This David Bowie article was written by Adam Stevenson, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Gavin Wells
There are few musicians who embody androgynous rock genius when it comes to re-inventing themselves to new audiences and an ever-changing music scene quite like David Bowie. In a drug fuelled, chart topping career spanning 53 years, the intersexual singer/song writer/producer/actor has catapulted himself to the forefront of music, film and television and has rightfully placed himself alongside the greatest acts in history.
Leaving behind Beatlemania and the swinging 60’s scene, Bowie picked up on the back end of the folk rock era that had come before him – but after gaining minor recognition for his troubles, he re-packaged and re-branded himself. The change led the Brixton born David Jones to superstardom as he captivated the world with a glam/pop sound that transcended almost everything that preceded him- not to mention giving birth to the post-Velvet Underground Lou Reed.
Five Years is the first helping of a complete works and is a monumental box set covering some of the finest rock albums to ever have come out of Britain, as well as arguably two of the best live shows to have ever been recorded.
This twelve CD/180g audiophile vinyl box set transports you through the early timeline of Bowie’s career; following him from a struggling BobDylan-esque folk singer to the charismatic glam rock icon Ziggy Stardust that he is most associated with.
The set includes remastered versions of six studio albums: ‘David Bowie’ (1969), ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ (1970), ‘Hunky Dory’ (1971), ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’ (1972), ‘Pin Ups’ and ‘Aladdin Sane’ (both released in 1973).
The collection also contains Re:Call, an exclusive two CD catalogue of singles and B-sides as well as two outstanding live performance albums in the guise of ‘Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture Soundtrack’ and the extraordinary ‘Live In Santa Monica’ 72′.
Finding a highlight within this comprehensive CD extravaganza is an enormous task – it has everything a Bowie fan can ever crave and more. Like Bowie himself, it can be described as a monstrous, exhilarating experience. Whether it be the catchy jazz and blues infused ‘Kooks’ and ‘Bewlay Brothers’ of the overlooked ‘Hunky Dory’ album, or the sheer electric glam brilliance of Bowie, Ronson, Bolder and Woodsmaney on both live albums, you’d have to be deaf and without a musical soul not to enjoy it.
Dim the lights, crank up the volume, sit back (or better yet lie on the floor) and immerse yourself in the utter genius of the Bowie Universe.
Five Years 1968-1973 is out now from Parlophone Records