David Bowie: “Pin-Ups” (1973)

Released the same year as “Aladdin Sane” and within months of Bowie retiring the persona of Ziggy Stardust, “Pin-Ups” sees the man who put Glam Rock on the map taking a whack at a set of covers that reflect his early influences (or perhaps peers). All of the tunes on this album are from the “Swinging London” scene of ’64-’67, some more well-known than others.

This was actually a fun album to tackle. I listened through it once before reading the Wikipedia entry, then I compiled a YouTube playlist of the original songs (link below), and then listened to Bowie’s version one more time. I discovered a lot of cool songs; “Sorrow” by The Merseys is fantastic, and I finally got around to hearing The Kinks’ original version of “Where Have All the Good Times Gone?”, which I’d only known from Van Halen.

I wouldn’t say there’s anything particularly stand-out on the album. It is interesting to hear Bowie tackle classics like The Who’s “I Can’t Explain” and Pink Floyd’s “See Emily Play”. The band is still the Spiders, though now with Aynsley Dunbar on drums. Ronson is still rocking out with badass, raunchy guitar licks. While Bowie definitely gives each song his unique signature, it’s still obvious that these are not his songs. This album was apparently a big hit for Bowie at the time, but I have to imagine it felt a little weird to fans hoping for more Ziggy-ness.




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