Album Of The Week: The Birth Of 'David Bowie'

  • 01 June 2018

It's been 41 years exactly since the release of David Bowie's self-titled debut album; an album that no-one realised at the time would be the start of an important evolution in music. It bore no clues of the legendary star's later alter-egos, and is almost unrecognisable next to his later works.

Image caption David Bowie 1967

He'd been in six bands when he was a teenager before setting out as a soloist. His first single from his 1967 debut album was 'Rubber Band', to be followed by the novelty single 'The Laughing Gnome' and the album's other single 'Love You till Tuesday'.

You'd be forgiven for not being bowled over by 'David Bowie - 1967'. His androgynous persona had not yet struck the music industry, and the album impacted so little that he gave up music for two years in favour of becoming a dancer.

But it's still an important part of music history; it's proof that even the greatest artists were not born superstars, that they had to work and create, and dedicate their time to their ambitions to become the legends that they were and are.

After departing Deram Records, Bowie would go on to release the 'Space Oddity' album in 1969 (officially also called 'David Bowie', to much confusion, and which was renamed 'Man of Words/Man of Music' for US audiences); legendary as that song was, it wasn't until 1970's 'The Man Who Sold the World' when he became truly iconic.

Produced by Mike Vernon and featuring one of the greatest session guitarists who ever lived, Big Jim Sullivan, there's no denying that 'David Bowie' is still an interesting piece of work.

It's rooted in folk ditties, vaudevillian melancholy and soft rock, and even though there's little in the sound that would suggest what the future might hold, the weird subject matter was something that he would hold on to until his final album 'Blackstar'.

More: Album of the Week - Echo and the Bunnymen's 'Ocean Rain'

Lyrically, songs like 'Space Oddity' and 'Life on Mars' really wouldn't have been too out of place on the first and original album.