RCD 10137 Diamond Dogs
Produced by Bowie
Released on April 1974
UK CHART POSITION #1, RE-CHART POSITION #60 (1983) and #67 (1990) . . . US CHART POSITION #5 . . . GOLD RECORD (7/26/74)
Find it at GEMM
RCD 10137 cover  

I used to listen to this album before I went to school, just to brace me for the Orwellian world ahead. The artist originally envisioned this as a concept album based on the book 1984, but George Orwell’s widow wasn’t buying it. So Bowie invented his own future world peopled by mutants, androgynous teenagers, and Big Brother, packaging it as Diamond Dogs. As concept albums go, the songs are only loosely aggregated to one another; the same themes were at work on Aladdin Sane and no one calls that a concept album. In many ways, Diamond Dogs closes a trilogy begun with Aladdin Sane and carried over onto Pin-Ups. The hard-nosed rock songs twisted into fantastic shapes, torch songs that revel in their own dysfunctional sexuality, these were avenues Bowie had walked down before. In fact, songs like “Drive-In Saturday” and “Time” would have felt right at home in Diamond Dogs’ brave new world. Yet this is a more measured record than Aladdin Sane. The “Sweet Thing” suite and the pairing of “Rock ‘n Roll With Me” (one of Bowie’s most underrated songs) and “We Are The Dead” slow things down considerably, Bowie patiently winning the listener over rather than trying to land knockout punches with each song. Today, the explosive glam rock of “Diamond Dogs” and “Rebel Rebel” are most familiar to listeners; some may even have stumbled upon the overblown “1984” in their travels. But the real treasures are below the surface: downbeat gems like “Big Brother” and “We Are The Dead” (at one time my favorite Bowie song) or two songs that capture youth’s yearning perfectly, “Sweet Thing” and “Rock ‘n Roll With Me.” The album effectively ended the Ziggy Stardust period, as Bowie turned toward American soul for his next role, The Thin White Duke. In 1990, Rykodisc reissued Diamond Dogs with two bonus tracks, the unreleased “Dodo” and a completely different version of “Candidate,” the addition of which makes a great album even better.

AYL1-3889 back cover AYL1-3889 front cover
AYL1-3889 back cover AYL1-3889 front cover
[high resolution photo]

TRACK LISTING

  1. FUTURE LEGEND    1:00
  2. DIAMOND DOGS    5:50
  3. SWEET THING    3:29
  4. CANDIDATE    2:39
  5. SWEET THING (REPRISE)    2:32
  6. REBEL REBEL    4:21
  7. ROCK 'N ROLL WITH ME    (words by Bowie, music by Bowie/Warren Peace)    3:54
  8. WE ARE THE DEAD    4:48
  9. 1984    3:24
  10. BIG BROTHER    3:25
  11. CHANT OF THE EVER CIRCLING SKELETAL FAMILY    1:48

    CD bonus tracks
  12. DODO    2:55
  13. CANDIDATE (DEMO VERSION)    5:05

    30th Anniversary Edition bonus tracks
  14. 1984/DODO
  15. REBEL REBEL (US SINGLE VERSION)
  16. DODO
  17. GROWIN' UP
  18. ALTERNATIVE CANDIDATE
  19. DIAMOND DOGS (EDIT)
  20. CANDIDATE (INTIMACY MIX)
  21. REBEL REBEL (2003 VERSION)

    All songs written and arranged by Bowie unless noted

CREDITS

BOWIE -- vocals, guitar, saxes, Moog, Mellotron, mixing
AYNSLEY DUNBAR -- drums
HERBIE FLOWERS -- bass
MIKE GARSON -- keyboards
TONY NEWMAN -- drums
Alan Parker -- guitar (9)
Tony Visconti -- string arrangement, mixing
Keith Harwood -- engineer, mixing
AGI -- design
Guy Peellaert -- cover painting
Leee Black Childers -- inside photograph
Dr. Toby Mountain and Jonathan Wyner -- remixing (13)
Reiner Design Consultants, Inc. -- reissue package design

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK April 1974 RCA LP/CS APL1/APK1-0576 gatefold cover
US/FRA April 1974 RCA LP/CS CPL1/CPK1-0576 gatefold cover
GER   RCA LP NL 83889  
US/CAN 1980 RCA LP/CS AYL1/AYK1-3889  
UK 1981 RCA LP INTS 5068  
NET/SPA 1981 RCA LP/CS NL/NK-13889  
UK May 1984 RCA LPPIC BOPIC5 picture disc
UK 1990 EMI CDX CDP 7 59211 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
US 1990 Rykodisc LPX/CDX/CSX RALP/RCD1/RACS 0137 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
EEC 1999 EMI CD 5219040 24-bit digital remaster, booklet
US June 15, 2004 EMI 2CD 77857 30th anniversary edition


SUGGESTED READING

As mentioned above, Bowie had originally sought to make this a concept album based on George Orwell's famous novel 1984. When Orwell's widow declined to release the rights to Mr. B, he made this album instead, which features familiar Orwellian themes in "Big Brother" and the title track. Although it's in contsant danger of being overrated, Orwell's view of a totalitarian future is a fascinating read. If you haven't, you can search GEMM for a used copy of George Orwell's 1984.

 

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