TITLE: The Man Who Sold the World
YEAR RELEASED: 1970
CHART ACTION: #105 US, #26 UK
SINGLES: None! All the Madmen was a promo single issued in 1971, but not released to retail.
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The title track is about it for anything on radio recently.
LINEUP: David Bowie, Mick Ronson, Tony Visconti, Mick Woodmansey, Ralph Mace
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Bowie gathers together the group that would propel him to fame and fortune and also releases a batch of songs that are a vast improvement over most everything he’s done before.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Goodbye pastoral folkie; hello glam rock royalty. This album takes off not from the song Space Oddity but from that albums Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed with its hard driving guitars and vocal snarl. That coupled with a much better batch of songs makes this where casual fans really want to start with Bowie.
The record starts strong with the Width of a Circle, an eight-minute long journey, and continues through some favorites like Black Country Rock, All the Madmen, and She Shook Me Cold until it climaxes with the title cut. The band and Bowie are tight and focused throughout. Radio missed the boat on this one.
A few of the tracks lack the energy of the best ones, but it’s still a solid listen cover-to-cover.
NOTES & MINUTAE: Visconti and Ronson arranged a lot of the record as Bowie as busy canoodling with his new wife Angie.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. It seems logical because of the singles released at the time between Space Oddity and this record – but they’re on the Sound & Vision box set.
GRADE: A-: This is where the Bowie journey really starts.