RCD 10136 Pin-Ups
Produced by Ken Scott and David Bowie
Released on October 1973
UK CHART POSITION #1 . . . UK RE-CHART POSITION #57 (1983) . . .
UK RE-CHART POSITION #52 (1990) . . . US CHART POSITION #23
Find it at GEMM
RCD 10136 cover
[high resolution scan
 

W hat should have been a snack between big meals instead became a surprisingly satiating collection of out-of-this-world covers. With swift pacing and plenty of energy to spare, Bowie and his lampmates from Aladdin turn their sci fi eye toward, in the artists’ words, “my favourites from the ’64-’67 period of London.” And so songs that were already ahead of their time -- “Shapes of Things,” “See Emily Play,” “I Can’t Explain” -- are pushed even further into the future. Bowie’s vocal interpretations are often wonderful, carefully choosing his phrasing on a song like “Here Comes The Night” or leaving the earth altogether for “Friday On My Mind.” The album occasionally invites direct comparison to Aladdin Sane; his cover of Pink Floyd’s “See Emily Play” returns to the serious arrangements of “Aladdin Sane,” “Friday On My Mind” brings to mind “Drive-In Saturday,” etc. The destination hasn’t changed; Pin-Ups differs in its approach. David Bowie had included cover versions on his last two records, but an album full of them was unexpected and, frankly, uncommercial. It allows the listener to set aside Bowie the revolutionary for a moment and focus on Bowie the performer. However, anyone looking for a glimpse inside the artist will be disappointed. Pin-Ups shares nothing personal, offers no window into the artist’s musical development, and probably isn’t even an accurate measure of the music he was listening to at the moment. I’ve always seen this album in the context of a vengeful fantasy, as if Bowie were marking territory in an area where earlier he’d been denied admittance. I’ve probably spent too much time thinking about this album over the years. Pin-Ups requires you put aside your notions of cover albums; this is a breed apart, like the best of Bryan Ferry’s bits rolled together. The Rykodisc reissue adds two tracks, a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Growin’ Up” (recorded during the Pin-Up sessions but deemed out of place) and the flip side to “Sorrow,” “Port of Amsterdam.” They’re not the scorchers that the original dirty dozen were, but gravy is gravy.

RCD 10136 picture disc AYL1-4653 front cover AYL1-4653 back cover
RCD 10136 picture disc AYL1-4653 front cover AYL1-4653 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. ROSALYN    (Jimmy Duncan/Bill Farley)    2:27
  2. HERE COMES THE NIGHT    (Bert Berns)    3:09
  3. I WISH YOU WOULD    (Billy Arnold)    2:40
  4. SEE EMILY PLAY    (Syd Barrett)    4:03
  5. EVERYTHING'S ALRIGHT    (Crouch/Konrad/Stavely/James/Karlson)    2:26
  6. I CAN'T EXPLAIN    (Pete Townshend)    2:07
  7. FRIDAY ON MY MIND    (Young/Vanda)    3:18
  8. SORROW    (Feldman/Goldstein/Gottehrer)    2:48
  9. DON'T BRING ME DOWN    (Johnnie Dee)    2:01
  10. SHAPES OF THINGS    (Samwell-Smith/McCarty/Relf)    2:47
  11. ANYWAY, ANYHOW, ANYWHERE    (Pete Townshend/Roger Daltrey)    3:04
  12. WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD TIMES GONE    (Ray Davies)    2:35

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  13. GROWIN' UP    (Bruce Springsteen)    3:26
  14. PORT OF AMSTERDAM    (Jacques Brel/M. Shuman)    3:19

CREDITS

DAVID BOWIE -- vocals, guitar, sax
TREVOR BOLDER -- bass
AYNSLEY DUNBAR -- drums
KEN FORDHAM -- sax
MIKE GARSON -- piano
G.A. MacCORMACK -- backing vocals
MICK RONSON -- guitar, piano, vocals
Ron Wood -- guitar (13)
Ray Campbell -- lettering
De Villeneuu -- illustration
Sal Di Benedetto -- additional photography
Pierre Laroche -- masks
Mick Rock -- back cover photography
Sukita -- additional photography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK October 1973 RCA LP/CS RS 1003 insert
US October 1973 RCA LP/CS APL1-0291 lyric sleeve
US 1978 RCA LP AFL1-0291  
UK September 1981 RCA LP INTS 5236  
US 1982 RCA LP AYL1-4653  
UK April 1983 RCA Int'l LP SNL 8653  
GER 1983 RCA LP/CD NL/PD 84653  
NET 1983 RCA LP NL 14653  
UK September 1984 RCA LPPIC BOPIC4 picture disc
UK July 1990 EMI LPX/CDX EMC 3580/CDP 79 4767 2 gatefold, remaster w. bonus tracks
US 1990 Rykodisc LPXCLR/CDX/CSX RALP/RCD1/RACS 0136 gf, remaster, bonus tracks,
clear vinyl
WW September 1999 Virgin CD 5219030 24-bit remaster
UK 2001 Simply Vinyl LP SVLP 277 180g vinyl
RUS   CD Maximum CD CDM 387 repackaged w. SCARY MONSTERS


SUGGESTED READING

Though I don't make an habit of homage in my reading, I couldn't resist picking up Angie Bowie's Free Spirit some years ago. As in the former Mrs. David Bowie. The book follows their life in the late '60s and '70s (not surprisingly he's absent much of time), though it does answer a few nagging questions for Bowiephiles: e.g., that's Twiggy on the cover of Pin-Ups with David, not Angie, as I always imagined (and as Angie imagined some might imagine). You can try looking for Free Spirit on GEMMbooks, though I'd be surprised if they have it. If you can find it, it's a quick read, illuminating and remarkably straightforward.

 

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