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on 6 May 2017
Following the death of Ziggy Stardust & the break-up of the Spiders, David Bowie was keen to move onto pastures new & inspired by George Orwell's novel '1984', he came up with a concept album - there, I said it! - incorporating elements of that great work & his own vision of a dystopian future set amidst the wilderness of America's vast urban landscape. For many, it was his last glam rock record; for others, it was his first tentative step towards funk & soul. Whatever the music side of things, it was an experimental album, not only in its concept but also in the way in which Bowie approached his lyrics, for he was heavily influenced by the writings of American author, William Burroughs & often employed his 'cut-up' technique in their construction. Furthermore, Bowie, as writer, arranger & producer, had more control of his music than he'd ever had before. So, this was an album that was very much how Bowie intended it to be...

1. Future Legend - Amidst discordant, synthetic sounds, Bowie's treated voice narrates his post-apocalyptic tale of Hunger City & its peoploids. Burroughs influence is never stronger than it is here.
2. Diamond Dogs - A cracking rock track which was only a moderate hit on its release in 1974. In it we are introduced to Bowie's new creation, Halloween Jack, who is a real cool cat who lives on top of Manhattan Chase.
3. Sweet Thing - The next three tracks really comprise a single narrative as they blend so seamlessly from one to the other. It begins with a slow fade-in which resolves into a single piano line from Mike Garson. The whole song drips with decadence & decay as Bowie sings of cheap sex in doorways in one of his finest vocal performances.
4. Candidate - Though continuing the narrative, this song shifts gear as a militaristic drumbeat accelerates the music into a frenzy of violence & despair...
5. Sweet Thing (reprise) - ...which resolves into a saxophone squall. Bowie then sings ever more theatrically before the song descends into a riot of guitars & squeals of feedback. Taken together, these three songs are one of Bowie's finest moments on record.
6. Rebel Rebel - One of his signature singles, it boasts a rare lead guitar from the man himself & a fantastic riff.The Rolling Stones would have been proud of this one.
7. Rock 'n' Roll With Me - Co-written with his school-friend, Geoff McCormack (Warren Peace), it is a charming ballad with a great piano intro. The lyrics hint at a certain rootlessness which Bowie would touch on in later songs, such as 'Be My Wife' from 'Low.'
8. We Are The Dead - Mournful, disturbing & underrated, this song is one of those to survive from the original album concept of Orwell's '1984.' There is a wonderful multi-track vocal which helps create the sense of a nightmarish environment.
9. 1984 - An excellent, funky, up-tempo number with a cascading string arrangement reminiscent of Issac Hayes 'Theme from Shaft.' Why it was not chosen as a single is anybody's guess!
10. Big Brother - Another favourite of mine from the album, it features some spacey synthesizers & distorted saxophones & suggests that 'Big Brother' is "someone to claim us, someone to follow" & how easily we can succumb to totalitarianism.
11. Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family - The album reaches its apocalyptic climax with a hypnotic, relentless chant that culminates in the first syllable of "brother" being repeated over & over until it echoes into silence. A strange & unnerving end to one of Bowie's darkest albums.

With so many great songs here I'm a little puzzled as to why I don't rate this album alongside his very best work... Possibly, I find it a little too dark but I'm not really altogether sure. Whatever the reason, it's still a must buy!
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on 23 January 2016
Classic Bowie, wish I had this on Vinyl, remember I was just becoming a teenager when this came out and the song Rebel Rebel defined me as a young woman, My Mum did not approve of the way I looked and the words of this song fitted perfectly with my life. So sad this genius had to leave the mortal coil but the music he made will live on forever.
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on 20 February 2013
In 1973 David Bowie wanted to stage a musical version of George Orwell's novel '1984'.Denied the rights to do so by Orwell's widow Sonia,he turned the songs he had written,or at least some of them,into this album - with the setting shifted from Orwell's dystopia to the post-apocalypse wasteland of 'Hunger City'.The striking cover picture of Bowie as a 'dog-man' is therefore an apt visual metaphor for the hybrid musical nature of "Diamond Dogs".
This is a brilliant album and I think it is Bowie's greatest.This album was written about halfway through what, for me, were Bowie's musical "golden years", beginning with "Hunky Dory" and ending with "Low".I think Bowie was at his musical zenith with "Diamond Dogs".The highlight of the album is undoubtedly the 'Sweet Thing'/'Candidate'/'Sweet Thing(Reprise)' sequence.It is fantastic!Bowie's vocals are superb and the piano playing by Mike Garson on 'Sweet Thing' is beautiful.One of my favourite tracks is 'Big Brother'.This sounds very much like a song for a musical, with its anthemic chorus.
The reason that I have used the "flawed masterpiece" title is that I feel the album doesn't quite 'flow' the way it should because it is two concepts bashed together,the second side of the original LP containing songs intended for the '1984' musical.I feel that the tracks 'Diamond Dogs' and 'Rebel Rebel' are somewhat jarring in the context of this album.It always seems to me that these two pastiches of The Rolling Stones have wandered in from "Aladdin Sane" by mistake!I much prefer two songs that were not on the original LP but were released on re-issues of the album.These songs are 'Dodo' and 'Candidate(Demo Version)'.'Dodo' is a superb track and was obviously meant for the '1984' musical.It is a great evocation of the paranoia of living under the Orwellian state.The title 'Candidate(Demo Version)' is somewhat misleading as it is really a completely different song,with marvellous piano.
Please do not misunderstand me, "Diamond Dogs" is a GREAT album.I just always have the feeling that the '1984' musical would have been even better and I think it is a great pity that it didn't happen.
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on 14 July 2016
No matter how many times I listen to this album, something new always grabs my attention. Once upon a time I owned the original vinyl, then CD, and now this remastered version, and it is still stunning and sounds as fresh and alive today as it did the first day I heard it.
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on 2 June 2015
One of Bowie's last great albums of the Ziggy era, skipping over the mildly diverting glitch of Pin Ups and before the jaw dropping disappointment that was Young Americans. A personal view perhaps; but I still love this album 40 years on. For some reason, this album isn't awarded the acclaim of some of Bowie's other work of this period. Perhaps not the indepth analysis of George Orwell's 1984 that some critics suggest, but musically diverse, lyrically interesting and it contains one of Bowie's greatest pop moments in 'Rebel Rebel'. If you liked Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane, of course you should own this. My only criticism is why does this CD re-issue not have bonus tracks? I suppose that in the CD era our expectations have been raised too high. Perhaps, musically it is an acquired taste; it's not all easy listening, but Diamond Dogs stands as a complete work and marks the end of this particular Bowie rock phase. It signals the way towards the sublime brilliance that were the Berlin albums.
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on 6 March 2017
Great reissue, sound absolutely wonderful. So nice to hear Bowie, crackle free. Worth every penny
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on 9 February 2017
Based loosely on Orwell's 1984. This reflects the blend of his and Orwell's dystopian future brilliantly. As well as the iconic "Rebel Rebel" and "Diamond Dogs" tracks, other personal faves are "We are the Dead" and "1984". Good night, Major Tom. You'll be sorely missed.
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on 29 April 2013
Post "Ziggy Stardust" period. after producing a couple of in some peoples opinion? slightly mediocre Albums? post his "1973 US Tour" period. In 1974 Bowie came up with this masterpiece interpretation of "George Orwells 1984" seminal novel. Most of the tracks I.M.O.O. have a definite "American theme/Style" to them "1984" sounds like "Issac Hayes/Theme from Shaft"? and "Ray Parker Jr.s/Ghostbusters Theme intro"? can also be detected by listeners. Overall a Great album for "1970's Bowie Fans"
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on 21 July 2017
love this album would recommend good value for money 10/10
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on 30 July 2017
One of his early albums more jazz/meets glam rock a real imaginative work marvellous
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