We touched on yesterday’s post about how Space Oddity was David Bowie’s proper debut album, though his sound had not yet matured into the classic sound which you expect with his 70’s glam rock phase. Welcome back to A Very Bowie Christmas, and we will continue our retrospect of David Bowie’s albums.
ALL THE MADMEN: The Man who sold the World (1970)
In many ways, The Man who sold the world gave birth to the classic early 70’s glam rock David Bowie. 1969’s Space Oddity saw him ditch the last vestiges of his young, chart-friendly image. David Bowie was in the music industry, and his music began to become heavier, perhaps a touch heavier than subsequent and more popular releases, and this heavier, almost 70’s metal sound is best exemplified in All the Madmen.
When I say that Bowie ditched the young, perky, chart-friendly image in his previous album, I mean it. In the previous album, you have David Bowie playing largely acoustic music, with generally positive vibes, singing about space exploration and the summer of love, to singing about insanity, war, and Lovecraftian elder gods. All the Madmen is a dark, depressing song about Bowie’s half-brother, a diagnosed schizophrenic committed to a mental asylum. I love this song for its general theme and its sound. Its just so brutal, and it feels like David Bowie had finally found his voice. I consider a highlight of this song to be its lyrics and its guitar, some of the best guitar work that I have heard by Mick Ronson, a frequent collaborator with Bowie at this time.
All the madmen is a good song, and I recommend you listen to this, and the album as a whole.