The Man Who Sold The World, David Bowie’s third studio album, the one that led to sonorities darker to abound on topics such as religion or war, It returns to the market this Friday as its author intended, including the title that was stolen at the last minute, Metrobolist.
The name was a tribute to the movie Metropolis (1927) by Fritz Lang, who alwaysand aroused great admiration in the so-called White Duke to the point of devising a grand tour sustained by such bombastic imagery, but Mercury Records changed it “in extremis” without consulting its author.
There were other decisions about the album that reveal the disagreement of opinions between the different fronts involved, for example the cover or the covers, since at least two versions of it were made.
For the US markete an illustration by Mike Weller was used, with a “cowboy” inspired by the figure of actor John Wayne before a mental clinic, the same place where the musician’s half-brother had stayed.
This is the one that will accompany the reissue of the album, and not the best known, the one made for the British market and which ended up being released in the rest of the world, with Bowie photographed by Michael Fish in an extravagant blue dress. According to its official website, also in that case it was the record company that handed down the sentence.
And it is that in those first albums with Mercury, Bowie was not the decisive Bowie that he could have projected during the rest of his career. “It was impossible for him to give concrete answers”, his inseparable Tony Visconti, producer of the album, said.
In that sense, The incorporation of the drummer Mick Woodmansey to his band was decisive and, above all, the guitarist Mick Ronson, who played a fundamental role not only on the strings, but also in the musical direction.
He was, for example, who was in charge of the arrangements, devised melodies for the synthesizer and drove instrumental decisions, such as the use of a Gibson bass (closer to the guitar) or the inclusion of a recorder duo, depending on Paul Trynka relates in the biography David Bowie. Starman.
It raises the idea that Bowie felt indifferent or alien to this album, despite the fact that for many it was his “first great album, although imperfect”, especially for the soundscapes devised by the Visconti-Ronson tandem, capable of underlining the emotions of their interpreter.
His touch is present in topics like She Shook Me Cold O Black Country Rock and somehow impregnated the more aggressive energy that Bowie printed in cuts in which he led the way, such as o Saviour Machine O The Man Who Sold The World, which ended up giving the album its name and which in turn inspired by the title of the book The man who sold the moonde Robert A. Heinlein.
It was not the only thing that the British star dispatched on this album, during which recording he disposed of the services of his agent (and even economic supporter) until that moment, Ken Pitt, for not being “sufficiently assertive”, and hired Tony Defries instead.
It would not be the only sounded departure of the team, since after the completion of the album Visconti himself also left the ship, who would not return to his side until his first live album, David Live (1974).
On your return to the market, Metrobolist has once again received the great attention of this producer, who has remixed all tracks except After All (considering it perfect as it was). It will have a version in 180 gram black vinyl, as well as in gold and white in limited editions.