When did Bowie really become a big star in America?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Dandelion1967, Oct 18, 2020.

  1. Dandelion1967

    Dandelion1967 My Favourite Parks Are Car Parks Thread Starter

    Was in 1974?

    I've always thought that Diamond Dogs proved to be Bowie's breakthrough album reaching number five on Billboard Album Charts.

    Or was in 1983?

    He released Let's Dance, a big commercial success. It has sold 10.7 million copies worldwide, making it Bowie's best-selling album.
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  2. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 1

    Dutch mountains
    Around the time of the Soul Train performances things probably started moving ?
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  3. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    1973: Aladdin Sane biggest hit album in the U.S.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  4. MJConroy

    MJConroy Forum Resident

    East Coast
  5. With his first Number One in 1975
  6. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Levittown. NY
    I used to follow Billboard like a madman in the 70's and early 80's; his American popularity was very "up and down" I'd say. I do recall Diamond Dogs being his first album to go top ten and then he retained that status for about the next three albums before they started failing to go that high again. Then there was the Let's Dance resurgence which, best to my memory, was relatively short lived in terms of huge album sales.

    All that said, his influence, both "present day" (80's and beyond) and retroactively was felt very strongly and considered vital throughout, both artistically and culturally. He's one of the few artists who holds such overall significance without ever really becoming one of the biggest megastars in terms of record sales.
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  7. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    At the time of ChangesOneBowie, there was a good build up of momentum. Fame, Golden Years and that album were very popular here in Canada.
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  8. Brian Shively

    Brian Shively Active Member

    Lake Havasu City
    This! This album was his big breakout album....and still his best IMO. Bowie had a long and glorious career, but his early albums starting with Hunky Dory in 1971 and concluding with Diamond Dogs in 1974 was an especially good run. I love Bowie's music from every decade, but I still believe his best albums were recorded and released in this time period. My favorite Bowie album is still Ziggy, but it is closely followed by Aladdin Sane and Hunky Dory.
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  9. mishima's dog

    mishima's dog Forum Resident

    Glasgow, Scotland
    I wondered about this earlier this year while watching an old episode of Kojak when one of the characters said she couldn’t bury her recently deceased husband in a sparkly top and jeans because he would ‘look like David Bowie’

    The air date for the episode was March 1974 which got me thinking that Bowie must have been a well known name to mainstream America even before Diamond Dogs came out.

    I was surprised to learn Ziggy/Aladdin/ Pin Ups all charted in the USA which means the US must have been as surprised as everyone else by Young Americans.
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  10. egebamyasi

    egebamyasi Forum Resident

    Worcester, MA
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  11. Scott in DC

    Scott in DC Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    Bowie started getting more play on the radio when Ziggy Stardust was released. While not a monster hit like later songs and albums he had, it did get played on the radio and people were starting to learn who he was. The Space Oddity single also got played in the US around this time even though it was a couple years old.

    His popularity grew larger with the albums that followed.

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  12. MJConroy

    MJConroy Forum Resident

    East Coast
    I lived in Cleveland back then - so for me, he was huge when Ziggy came out. He started that tour in Cleveland because he was already a star to us.
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  13. tug_of_war

    tug_of_war Sassafras & Moonshine

    This :righton:
  14. Avenging Robot

    Avenging Robot Forum Resident

    Yes, but glam acts were popular in Cleveland way before the rest of the country caught on.
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  15. Big Jimbo

    Big Jimbo Forum Resident

    I was surprised when he was on Johnny Carson in September 1980 although he was about to appear on Broadway. I don’t think Carson brought him over to chat.

    He was playing Madison Square Garden in the mid 1970s...apparently with a very high stage from a review I saw.
  16. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    I was a little kid in the early 70s, but I still recall seeing Bowie on TV around 1973 or so - and being horrified by his oddness! My young eyes couldn't take it! :D

    As a music listener, I was aware of Bowie in 1974. I recall that I really liked "Changes" back then!
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  17. rrbbkk

    rrbbkk Forum Resident

    "Diamond Dogs" and the accompanying tour was his first foray outside of a few major markets. He played the hockey rinks in the Toledos and Louisvilles of the country and finally let all of those kids in on the mystique. Then he veered left for a year with "Young Americans" which attracted a new black audience and the dance hall crowd. By then he was virtually a household name but not a megastar. Despite appearances on the Dinah Shore and the like he disappeared into the Berlin/alkylide wilderness for a few years. He resurfaced with a new label in the early '80s just in time to exploit his plethora of visual talents on the new MTV. With video, a relatively mainstreamed look and "Let's Dance" in his arsenal, THAT's when Bowie became a superstar.
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  18. Marvin

    Marvin Forum Resident

    I thought it was fall of '72, with Ziggy.

    (I didn't become a fan until 2 or 3 years later.)
  19. The Dark Elf

    The Dark Elf Curmudgeonly Wordwraith

    Diamond Dogs. The girls in my high school were having heart palpitations for Bowie. Playing football, I remember the cheerleaders actually had a routine with "1984" playing.
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  20. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Interesting that according to Wiki, Station To Station was his highest charting album in the US until The Next Day, reaching even higher than the mega-successful Let's Dance.

    I first became aware of Bowie when I bought the "Fame" single in 1975, this was actually before I was really aware of what I was doing musically. I had no idea who Bowie was, I just heard the song on the radio and liked it. But I think that an argument could be made that Bowie wasn't really a BIG star in America until Let's Dance. That was the real monster album, you couldn't get away from him that year. And even though Never Let Me Down was a let-down, the Glass Spider tour was a huge event. '83-'88 were huge years for Bowie in the US.
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  21. mike_mike

    mike_mike Well-Known Member

    Young Americans did it. Agreed, Bowie began appearing on Dinah Shore (!!!) and occasionally dragged Iggy along with him. The video out there is gold.

    Also growing up there in the '70s, it's safe to say Cleveland was far from normal in gauging what was popular. While there were exceptions, it was more a guarantee that an artist would eventually become a star if they found an audience there early on. Fans in Cleveland were fanatics, and blessed with mostly impeccable taste. Not sure how that happened, but it did. My opinion is it was the DJs.
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  22. Witchy Woman

    Witchy Woman Forum Resident

    Third Coast, USA
    Being a “big star” takes more than album sales. Bowie was well-known in the U.S. in the 70s, esp. after “Fame” was a hit. I even remember seeing him on TV and in magazines and I was a child. But his profile and visibility were raised tremendously with his success in the 80s. That was really when he became a “big star.”
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  23. A big star would be the 80s, prior to that he was an up and down, in and out, star that always had cult appeal, he wasn't at Zep, Floyd, Elton John level of stardom. He had good chart placings during the middle of the 70s, but his certifications from those times are pre 1976 US Gold based on total gro$$ sales, not units sold. His popularity was strictly coastal until the 80s, and even then not the US South. If he did't have Philly (21 visits by '78), NYC ( 12 visits by '78), Columbus/Cleveland/Cincinnati early on he would have never made it in the US. He could tour the Northeast US heavily and slowly branch out (very similar to Springsteen's touring base during the 70s).
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
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  24. Tanx

    Tanx Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    I would say he became a big star in the U.S. with Let's Dance and his much more approachable image.
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  25. blastfurniss

    blastfurniss Forum Resident

    Marion, OH, USA
    Define "star." Not trying to be a putz to the OP but "star" is one of those terms people definite differently. The critics and the buzz noticed with Ziggy. Top 40 radio which appeals to the masses didn't pay much mind until Fame went to the top of the charts so that's when I think he became a star. Fame also led to mainstream TV appearances as well. I'm in complete agreement he hit super star status in the States with Let's Dance and the Serious Moonlight tour.
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