she declined to play the synthesiser on Aladdin Sane; Garson had played on her recent I'm the One album. Garson played the opening chords of "Changes" to Bowie and Ronson and was hired on the spot. The pianist came from a jazz and blues background, which Pegg believes veered the album from pure rock 'n' roll and expanded Bowie's experimental horizons. Buckley called Aladdin Sane the beginning of Bowie's "experimental phase" and cited Garson's presence on the album as "revolutionary". Scott noted that Garson added elements to the arrangements that were not there before, including more keyboards and synthesisers. Garson later said that Scott as producer "got the best piano sound out of any of his performances for Bowie." Garson remembered being given a lot of attention from Bowie in the studio, who mainly wanted to see what Garson could do. The piano Garson played on the album was the same one used by Rick Wakeman for Hunky Dory. He remained with Bowie's entourage for the next three years. Along with Garson, others added to the tour and album's lineup included saxophonists Ken Fordham and Brian "Bux" Wilshaw and backing vocalists Juanita Franklin, Linda Lewis and longtime friend Geoffrey MacCormack (later known as Warren Peace); MacCormack would subsequently appear on numerous records by Bowie throughout the remainder of the 1970s.
Aladdin Sane was released on 13 April 1973 by RCA Records. With a purported 100,000 copies ordered in advance, the album debuted at the top of the UK charts, where it remained for five weeks. In the US, where Bowie already had three albums in the charts, Aladdin Sane peaked at No. 17, making it Bowie's most successful album commercially in both countries to that date. According to Pegg, this feat was unheard of at the time and guaranteed Aladdin Sane's status as Britain's best-selling album since "the days of the Beatles". The album is estimated to have sold 4.6 million copies worldwide, making it one of Bowie's highest-selling LPs. The Guinness Book of British Hit Albums notes that Bowie "ruled the [British] album chart, accumulating an unprecedented 182 weeks on the list in 1973 with six different titles." Following Bowie's death in 2016, the album re-entered the US charts, peaking at No. 16 on the Billboard Top Pop Catalog Albums chart the week of 29 January 2016, where it remained for three weeks. It also peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Vinyl Albums the week of 18 March 2016, remaining on the chart for four weeks.
Critical reaction to Aladdin Sane was generally laudatory, if more enthusiastic in the US than in the UK. Ben Gerson of Rolling Stone remarked on "Bowie's provocative melodies, audacious lyrics, masterful arrangements (with Mick Ronson) and production (with Ken Scott)” and pronounced it "less manic than The Man Who Sold The World, and less intimate than Hunky Dory, with none of its attacks of self-doubt." Billboard called it a combination of "raw energy with explosive rock". In the British music press, letters columns accused Bowie of 'selling out' and Let It Rock magazine found the album to be more style than substance, considering that he had "nothing to say and everything to say it with". Similarly, Kim Fowley of Phonograph Record considered the record bad, save for "Time" and "The Prettiest Star". Fowley found the record's flaws to be "over-verbalised multi-symbolistic lyrics", not enough collaboration with Mick Ronson when making it, and the presence of Garson on piano.
Other British writers gave more positive assessments. Also writing for Phonograph Record, Ron Ross stated that with the record, Bowie has proven himself to be "one of the most consistent and fast-moving artists since the Beatles". Ross considered side one "the tightest, and probably the best, work Bowie has ever recorded". Writer Charles Shaar Murray of NME felt Aladdin Sane was a strong contender for album of the year, further calling it "a worthy contribution to the most important body of musical work produced in this decade."
The Village Voice critic Robert Christgau wrote a few years later that his favorite Bowie album had been Aladdin Sane, "the fragmented, rather second-hand collection of elegant hard rock songs (plus one Jacques Brel-style clinker) that fell between the Ziggy Stardust and Diamond Dogs concepts. That Bowie improved his music by imitating the Rolling Stones rather than by expressing himself is obviously a tribute to the Stones, but it also underlines how expedient Bowie's relationship to rock and roll has always been."