AFL1-1327 Station To Station
Produced by Bowie and Harry Maslin
Released on January 1976
UK CHART POSITION #5 (1991 RE-CHART POSITION #57) . . . US CHART POSITION #3 . . . GOLD RECORD (2/26/76)
Find it at GEMM
AFL1-1327 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

A transitional record (weren’t they always?) between Bowie’s affection for American soul and a growing curiosity in Teutonic electronics (primarily Kraftwerk) and the potential implications it might have on pop music. Some would rate this as Bowie’s best album, though not me. I will tell you that “TVC 15” is my favorite song, its status unchanged since childhood. But much of the music is simply a smoothing over of the difficult kinks uncovered in his soul experiment: “Wild Is The Wind,” “Stay” and “Word On A Wing” are essentially ballads that combine Bowie’s longstanding torchsong tendencies (“Lady Grinning Soul,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll With Me”) with slick accompaniment. In fact, close your eyes during “Stay” and you might imagine this as the work of Steely Dan. Likewise, “Golden Years” is a carryover from the “Fame” experiment, more sophisticated but equally cranky under its glossy surface. The record’s real achievements (again, just in my opinion) lie with the ten-minute title track and “TVC 15.” The former builds a palpable sense of anticipation (the same technique would usher in Heroes), literally building up steam as the song progresses. Elements of Kraftwerk’s electronic sound effects percolate in the background as Bowie paints the portrait of a thin white duke whose life is careening downhill at a terrific speed and eventually flies clear off track. Likely autobiographical in some part, it helped build the Bowie mythology to even greater heights. In the deliciously herky-jerky “TVC 15,” we find the precursor to the twisted pop sculptures of Low. Its inscrutable nature suggests that David Bowie was already experimenting with the cut-up lyrical construction, its transcendently alien arrangement just one of those indelible moments in music that can’t be explained (chalk it up to the planets’ alignment). I admit to growing a little restless during the ballads, although “Word On A Wing” is a beautiful sentiment. And, as much as I enjoy electronic music, I’ll take half an album of ballads over moody instrumental music from Bowie any day. Perhaps more importantly, Station To Station shows that Bowie arrived at the avant garde pop of his next few albums before Robert Fripp and Brian Eno hopped onboard, and thus deserves full credit for the groundbreaking music that would follow.

AFL1-1327 back cover AFL1-1327 inner sleeve
AFL1-1327 back cover AFL1-1327 inner sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. STATION TO STATION    10:08
  2. GOLDEN YEARS    4:03
  3. WORD ON A WING    6:00
  4. TVC 15    5:29
  5. STAY    6:08
  6. WILD IS THE WIND    (Tiomkin/Washington)

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  7. WORD ON A WING (LIVE)
  8. STAY (LIVE)

    All songs written by David Bowie unless noted

CREDITS

DAVID BOWIE -- vocals, keyboards, probably some guitar too
CARLOS ALOMAR -- guitar
ROY BITTAN -- piano
DENNIS DAVIS -- drums
GEORGE MURRAY -- bass
WARREN PEACE -- vocals
EARL SLICK -- guitar
Steve Shapiro -- photography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK/US January 1976 RCA LP/CS/8T APL1/APS1/CPS1-1327 inner sleeve
BRA 1976 RCA LP 1044073  
CAN 1976 RCA LP CPL1-1327  
JPN   RCA LP RVP-6027 insert
US   RCA Victor LP AFL1-1327 inner sleeve, tan label reissue
YUG   Jugoton LP LSRCA 73044  
UK September 1981? RCA LP RCALP 3013 insert
UK 1983 RCA LP/CD PL/PD8-1327  
US 1984 RCA LP AQL1-1327  
JPN 1991 EMI/Toshiba CD TOCP-6212  
US 1990? Rykodisc CDX RCD-80141 w. bonus tracks
UK April 1991 EMI CDX CDP 79 6435 w. bonus tracks
UK   EMI CDX 5219060 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
US   Capitol CDX 21906 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN   EMI/Toshiba CD TOCP-65313 24-bit digital remaster


SUGGESTED READING

The cover photo for this album will be familiar to fans of the film The Man Who Fell To Earth (which of course starred Bowie as the alien among us). The novel, written by Walter Tevis, is a wonderful read in its own right. If you're interested, feel free to search through GEMM for a used copy of The Man Who Fell To Earth.

 

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