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Bowie: When did his essential / classic period start for you?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by NightGoatToCairo, Nov 21, 2020 at 6:36 AM.

  1. NightGoatToCairo

    NightGoatToCairo Sheik Madeir Thread Starter

    Hampshire, UK
    Space Oddity is a great song. The album not so much. It's enjoyable but I'd have trouble selling it as an essential Bowie album.

    The Man Who Sold The World album is slightly short of being a true classic but it's stronger than its predecessor and warrants a solid 4/5. This would be my pick.

    Hunky Dory is of course universally accepted as a true masterpiece.

    @Oatsdad will tell you the 1967 debut is where it's at.

    What say you?

    David Bowie discography
    angelo73 likes this.
  2. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic

    Britain, Europe
    I’m another advocate of the 1967 debut, which announced a highly original talent and remains a unique album in many ways.

    However, it was never going to set the world on fire.

    Space Oddity is a standout single, unlike anything else around at the time. Its ‘source album’ is likewise, excellent. But Bowie hasn’t yet settled on a distinctive and original style and his influences - principally Bob Dylan - are rather too obvious.

    Man Who Sold The World is, once again, totally different: Bowie’s first venture into hard rock. And, mostly, it’s great. But, again, it’s a miss, albeit a near one.

    With Hunky Dory, he finally settles on a style that will make him stand out and make him popular. You only have to listen to Changes and Life On Mars to realise that Bowie has arrived. So, I’d say his classic period begins then.
    Gila and Sear like this.
  3. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    The Man Who Sold The World. Space Oddity is Bowie trying on just another costume, the hippie/folkie one. But starting with "World" he sounds like the fully formed Bowie we knew.
    rcsrich and LoveYourLife like this.
  4. Solaris Morse

    Solaris Morse Forum Resident

    Hunky Dory was the first Bowie album I purchased and remains my personal favourite.
    Putrifiers II likes this.
  5. Mother

    Mother Forum Resident

    The Space Oddity album is most definitely the start in my book. Great album.
    angelo73, Sear and Bink like this.
  6. MHP

    MHP Lover of Rock ‘n Roll

    Hunky Dory. His first fully-fledged masterpiece.

    Space Oddity is underrated in my book. Not essential, but his compositions and world of alienation is there. The ‘folky’ mood is a matter of taste. But songs like ‘Letter To Hermione’ and ‘Cygnet Commitee’ are essential songs.

    The Man Who Sold The World is a fine album, but here and there it lacks a little. Too much ‘jam’ for my taste. I would have preferred it as a ‘The Hype’ album. Ronson and Visconti are, despite Bowie’s great songwriting, big contributers here.
    Putrifiers II likes this.
  7. Sex Lies And Master Tapes

    Sex Lies And Master Tapes Forum Resident

    Nantes, France
    Station To Station
    Mr RLP likes this.
  8. humpf

    humpf Allowed to write something here.

    The short answer to the op: 1969, with the single. I like the album too, but it is not a majority opinion.
    angelo73 and A Local Bloke like this.
  9. humpf

    humpf Allowed to write something here.

    Mick Ronson likes this.
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  10. Jamsterdammer

    Jamsterdammer Forum Resident

    My Bowie starts with The Man Who Sold The World. Everything before is too spotty for me to really embrace.
    rcsrich and Robert Thomas like this.
  11. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident

    The Space Oddity album (or whatever we are calling it) is my real starting point. There may be differences of opinion about when the classic period started but given that he was performing songs from this album on the Ziggy tour, makes it essential.

    Incidentally there is probably quite a bit of disagreement about when the essential period ended too!
    skisdlimit and Putrifiers II like this.
  12. DME1061

    DME1061 Forum Resident

    Trenton, NJ
    Man Who Sold the World
    rcsrich likes this.
  13. Somerset Scholar

    Somerset Scholar Ace of Spades

  14. trickness

    trickness Gotta painful yellow headache

  15. Putrifiers II

    Putrifiers II Forum Resident

    London, UK
    The first album I bought was Rock Galaxy (2 x LP set of Ziggy / Hunky) and gradually over the years everything else. For years I went no further back than TMWSTW, but when I did I thought "Space Oddity" marked the emergence of Bowie writing for himself as a Rock artist rather than for his all-round entertainer persona. Cygnet and Space make me think this was the beginning. Whenever I begin a Bowie marathon it's with this album.
    Bink likes this.
  16. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident

    Exactly the same for me. Something else too - when I do start a marathon of some of my favourite artists I often find that the first album I play starts with their first key song - for example if I play Elton John, I will start with his 2nd album which begins with his first key song.
    Putrifiers II likes this.
  17. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    From the Space Oddity album for me. That delicious mix of folk and rock was already there. Like many here I suppose, I discovered the album with the Ziggy close-up cover and it just seemed like just more Ziggy music, so it fitted in with the whole sweep of albums, right up to Aladdin Sane and Pin-Ups. All the songs sound like Ziggy was singing them. It was only in the late 70s that I discovered that there had been an original cover with the permed-hair Bowie and Tardis-like background. WTF?! Yes youngsters, in those days, no internet, nothing in the bookshops or local library, just Melody Maker and NME once a week and they weren't wasting their time giving in-depth information about what had come earlier because... so much was happening all the time (unlike the last 30 odd dreary years:rolleyes:).
    Putrifiers II, skisdlimit and Bink like this.
  18. Evethingandnothing

    Evethingandnothing Forum Resident

    I think of The London Boys as a classic.
  19. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    I have certain fondness for the Deram album but I don't see it as being the start of the classic period. Not really all that original as he was aping Anthony Newly, Tommy Steele (variety epoch), Syd Barrett and Traffic.

    Good song but it wasn't on the first album.
  20. Evethingandnothing

    Evethingandnothing Forum Resident

    Yeah. It's hard for me to pick the Deram album, because I don't think it was available when I was buying this stuff. The album I have is The World Of David Bowie, which does include the song.
  21. muzzer

    muzzer Forum Resident

    The Crazy World of Gurney Slade meets Ernie Johnson
  22. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident


    I bought that back in the day - the one with that Ziggy cover, thinking it was more Ziggy music :laugh:. It was only in the late 70s that I discovered the existence of the original Deram album with David the mod wearing a then-fashionable military jacket. Whaaaat? An original copy was very highly priced but a clone re-release made it more affordable. I haven't played it for years. I love some of the songs:
    Sell Me A Coat
    When I Live My Dream
    Silly Boy Blue
    Come And Buy My Toys
    Please Mr. Gravedigger.

    Some of the transition songs on The World Of David Bowie are fantastic and mark the beginning of the great period:
    Karma Man
    Let Me Sleep Beside You
    In The Heat Of The Morning

    So in the end The World Of David Bowie is far better than his debut Deram album.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020 at 1:55 PM
  23. Galeans

    Galeans Forum Resident

  24. amcaudio

    amcaudio Forum Resident

    Still waiting......
    curbach likes this.
  25. Sear

    Sear Forum Resident

    Tarragona (Spain)
    Space Oddity
    angelo73 and Mike McMann like this.

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