After George Orwell's widow refused Bowie the right to use 1984 as the title of his forthcoming album, he instead used the novel as a conceptual blueprint for what became DIAMOND DOGS. Accompanied only by keyboardist Mike Garson, bassist Herbie Flowers, and drummers Aynsley Dunbar and Tony Newman, Bowie played guitar, sax, Moog, and Mellotron, in addition to his contributions as vocalist, composer, arranger, and producer of the album. With the Orwellian themes as a loose backdrop, DIAMOND DOGS has much of the apocalyptic sense of future shock that informed ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS.
While the album doesn't have the musical punch or the songwriting strengths of ZIGGY, its gems make it more than worthwhile. The lush strings and dominant wah-wah guitar of "1984" seem like a nod to Isaac Hayes, while Bowie's howls and snarling sax on the title track make it instantly memorable. The glam rock classic "Rebel Rebel," with its edgy guitar riff and strutting 4/4 beat, is the disc's highlight, and one of Bowie's all-time great songs. Amidst the imagery of a gray, totalitarian future, Bowie injected some optimism by including the nostalgic "Rock 'N' Roll With Me," a good time, rootsy number that presaged his next transformation into the blue-eyed soul singer of YOUNG AMERICANS.
- Released: 02/10/2017
- Format: Vinyl