The Man Who Sold the World: Rolling Stone 10th Greatest Bowie album

The Man Who Sold the World
By: David Bowie
Album: The Man Who Sold the World
Released: November 4, 1970
Songwriter: David Bowie

David's Bowie shifted on his third album, The Man Who Sold the World from the "acoustic/folk rock" of 1969's self-titled album towards "hard rock/blues rock"...with dark lyrics.

Guitarist Mick Ronson and drummer Mick Woodmansey made their first appearance on a Bowie. They became Ziggy Stardust's backing band, Spiders from Mars.  In a 2013 readers' poll for Rolling Stone, it was voted Bowie's tenth greatest album.

"Most critics consider this a transitional album, which seems fair. There's no hit like the prior LP's 'Space Oddity ' or the following record's 'Changes.' As a performer, Bowie is still finding his voice, trying Bolan's warble for 'Black Country Rock' and reverting to his Deram debut's Cockney persona for 'The Supermen.' 'She Shook Me Cold' foreshadows Ziggy's sexuality, and 'Saviour Machine' hints at Diamond Dogs-like dystopia."  Album review at Ultimate Classic Rock

David Bowie

The title track, "A Man Who Sold the World," tells of a man who no longer recognizes himself. Some of the lyric is based on a poem by Hugh Mearns called The Psychoed:

The Man Who Sold the World album cover David Bowie
The Man Who Sold the World UK LP cover

As I was going up the stair
I met a man who was not there
He wasn't there again today
I wish that man would go away
John Mendelssohn wrote in Rolling Stone magazine, 1971: "Bowie's music offers an experience that is as intriguing as it is chilling, but only to the listener sufficiently together to withstand the schizophrenia."

Lulu

The Scottish-born singer Lulu recorded a cover of "A Man Who Sold the World."  She's best known in the United States for the song "To Sir With Love" from the 1967 film starring Sidney Poitier.  

Bowie produced her version and played saxophone on the track. It went to Number 4 in the UK. She spoke to Uncut magazine June 2008 about her recording: 

"I first met David on tour in the early '70s when he invited me to his concert. And back at the hotel, he said to me, in very heated language, 'I want to make an MF of a record with you. You're a great singer.'

I didn't think 'The Man Who Sold The World' was the greatest song for my voice, but it was such a strong song in itself. In the studio, he kept telling me to smoke more cigarettes, to give my voice a certain quality."

Nirvana

Nirvana recorded this for their 1993 MTV Unplugged performance.  Months after the MTV show, Kurt Cobain was found dead. The acoustic set was released as an album in late 1994.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog