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on 18 August 2016
The schizophrenic cousin to '...Ziggy Stardust...' & sometimes referred to as 'Ziggy goes to America', this follow up to that seminal album is almost as good - some might say better - than its illustrious predecessor. There's no denying that it has a harder, rockier sound & the lyrics are far more cynical than on '...Ziggy...' In many respects, 'Aladdin Sane' depicts the harsh realities of stardom, where the previous album was very much the wide-eyed dream. It boasts much the same line-up as that masterpiece of popular music, with Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder & Mick Woodmansey all returning but the addition of Mike Garson on piano gives 'Aladdin Sane' a jazzier, avant-garde & perhaps more authentic feel. Most of the tracks are wonderfully sleazy & decadent, with a jaundiced Bowie commenting on what he saw beneath the glittering façade of fame & the American entertainment industry. The album's final trump card is its cover; surely one of the most iconic record covers ever!

1. Watch That Man - I wasn't keen on this song when I first heard it but it has grown on me over the years. I think the main reason it took me so long to appreciate it was because I could barely make out the lyrics as Bowie's voice was so low in the mix. Apparently, it was done to give the song a rawer, Stones-like feel. The lyrics themselves seem to refer to some decadent, drug-fuelled party.
2. Aladdin Sane - One of my favourite tracks, largely due to Mike Garson's brilliant, utterly deranged, avant-garde piano solo mid-way through the song. What it's about, I'm not entirely sure but it seems to hint at society's decadence before the outbreak of war with (1917-1938-197?) suggesting that Bowie was anticipating a further outbreak in the not too distant future.
3. Drive In Saturday - Fusing 50's doo-wop with a futuristic soundscape, the song reached number #3 in the charts, yet it seems to be the forgotten Bowie single as it rarely features on a greatest hits compilation. Shame, as it's a wonderful song!
4. Panic In Detroit - Tales of revolutionaries in Motor City, propelled by Ronson's bluesy guitar & soulful backing singers, it has a wonderful opening line... "He looked a lot like Che Guevara, drove a diesel van..."
5. Cracked Actor - Bowie's harmonica & Ronson's guitar sound downright sleazy, which is appropriate for a song about an aged actor, well past his sell by date, paying for sex in some Tinseltown back-room.
6. Time - Arch, theatrical & brilliantly bonkers! It's yet another wonderful song in which Garson's piano playing distinguishes itself. From the lyrics, I have a vision of Bowie & the Spiders, bored out of their minds, waiting in the wings for some terrible act to get off stage & allow them on. Also includes drug references & a certain rude word - oh, my!
7. Prettiest Star - Some more 50's doo-wop, nostalgic lyrics & a great guitar solo from Ronson, in what is one of the more pleasant sounding tracks from the album.
8. Let's Spend The Night Together - A camp, dazzling, deranged & speeded up cover of The Rolling Stones classic, which manages to do what all good covers should do & that's to be different from the original. It is also completely in tune with the album's pervading air of decadence.
9. Jean Genie - One of Bowie's biggest hits, reaching number #2 in the charts, it is a perfect slice of glam rock. Rumoured to be inspired by his great friend Iggy Pop, it has an irresistibly catchy guitar riff that bears a striking resemblance to The Sweet's number #1 'Blockbuster,' which was released at around the same time. Apparently, it was just a coincidence that they sounded remarkably similar.
10. Lady Grinning Soul - Beautiful song with a gorgeous arrangement; rippling piano & flamenco guitar. I don't think it would have been out of place as a Bond theme, as Bowie paints a vivid picture of a sensuous seductress who is always one step ahead of you. It's a great song on which to end the album.

In many respects, 'Aladdin Sane,' marks the end of the Spiders, with Mick Woodmansey being effectively sacked over a pay dispute & Trevor Bolder & the brilliant Mick Ronson dropped after the next album, 'Pin-Ups.' Bowie, easily bored & restless for change, wished to take his music in a new direction & so he did.
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on 2 March 2016
The vinyl version is reissued in a close repro. of the 1973 gate-fold cover edition with the lyrics on the inner record sleeve, plus it has a reproduction of the David Bowie fan club leaflet. It also has the original '73 issue label with the places the songs were written printed under the titles, this was missing from some later vinyl reissues. It's more than l nostalgia trip for some of us, more like time travel. The vinyl is pressed from the 2013 remaster and sounds great to my ears, but I haven't compared it to the 1973 issue and my deck and amp are goodish but not audiophile quality. Wish they were! . Of course the music is as enchanting and powerful as it was 43 years ago! Amazing man. Great to have this again on vinyl,
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on 8 July 2016
I'm reviewing the vinyl version in this review. This is the second album i have bought from the Bowie remasters and they are of superb quality in there own right, compared to many modern releases they are stella. The packaging is excellent, lovely quality cover in original gatefold style, also comes with the original inner and a plain white anti static inner sleeve, a nice touch. Heavy vinyl which compared with others is very clean to listen too, i always clean before playing, but these Bowie lps are pretty clean. Sounds really good, so no complaints.
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on 15 March 2016
I got given a record player when I was thirteen in1977 but had no records so went hunting through my older sister's record collection coming across this I was struck by the intensity of the cover intrigued I borrowed it and started listening to it from the opening watch that man it hooks you in on this journey of soundscapes and the word smithery of David bowie it sends your imagination and emotions on a journey that you just don't expect and now forty plus years later it's the only album I own on every format and the first bowie album I play to my kids I loved it then and love it still truly a timeless classic and an album that made me want to explore so many other artists
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on 6 November 2014
Oh yeah. Have that thin black vinyl. Know every nuance. Love it. It's in my top five of the man, and that means top of the tops in general. This is probably my fourth edition - having at least two vinyl ones - one thick, one paper-thin - and the rykodisc version from almost two decades back. This one kills them all. Although that previous version I mentioned - as all Ryko's did - has bonus tracks - it's perfectly fine to have the original tracks only. They're good enough for me. If you don't own this, check it out on Spotify, realize how much better it will sound in full band width, and buy this one. Or a Japanese re-pressing on vinyl for ten times the cost. In any case - buy it and listen.
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on 24 November 2016
After Bowie had 'killed off' his character Ziggy Stardust, he developed the Aladdin Sane persona and produced some great songs to go with it. Here Bowie seems to be exploring a varied range of music and big productions with classical undertones. From Panic in Detroit to the last track, Lady Grinning Soul, with the latter's intriguing lyrics and beautiful piano playing, this album shows the wide range and taste in music
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on 9 March 2016
I consider this album my favourite from the vast and high quality catalogue from BOWIE. Kicking off with the excellent "Watch That Man" this album just never slips in quality songs through it's 10 tracks offering up two hit singles in "Drive-In Saturday" and "Jean Genie" along side some of Bowie's finest songs that was one of the highlight release from the period of Glam Rock which Bowie dominated.
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on 19 April 2017
An electrifying album. Got to love ''Aladdin Sane''. Some mellow sax tunes popped in there also. He was a very clever and inventive musician.
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on 27 February 2016
Quite simply this album is a masterpiece, and should have a place in everyone's record collection. Mick Ronson's musical genius combined with Bowie's passionate lyrics and powerful vocals are a heady combination, with tracks that move seamlessly between rock, jazz, blues and r&b. Confident arrangements and great production values make this album a real masterpiece in Bowie's early catelogue.
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on 13 July 2015
Great album, in fact the third album in the Ziggy trilogy Ziggy Stardust, Pin Ups and Alladin Sane. An album with absolute great Bowie songs like Drive In Saturday, Panic in Detroit and Jean Genie. Of course I had this album on vinyl years ago, and I think I bought it on cd as well, bit couldn't find it. So I wanted a new one because even in this age of streaming and downloading music, the real 'hard copy' CD, with the beautiful cover and booklet can't be missed!
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