Teenage Wildlife

Essential David Bowie 69-74 Inaccuracies

By Dara O'Kearney

The US release of Essential David Bowie 1969-1974 included a set of liner notes written by Steven Gizicki. One month after the release, a story circulated that Bowie had ordered the US release pulled from stores because the packaging (credits and liner notes) were grossly inaccurate [Mitch Schneider Org]. Frequent contributor Dara O'Kearney has written the following piece pointing out inaccuracies in the original US release of the liner notes.

"In 1960, at the age of 13, our David entered Bromley Technical High School".

All the books (including the latest two bios) date this to September, 1958, when Bowie was 11.

"a fleeting scuffle with a friend named George Underwood - not with, as many legends persist, the young Peter Frampton"

That's the first I've ever heard of such a legend. Where exactly did he pull this from?

"His first release as David Bowie was "Do Anything You Say"".

This was actually his second release as David Bowie. The first was "Can't Help Thinking About Me", credited to David Bowie and the Lower Third.

"(The debut album) David Bowie never caught on, despite Deram's seemingly unending string of single releases surrounding the album".

As far as I know, there were only 2 singles released, one before the album, one after. History records that the main reason for Bowie's disenchantment and eventually parting of ways with Deram is that they rejected a string of potential singles he presented them with.

"(Visconti) forging a working relationship that would continue through 1980's Scary Monsters".

And beyond - Visconti produced and played on Bowie's Baal's Hymn EP in 1981.

"the 23 year old Bowie ..... Love You Till Tuesday".

Bowie had just turned 22 when he made LYTT.

"(Space Oddity) struggled at first, but eventually soared to Number Eight on the UK pop charts".

#5, not #8.

"The Prettiest Star was later to turn up (in a different form and as presented on this compilation) on 1973's Aladdin Sane album."

The version of TPS on the compilation is a stereo version of the 1970 version with Marc Bolan on guitar, not the 1973 version from AS.

"The Hype which was something of a brainchild of Angela Barnet".

I imagine many people would have reason to debate that statement, so I don't think it can be baldly stated as fact (as it is here).

"Similar to Bowie's earlier chart patterns, TMWSTW album did poorly (especially in America)"

America was actually where the album sold best. It was a total flop everywhere else.

"Ziggy debuted at a stunning Number Five and lingered on the charts for an astounding 172 weeks".

This is misleading. On its first run, the album lingered for 106 weeks. RCA re-issued it in 1981, when it notched up another 62 weeks. It added another 4 weeks in 1990 when EMI issued it on CD. Total of 172, but only 106 on the initial run.

"Aladdinsane became his first album to crack the Top Twenty Five in the US".

Why top 25? AS peaked at #17.

"Diamond Dogs was another.... Top 25 album in the States".

What's with the top 25? DD was a top 5 album (peaked at #5).

"Midway through the US leg of the Diamond Dogs tour.... Bowie cut 'Fame', 'Golden Years' and 'Young Americans'."

Wrong. 'Fame' was recorded at the end of the tour, without the help of Visconti. Golden Years wasn't recorded until late 1975 for the Station to Station album, again sans Visconti.

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This document last updated Monday, 23-Aug-1999 14:29:30 EDT
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