Red mutant eyes gazed down on hunger city-no more big wheels-fleas the size of rats sucked on cats the size of rats…so went the immortal words of David Bowie circa 1975 on his album Diamond Dogs. His futuristic Orwellian album cover drew a lot of attention and so did the music. I think the cover is still shocking and ghastly to this day, although that is exactly what makes it so appealing to the darker rock ‘n’ roll side in many of us. Originally, the cover was airbrushed to cover the animal genitals, which was subsequently restored back to its original concept in the 90’s and it remains so on this very special anniversary edition.
Diamond Dogs-30th Anniversary 2CD Edition pays tribute to one of Bowie’s masterpieces of rock, in his own words-the closest thing to a rock musical he ever created. Bowie wanted to reinvent himself again so the demise of Ziggy Stardust and the band was inevitable. The new faces Bowie would unveil became a common occurrence with every album he released. This time out he played most of the instruments on the recording proving his all-around talent to be one of the phenomena’s of the musical world. Previous albums featured different musicians, never allowing his audience to see all of his talents focused so well on one album. This album served as a revelation to me in 1975, when disco was becoming a force (argh!), I discovered Bowie with Ziggy Stardust and his music really took hold with this album, from that point forward I started to look at his previous releases, now anything he puts out I buy without a second thought.
“Rebel Rebel” is one of his best songs; it broke him in U.S. in a big way. Filled with hooks and interesting lyrics regarding a cross-dressing rebel teenager that put his mother in a whirl, Bowie created a hero that youngsters found something in common with whether they were a cross-dressing neurotic or not. Regardless of the characters’ aloofness, he was a juvenile success because of the non-conformity he stood for. It was not only the music that would stick to you like gum on the bottom of your shoe, it was the lyrics, they were risqué and so different, a polar opposite of what was ruling the airwaves of the day. In the descriptive, enlightening, and beautiful booklet that accompanies this set, the discussion revolves around the process Bowie went through while creating this masterstroke of rock ‘n’ roll decadence. Legend has it he was seen cutting up words and piecing them together for the lyrics. If that is true, it gives more evidence of the man’s outright genius as a writer, musician and performer.
The bonus disc is a bit of fun with yet more versions of “Rebel Rebel,” which seems to have at least six different ones that have come out since its inception, but good nevertheless. The 2003 version is also on his deluxe two-disc copy of Reality. “Candidate (Intimacy mix)” is interesting and as bold as Bowie ever was with many sexual intonations sprinkled about to catch your ears, so much so that it was a cut out not to be released for many years to come.
Much like its predecessor anniversary issue discs, you should not miss this great snapshot of one of the classic rock albums from the Thin White Duke.
July 5, 2004
01. Future Legend (1:07)
02. Diamond Dogs (5:56)
03. Sweet Thing (3:38)
05. Sweet Thing (reprise) (2:32)
06. Rebel Rebel (4:30)
07. Rock ‘n’ Roll With Me (4:02)
08. We Are The Dead (4:54)
09. 1984 (3:27)
10. Big Brother (3:20)
11. Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family (2:04)
1. 1984/Dodo (5:27)
2. Rebel Rebel (U.S. Single Version) (2:58)
3. Dodo (2:53)
4. Growin’ Up (3:23)
5. Alternative Candidate (demo for proposed ‘1984’ musical) (5:05)
6. Diamond Dogs (K-Tel “Best Of” Edit) (4:37)
7. Candidate (Intimacy mix) (2:57)
8. Rebel Rebel (2003) (3:10)