Ziggy Stardust wrote the blueprint for David Bowie's hard-rocking glam, and Aladdin Sane essentially follows the pattern, for both better and worse. A lighter affair than Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane is actually a stranger album than its predecessor, buoyed by bizarre lounge-jazz flourishes from pianist Mick Garson and a handful of winding, vaguely experimental songs. Bowie abandons his futuristic obsessions to concentrate on the detached cool of New York and London hipsters, as on the compressed rockers "Watch That Man," "Cracked Actor," and "The Jean Genie." Bowie follows the hard stuff with the jazzy, dissonant sprawls of "Lady Grinning Soul," "Aladdin Sane," and "Time," all of which manage to be both campy and avant-garde simultaneously, while the sweepingly cinematic "Drive-In Saturday" is a soaring fusion of sci-fi doo wop and melodramatic teenage glam. He lets his paranoia slip through in the clenched rhythms of "Panic in Detroit," as well as on his oddly clueless cover of "Let's Spend the Night Together." For all the pleasures on Aladdin Sane, there's no distinctive sound or theme to make the album cohesive; it's Bowie riding the wake of Ziggy Stardust, which means there's a wealth of classic material here, but not enough focus to make the album itself a classic.
|Label:||Rhino / Parlophone|
Performance CreditsDavid Bowie Primary Artist,Guitar,Harmonica,Saxophone,Vocals,Moog Synthesizer
Mike Garson Piano
Linda Lewis Background Vocals
Mick Ronson Guitar,Piano,Vocals
Trevor Bolder Bass
Ken Fordham Flute,Saxophone
Juanita "Honey" Franklin Background Vocals
G A MacCormack Percussion,Background Vocals
Brian Wilshaw Flute,Tenor Saxophone
Mick "Woody" Woodmansey Drums
Technical CreditsDavid Bowie Arranger,Composer,Producer
Mick Jagger Composer
Mick Ronson Arranger
Ken Scott Producer,Engineer
Mike Moran Engineer
Keith Richards Composer
Sukita Inside Photo
Celia Philo Cover Design
Aisha Cohen Associate Project Coordinator
Brian Duffy Cover Design
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is one of my all time favorite Bowie albums. It was the first Bowie album I bought after seeing him for the first time on the Midnight Special in November 1973. It is truly amazing, and a testimony to Bowie's talent, that this album can follow a powerhouse like Ziggy Stardust and not be blown out of the water. In fact this album is every bit as good as Ziggy Stardust. It was inspired by and, for the most part, written during Bowie's first major tour of America (1972-1973). If possible, buy the 30th anniversary edition as it contains a booklet which chronicles the writing and recording of this album. It also contains a bonus disc of rare studio recordings and live performances from this period along with 45 edits of some of the tracks. Bowie sounds like he is having fun on this record. "Watch That Man," the opening track is a Rolling Stones's style rocker that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Bowie also pays further homage to the Stones with his insane rocking remake of "Let's Spend the Night Together" which had become a staple of his live performances at the time. "Drive in Saturday" was originally offered to Mott the Hoople as a follow up single to their worldwide hit, "All the Young Dudes," which Bowie had composed for them, but they turned it down (Bowie's version of "Dudes" can be heard on the bonus disc to the 30th anniversary edition). "Saturday" is one of Bowie's most bizarre, yet beautiful, vocal performances and should have been a hit single for him. Mike Garson's piano is also showcased on this album and can be heard prominently on the title track, "Time" and the album closer, "Lady Grinning Soul," a dark jazz inflected ballad which Bowie has never performed live which is odd because it is one of his best compositions. "The Jean Genie," a rocker inspired by Iggy Pop is the highlight of this album. The bumpimg infectious grind and sexually charged lyrics will stick in your head for days after hearing it. In fact, that could be said of the whole album. One spin is not enough. This deserves heavy rotation on your CD player. "
This album is absolutely necessary for fans of David Bowie's early glam years. That said, it's slightly more inconsistent than its predecessor, Ziggy Stardust. Watch That Man is a classic, as is The Jean Genie. When Bowie continues on his fractured, theatrical glam, he succeeds the most; other numbers in this vein include Panic in Detroit and Cracked Actor. The other songs are a combination of strange jazz-lounge songs and glam rock highlighting the awesome Mike Garson on piano, especially the title track, which has a weird, eerie, dissonant middle section. It took me awhile to get used to Drive-in Saturday, but it is a fairly good song, and Time is absolutely the strangest thing Bowie had ever recorded up to that point. I still don't like Lady Grinning Soul, but that's a personal preference. The Prettiest Star and his cover of Let's Spend the Night Together are both worthy, if not showstopping songs. Overall, it's less accessible than Ziggy, but that also gives it its unique charm.
Aladdin Sane is full of great hits and works perfectly as an album. A must have album.