David Bowie’s mega-selling 70s opus Aladdin Sane has undergone the root and branch re-mastering treatment.
This 40th anniversary edition comes hot on the heels of last year’s treatment of 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars.
Originally released through RCA Victor on 13th April 1973, Aladdin Sane was David Bowie’s sixth album, co-produced by Bowie and Ken Scott, and was released at the height of Ziggy-mania.
Described by Bowie as “Ziggy goes to America,” Aladdin Sane was mostly written while he was touring across the states.
The album has a much rockier and diverse sound than the Ziggy album and really elevated David Bowie into a major star on both sides of the atlantic.
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 to feature the Spiders’ line-up of Mick Ronson (guitar, piano, backing vocals), Trevor Bolder (bass) and Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey (drums). It also marked the debut of now long-term collaborator and avant-jazz pianist Mike Garson. As well as handling vocals, Bowie himself played guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone on the album.
Incredibly between April 1970 and April 1973 Bowie managed to write and record four albums! Most top bands today would struggle to get one out in that time!
The American influence is there from the start with album opener Watch That Man helped along with superb R&B backing vocals courtesy of Linda Lewis, Juanita “Honey” Franklin and G.A. MacCormack. This is Bowie outrocking the Rolling Stones who at this time were running out of steam.
To rub it in, he also served up a riotous version of Stone’s classic “Let’s Spend the Night Together on side two.
The album provided two big hits in the shape of stonkalong The Jean Genie and the spandex-injected 50s influenced doo-wop of Drive-in Saturday.
Perhaps the first hint of the Hollywood ‘madness’ that was to consume Bowie was evident in the power-rocker Cracked Actor which he wrote after touring 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.