The following inclusion in my top 7 Bowie LPs is not, in any way me trying to be different or cause a minor controversy among Bowie fans who read what is about to follow. In effect, Bowie’s debut album, released on June 1 1967 (the same day as Sgt. Peppers) is one his most unique and ecclectic releases from his entire back catalogue.
David Bowie: released June 1 1967
Highest UK chart position: 125
Highest US chart position: didn’t fucking chart!
Even to this day, I still remember the bright and sunny afternoon I bought a cassette tape of David Bowie. The record store in question was The Record Exchange in Brisbane’s city centre and the tape was second hand costing around $5 which was a lot of money in early 1993 for a young teenage boy like myself. My father had been kind enough to drive me into the city and even allowed me to play the album in the car on the way home. To be honest, I think my parents were struggling to come to terms with their youngest son getting into a “bit of a weirdo” as my Catholic mother liked to label Bowie.
Parents can be funny when they think you are going off the rails. I played all these new Bowie albums I was discovering and I still have no idea how I didn’t wear the cassette tapes sooner. Come to think of it, I could probably get most of those old tapes to play today!
The album has a vaudeville sound inspired in parts by the late Anthony Newley whilst lyrically, it deals with lost loves, paedophiles, cross dressing army desserters and murderers to name a few. I always found that it reminded me a little bit of The Kinks. My elder brother used to play Kinks records a few years previous so this was the first time I had heard anything remotely similar.
The LP spawned two singles, Rubber Band and The Laughing Gnome, the latter of which would some years later made the number 6 position in the U.K. charts during the height of Ziggymania. Interestingly, the version of Runber Band that was released as a single was actually a different version to what was on the album. My personal favourite from the album was, and still is to this day, London Boys. To me, it is without doubt, the first Bowie classic.
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of listening to David Bowie in full then you are truly missing out on a beautiful little album of hidden gems.