Originally released through RCA Victor on 13th April 1973, Aladdin Sane was David Bowie’s sixth album, co-produced by Bowie and Ken Scott. This was an incredibly busy time for Bowie – Ziggy Stardust had made him a massive star in the UK and he was touring extensively in the US, where most of the album’s songs were written whilst on the road. Recorded at Trident Studios, London and RCA Studios, New York and Nashville, between 6th October and 24th January 1973, it was be to be the last album that the Spiders’ line-up of Mick Ronson (guitar, piano, backing vocals), Trevor Bolder (bass) and Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey (drums) would appear on. It was to feature the debut of one of Bowie’s new collaborators, avant-jazz pianist Mike Garson. In addition to vocals, Bowie himself played guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone on the album.
Described by Bowie as “Ziggy goes to America,” Aladdin Sane saw him create a rockier, more frenetic album than its predecessor, with The Rolling Stones a possible influence on album opener ‘Watch That Man’ and a transgressive cover of their song, ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’. Elsewhere, Muddy Waters’ influence could be heard in the riff of the UK #2 single, ‘The Jean Genie’ and the “futuristic nostalgia” of ‘Drive-In Saturday’ - which charted at #3 in the UK – was inspired by 1950s doo-wop. ‘Cracked Actor’, possibly David’s most decadent moment, was written after he had toured Hollywood Boulevard, translating the images and environment into raw rock ‘n’ roll. The addition of Mike Garson and his remarkable talents, infused some of the album’s key tracks, in particular the title track with its dissonant improvisation, the Brechtian cabaret of ‘Time’ and album closer ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ with an edgy, schizophrenic quality.
Pre-orders for the album in the UK were a staggering 100,000 (not seen since the heyday of The Beatles). It was Bowie’s first UK #1 album, and a US Billboard #17 album.
This 40th anniversary edition has been remastered by Ray Staff at London’s AIR Studios. Ray cut the original LP during his time at Trident Studios and has received plaudits for his remastering of the Ziggy Stardust 40th anniversary edition last year.
Aladdin Sane 40th Anniversary Edition tracklisting:
1. Watch That Man
2. Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?)
3. Drive-In Saturday
4. Panic In Detroit
5. Cracked Actor
7. The Prettiest Star
8. Let's Spend the Night Together
9. The Jean Genie
10. Lady Grinning Soul
The 40th anniversary remaster of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars will also be made available on iTunes as ‘Mastered for iTunes’ on the same date.