96436-2 Young Americans
Produced by Tony Visconti
(tracks 6 & 8 by David Bowie and Harry Maslin)
Released on March 1975
UK CHART POSITION #2 (re-charted #54 in 1991) . . . US CHART POSITION #9 . . . GOLD RECORD (7/2/75)
Find it at GEMM
96436-2 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

B owie found a new fascination, American soul music, shooting it through his distorted lens on Young Americans. It was a radical reinvention even by his own standards, yet the fact remains that nothing on here is going to change your world. I waited years before buying this, aware that disappointment was its guarded gift. The album does contain two treasured keepsakes, “Young Americans” and “Fame,” but these can be acquired without buying the whole Trojan horse. The remainder of the record is dedicated to Bowie’s soul experiment, a contentious vision of the genre that constitutes a tug of war between Bowie, his bandmates, and backing vocalists, the singer’s readings pervaded by a palpable restlessness. Sustaining interest as Bowie breathes through “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” “Can You Hear Me” and “Right” isn’t easy; there’s no melody to hang your hat on, no inkling into the dark matter between the artist’s ears. Even a reading of “Across The Universe,” a song uniquely suited to David’s spaceman fantasies, fails to engage his full attention. The seductive “Win” is clearly a winner, and “Fascination” is the glitzy grinding of an unleashed ego, but I can’t help detecting the scent of a two-horned Caribou in the whole thing. The 1991 EMI reissue adds two unreleased tracks from the same period plus the contemporaneous single “John I’m Only Dancing Again.” Of these, “Who Can I Be Now?” is less noisy than most of the material that made the final cut (e.g., David Sanborn’s saxophone squall is more of a strong breeze) and “It’s Gonna Be Me” is lean and compelling, a logical launching point from Diamond Dogs. If I tell you this is my least favorite Bowie album from the ‘70s, bear in mind that it was barred form leaving its imprint on an impressionable youth. I can imagine, in the full bloom of rebellion, taking his cold embrace of soul to heart as the ultimate act of subversion, but it didn’t turn out that way for me. Instead, I tend to see Young Americans as an indiscrete dalliance between stations, one that fanned the artist’s mystique and yielded a few pleasant souvenirs, but a lost weekend that might have been deferred to another time, when heroes were in less demand.

96436-2 booklet gatefold
96436-2 booklet gatefold

TRACK LISTING

  1. YOUNG AMERICANS    5:10
  2. WIN    4:44
  3. FASCINATION    (David Bowie/Luther Vandross)    5:43
  4. RIGHT    4:13
  5. SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME    6:30
  6. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE    (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)    4:30
  7. CAN YOU HEAR ME    5:04
  8. FAME    (David Bowie/John Lennon/Carlos Alomar)    4:12

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  9. WHO CAN I BE NOW?    4:36
  10. IT'S GONNA BE ME    6:27
  11. JOHN, I'M ONLY DANCING AGAIN    6:57

    All songs written by David Bowie unless noted

CREDITS

DAVID BOWIE -- vocals, guitars, piano
CARLOS ALOMAR -- guitar
AVA CHERRY -- backing vocals
ROBIN CLARK -- backing vocals
MIKE GARSON -- piano
ANDY NEWMARK -- drums
PABLO ROSARIO -- percussion
DAVID SANBORN -- sax
LUTHER VANDROSS -- backing vocals
LARRY WASHINGTON -- conga
WILLIE WEEKS -- bass
Dennis Davis -- drums (6,8)
Jean Fineberg -- backing vocals (6,8)
Emir Kassan -- bass (6,8)
John Lennon -- vocals and guitar (6,8)
Ralph McDonald -- percussion (6,8)
Jean Millington -- backing vocals (6,8)
Earl Slick -- guitar (6,8)
Eric Stephen Jacobs -- cover photograph

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK March 1975 RCA LP/CS RS 1006 picture sleeve
US March 1975 RCA LP/CS/8T APL1/APK1-0998 lyric sleeve
CAN March 1975 RCA LP CPL1-0998 lyric sleeve
MEX 1975 RCA Victor LP MILS-4202 lyric sleeve
YUG   Jugoton LP LSRCA 70748  
UK September 1981? RCA LP RCALP-3009 black label reissue
US   RCA LP AQL1-0998 black label reissue
UK/GER October 1984? RCA LP/CD PL/PD 80998 black label reissue
US   RCA CD PCD 10998  
UK April 1991 EMI CDX/CSX CDP 7 96436 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
US April 1991 EMI/Capitol CDX/CSX 96436 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
US/CAN   Rykodisc CDX RCD 10140 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN 1996 EMI/Toshiba CDX TOCP-8870 w. bonus tracks
UK 1999 EMI CDX 5219050 24-bit digital remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN 1999 EMI/Toshiba CDX TOCP-65312 24-bit digital remaster
US 2000 Virgin CDX 21905 24-bit digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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