221: ALADDIN SANE

1973: It's often called Ziggy goes to American. After the '72 US tour David had a thing or two to Glam rock on about...

The addition of jazz piano man Mike Garson made this an unusual album for its time. I find my self much more moved by tracks like 'Lady Grinning Soul' than I once was. Garson's  playing splays over a romantic glam canvas to end a great departure record and a great follow up to one of rocks greatest albums, Ziggy Stardust. It is a harder rocking album than Stardust right from it's opener 'Watch That Man' and other glam-powered tracks like 'Cracked Actor' 'Panic in Detroit' and of course 'Jean Genie' with makes great juxtaposition to the mellow jazz based numbers with Garson at musical center.

Click here to watch Bowie perform "Drive in Saturday" on the Russel Harty Show early '73

Click here to watch Bowie perform "Drive in Saturday" on the Russel Harty Show early '73

Wiki Says - The name of the album is a pun on "A Lad Insane". An early variation was "Love Aladdin Vein", which David Bowie dropped partly because of its drug connotations. Although technically a new Bowie 'character', Aladdin Sane was essentially a development of Ziggy Stardust in his appearance and persona, as evidenced on the cover by Brian Duffy and in Bowie's live performances throughout 1973 that culminated in Ziggy's 'retirement' at the Hammersmith Odeon in July that year. Lacking the thematic flow found on its predecessor, Aladdin Sane was described by Bowie himself as simply "Ziggy goes to America"; most of the tracks were observations he composed on the road during his 1972 US tour, which accounted for the place names following each song title on the original record labels. Biographer Christopher Sandford believed the album showed that Bowie "was simultaneously appalled and fixated by America"

His mixed feelings about the journey stemmed, in Bowie's words, from "wanting to be up on the stage performing my songs, but on the other hand not really wanting to be on those buses with all those strange people ... So Aladdin Sane was split down the middle." This kind of "schizophrenia", as Bowie described it, was conveyed on the cover by his makeup, where a lightning bolt represents the duality of mind, although he would later tell friends that the "lad insane" of the album's title track was inspired by his brother Terry, who had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic. Bowie himself came up with the idea of the lightning bolt over his face, but said the teardrop was Brian Duffy's idea: "He [Brian] put on that afterward, just popped it in there. I thought it was rather sweet. Full Wikipedia article