David Bowie - Aladdin Sane
Aladdin Sane is the sixth studio album by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, released on 13 April 1973 by RCA Records. The follow-up to his breakthrough The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, it was the first album he wrote and released from a position of stardom. It was produced by Bowie and Ken Scott and features contributions from Bowie's backing band the Spiders from Mars – comprising Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey – as well as pianist Mike Garson, two saxophonists and three backing vocalists. It was recorded at Trident Studios in London and RCA Studios in New York City between legs of the Ziggy Stardust Tour.
Bowie wrote most of the tracks on the road in the US between shows. Because of this, many of the tracks are greatly influenced by America and Bowie's perceptions of the country. Due to the American influence and the fast-paced songwriting, the album features a tougher and raunchier glam rock sound than its predecessor. The lyrics reflect the pros of Bowie's newfound stardom and the cons of touring, and paint pictures of urban decay, drugs, sex, violence and death. Some of the songs are influenced by the English rock band the Rolling Stones; a cover of their song "Let's Spend the Night Together" is also included. The album features a new character called Aladdin Sane, a pun on "A Lad Insane", whom Bowie described as "Ziggy Stardust goes to America". The album cover, shot by photographer Brian Duffy and featuring a lightning bolt across Bowie's face, was the most expensive cover ever made at the time and represents the split personality of the Aladdin Sane character and Bowie's mixed feelings of the tour and stardom. It is regarded as one of his most iconic images.
Preceded by the singles "The Jean Genie" and "Drive-In Saturday", Aladdin Sane was Bowie's most commercially successful record up to that point, peaking at No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 17 on the US Billboard 200. The album also received positive reviews from music critics, although many found it to be inferior to its predecessor. Nevertheless, it has been regarded by Bowie biographers as one of his essential albums. It has also been classified as one of the greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone and one of the best albums of the 1970s by Pitchfork. The album has since been reissued multiple times and was remastered in 2013 for its 40th anniversary, which was included on the box set Five Years (1969–1973) in 2015.