FOR EVALUATION AND STUDY PURPOSES ONLY, YOU CAN LISTEN TO SAMPLES OF SOME OF THE TRACKS RECORDED DURING THE 'DIAMOND DOGS' SESSIONS BY CLICKING ON THE BLUE TITLES

Much has been written over the past few decades about David Bowie's Diamond Dogs album, so it is not the intention to add more to that here, but rather to present a factual timeline in words, images, music and video, of the development and release of this classic album.

JULY 1973:

An unknown track (often referred to along with other titles as “Zion”, “Tragic Moments”, “A Lad In Vain”, “Love Aladdin Vein”, even "John, I'm Only Dancing"!) is recorded in the George Sands studio at Chateau d'Herouville, France, during the Pinups sessions. Although an unreleased version of '1984' is said to have been recorded as early as January 1972, it's probably this unknown track from the Pinups sessions which is the earliest evidence of anything released so far relating to the Diamond Dogs album.

Although this unfinished piece is conjecturally regarded by many to be a track from the Aladdin Sane sessions earlier in the year, it is more closely suited to being a Diamond Dogs demo in progress. The musicians on this track are those from the Pinups sessions: Mick Ronson on lead guitar, Trevor Bolder on bass, Aynsley Dunbar on drums, Mike Garson on piano and mellotron, and David Bowie on vocals and tambourine. The mix is rough and unfinished, and the balance is less than excellent – likely to have been transferred from an early ¼ inch studio mix-down. And there are no lyrics either – just Bowie’s vocals “la la”-ing thoughout the song. There is one section within this unfinished track that will eventually evolve into the bridging link in between the end of 'Sweet Thing (Reprise)' and before 'Rebel Rebel' on the finished Diamond Dogs album.

On the 8th of October 1973, an article called 'Outside David Bowie', written by Martin Hayman and published in Rock Magazine, features Bowie at work during the Pinups sessions. From an interview with Bowie at the studio, Hayman reports:

David asks engineer Andy to run up a quick mix of the next project. Now this is really the one - the next album of Bowie's own original material.  "There are no vocals on it yet - just my la-la-la-ing. Its going to be a musical in one act called ‘Tragic Moments’ probably running straight through two sides.” We listen to perhaps seven minutes of music. I am confused.  The contrast between ‘Tragic Moments’ and ‘Pinups’ could not be greater. The former is a highly arranged, subtly shifting music with just a touch of vaudeville: Mike Garson's piano flashes through like quicksilver.  Perhaps the closest approximation to what has gone before would be the title track of Aladdin Sane. "This is something I've always wanted to do. I envisage a scenario first, then the music." But, though I press him, he is not willing to reveal either the theme or the possibility - indeed, knowing Bowie's predilection for the theatre and his contacts, it must be a future possibility - of its taking the form on the public stage. I mention this and David says something about feeling better equipped to deal with theatrically-base composition.

 

SEPTEMBER 1973:

David's manager Tony Defries dispatches playwright and producer Tony Ingrassia to England, to co-write and produce with David a stage musical production of one of David's favourite novels - George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four

David's 18 year-old girlfriend Ava Cherry auditions for Tony Defries and is recruited along with David's friend and travelling companion Geoffrey MacCorrmack (now called "Warren Peace") and Jason Guess to form the vocal trio collectively called 'The Astronettes'.

EARLY OCTOBER 1973:

Together with Geoffrey MacCorrmack, 'Rock 'n' Roll With Me' is co-written at David's house in Oakley Street, Chelsea. The song evolves very quickly from a simple chord sequence which Geoffrey is playing on the piano, with David adding the chorus melody and writing the lyric.

Although the backing track to Lulu's covers of David's 'The Man Who Sold The World' and 'Watch That Man' have previously been recorded on 16th July 1973 during the Pinups sessions at Chateau d'Herouville, France, David now books into Morgan Studios, London, to add backing vocal overdubs and David's sax.

Also in early October, David books some session time at Trident Studios in London, to record a medley of two new songs called '1984/You Didn't Hear It From Me/1984 (Reprise)'. It's the last recording that Mick Ronson and Trevor Bolder would work with each other in a studio with David, and also the last recording that Ken Scott would ever produce for him.

18th-20th OCTOBER 1973:

Filming takes place at London's Marquee Club for David's appearance on NBC television's Midnight Special. Accompanying him are Mick Ronson (lead guitar), Trevor Bolder (bass), Aynsley Dunbar (drums), Mike Garson (piano) and old-friend Mark Pritchett (guitar). Also accompanying David are The Astronettes. The show - which is transmitted only in the US - is titled 'The 1980 Floor Show' and features live performances to an invited audience of Bowie fan-club members, mainly of material from the Pinups album. Hampered with false starts and re-takes, the '1984' medley is also premiered, at the start of which David announces: "We've written a musical ...and this is the title song called '1984'. We'll be doing the show in March next year."

 

 

~ THE ASTRONETTES (GEOFFREY MAcCORMACK, JASON GUESS & AVA CHERRY) WITH DAVID AT THE MARQUEE CLUB  ~ 

 

27th OCTOBER 1973:

UK weekly music newspaper Disc carries a brief interview with Tony Ingrassia, in which it reports: 'David Bowie is currently writing a script with Tony Ingrassia. "We have not fully acquired the rights to the book yet and it's still possible we will have to call it '1983' or something like that!"

LATE OCTOBER 1973:

Olympic Studio 2 in Barnes, South West London is chosen to record tracks for a forthcoming album. The facility is near to David's Oakley Street house (around three miles away). Although dimly-lit and oppressive, 1st-floor Olympic 2 is as acoustically and technically equipped as Trident Studios, measuring 36 x 32 feet and with two isolation booths. Olympic 3, located on the 2nd floor is a smaller suite serving to accommodate overdub sessions and is also used later as these sessions progress. 

~ THE CONTROL ROOM AT OLYMPIC STUDIO 2 ~ 

 

Musicians recruited to join David during the sessions are: Aynsley Dunbar (drums), Herbie Flowers (bass), and Mike Garson (piano). David plays acoustic and electric guitars, moog, mellotron and saxophones. Dunbar would later be replaced with Tony Newman. Olympic's resident engineer Keith Harwood supervises the recording, while David takes charge of mixing and production, both of which he admits to lack in confidence with.

One of the first tracks to be recorded at Olympic 2 is 'You Didn't Hear It From Me' (from the 1980 Floor Show medley, minus '1984'), now renamed 'Dodo'.

Lulu is invited to Olympic 2 to join David on a 2nd mix of 'Dodo', with the possibility of releasing it as a single. David's original vocal on this track is now used only as a guide vocal for Lulu. This mix is much longer than the above version and contains the full ending without fade, allowing for Lulu's ad-lib vocals.

~ DAVID WITH LULU, RECORDING TOGETHER IN 1973 ~

 

13th-24th NOVEMBER 1973:

While David's sessions are underway in Olympic Studio 2, the Rolling Stones are also putting finishing touches to their forthcoming album It's Only Rock 'n' Roll in adjacent Studio 1. David invites Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood to play (uncredited) on David's own version of the Bruce Springsteen song ‘Growin' Up’ that he's just recorded in Olympic 2. David is invited by the Stones to add to the backing vocals of their newly-recorded track 'It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)'. This track would also be the first ever recording that David and bassist Willy Weeks would work on together.

The working title for David's new album now is We Are The Dead.

17th NOVEMBER 1973:

At the invitation of Rolling Stone magazine journalist Craig Copetas, David invites beat poet William Burroughs to join him at his Oakley Street home. Together they interview each other, with Craig Copetas presiding. Photographer Terry O'Neill is invited to take photos. David and Burroughs discuss the cut-up technique and David talks about the Ziggy Stardust stage musical. He also announces his plans for the Nineteen Eighty-Four stage project, revealing that he's already written twenty songs for it and that it'll be "...almost a kitchen sink kind of thing. I shall look very different in it and there's lots of good music in the show. Some of it is as much as three years old. I kept a lot of songs back because I knew I wanted them for some kind of show."

The interview is published in Rolling Stone magazine on 28th February 1974. You can view more images from this photo-shoot HERE.

~ ONE OF THE O'NEILL PHOTOS, HAND-COLOURED BY DAVID AND SELF-TITLED "B&B 2 WILD BOYS" ~

 
3rd DECEMBER 1973:

Sessions are booked at Olympic 2 for The Astronettes. The musicians used are those from David's own sessions, with the addition of old friend Mark Carr Pritchett on lead guitar. The tracks are mixed by Keith Harwood, who is also recording engineer on these sessions, while production is carried out once again by David himself. Tony Visconti would later be drafted in to work on the arrangements, including strings.

The songs recorded during The Astronettes sessions are made up of cover versions of artists such as Frank Zappa and Bruce Springsteen, together with a selection of songs written by David himself, including 'Having A Good Time', 'Things To Do' and 'Only Me'. It’s quite possible that some of these songs could have been intended for the Nineteen Eighty-Four project. Certainly, some of these songs would be re-used much later on in David’s career. ‘I Am Divine’ would be heavily reworked and re-titled ‘Somebody Up There Likes Me’ for the Young Americans album. ‘I Am A Lazer’ (another recorded during these sessions) would be reworked in August 1974 again during the Young Americans sessions, before being finally rewritten as ‘Scream Like A Baby’ on David’s 1980 album Scary Monsters, as would 'People From Bad Homes' (also from The Astronettes sessions), which would be heavily reworked into 'Up The Hill Backwards' - all written by David and given to The Astronettes. David also records his own version of 'God Only Knows' during these sessions, but this remains unreleased.

DECEMBER 1973:

Two new songs are written: 'Candidate', and a song which will be later offered to Lulu called 'Take It In, Right'.

Sonia Orwell, widow of George Orwell rejects outright the application to adapt her late husband’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four into a stage musical. David now has to re-write much of the material he’s already written and recorded. Original ideas for the now aborted Nineteen Eighty-Four stage musical are put on hold, but later adapted for the Diamond Dogs Show in June the following year.

26th-31st DECEMBER 1973:

One of the songs originally written for the Ziggy Stardust stage musical is 'Rebel'. A few days are booked at London's Trident Studios, where a very early solo version of the song is demoed. A further attempt at 'Rebel' would later be made at Morgan Studios in Willesden, London, with Trevor Bolder on bass, but work is soon aborted. This would be the last time that David and Trevor would work together again. Both 'Rebel' (soon to be renamed 'Rebel Rebel') and '1984' go on to be recorded at Olympic Studio 2, with Alan Parker drafted in to play electric guitar on both tracks, although Parker will be uncredited on 'Rebel Rebel'.

 

~ DAVID'S HAND-WRITTEN LYRIC FOR 'REBEL REBEL', UNDER IT'S WORKING TITLE OF 'REBEL'  ~

 

1st JANUARY 1974:

New Year's Day and back at Olympic Studio 2, basic acoustic demos of 'Candidate' and 'Take It In, Right' are recorded. Keith Harwood engineers, assisted by Andy Morris.

2nd JANUARY 1974:

Sometime between the 2nd - 9th January, a fully recorded version of 'Candidate' is completed at Olympic Studio 2 and becomes a finished track in it's own right. This version is soon rejected and remains unreleased until 1990.

5th JANUARY 1974:

The Astronettes sessions are stopped for four days.

8th JANUARY 1974:

For his 27th Birthday, Amanda Lear escorts David to Hampstead in London to see for the first time Fritz Lang's 1927 silent film Metropolis. In the film, Lang's opinion that love could never be defeated in a futuristic and technocratic society has an influence on David and his work, and he incorporates this idea with the already Orwellian theme in his forthcoming album.

It's also from this point that David becomes increasingly absorbed with German expressionist cinema - a form of art in which the actor's mood and experience is visually depicted in the scenery and the objects that are around him. A prime example of this is the 1920 silent film The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, with its angular and jagged buildings, sloping floors and stark lighting.

Together with Tod Browning's 1932 film Freaks, these now classic movies would heavily define the direction that David would follow, both with his forthcoming album and live tour, even if it were misunderstood at the time by his followers and critics.

9th JANUARY 1974:

The Astronettes Sessions resume.

Meanwhile, another song is evolving.

David Bowie: "I’d failed to obtain the theatrical rights from George Orwell’s widow for the book 1984 and having written three or more songs for it already, I did a fast about-face and recobbled the idea into Diamond Dogs: teen punks on rusty skates living on the roofs of the dystopian Hunger City; a post-apocalyptic landscape.

A centrepiece for this would-be stage production was to be Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing, which I wrote using William Burroughs’s cut-up method. You write down a paragraph or two describing several different subjects creating a kind of story ingredients-list, I suppose, and then cut the sentences into four or five-word sections; mix ‘em up and reconnect them. You can get some pretty interesting idea combinations like this. You can use them as is or, if you have a craven need to not lose control, bounce off these ideas and write whole new sections.

I was looking to create a profligate world that could have been inhabited by characters from Kurt Weill or John Rechy – that sort of atmosphere. A bridge between Enid Blyton’s Beckenham and The Velvet Underground’s New York. Without Noddy, though. I thought it evocative to wander between the melodramatic Sweet Thing croon into the dirty sound of Candidate and back again.
"

Pictured below are two pages containing David's original hand-written lyric for the ‘Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise)’ suite and is the working manuscript in which the two separate songs are linked together for the first time. The 59 lines of David’s handwriting show variations to the final released tracks on the album. The first sheet (beginning “It’s safe in the city”) contains the lyrics – without the chorus – for both ‘Sweet Thing’ and ‘Sweet Thing (Reprise)’, the latter being added in felt-tip pen at the bottom of the page. The other (beginning “It’s a street”) is a re-draft of the original and previously recorded ‘Candidate’, with some sections marked to be moved around, and others replaced. Most notably, the first four lines of this ‘Candidate’ re-draft (two of which Bowie has already crossed through) will be completely re-written when he later records the song:

The above manuscripts were acquired by producer Jon Astley, while he worked as a sound engineer at Olympic Studios in January 1974 on the sessions for ‘Sweet Thing’ and ‘Candidate’. He asks David if he can keep the discarded lyric sheets, which David agrees to do in a trade for Astley to stay behind that evening to engineer the sessions for Lulu's recording of her vocals for ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, which he happily obliges.

14th JANUARY 1974:

At Olympic Studio 2, the re-drafted version of 'Candidate' (to be joined with 'Sweet Thing') and 'Big Brother' are recorded.

Pictured below is the tape box for an Olympic Studios 2-inch master reel for three tracks: 'Rock and Roll With Me', 'Candidate' and 'Big Brother'. The mixing engineer's hand-written notes indicate assigned tracks and instrumentation, etc. The tape is dated 14th January 1974:

 

Also on 14th January, young photographer called Kate Simon is assigned to photograph the Japanese multi-instrumentalist Stomu Yamash'ta, who is recording in Olympic Studio 1 adjacent to where David is working.

Kate Simon:I can see David clearly, even now, sitting behind the huge desk in the main room, in a long green synthetic fur coat and a green felt hat, singing and playing acoustic guitar. I was overwhelmed at how good he was, just accompanying himself. And he was lovely, gave me absolute freedom that day. He kept calling me ‘Bette’ – he believed I looked like Bette Midler – and once I was done, said: ‘Bette, do you need a lift back into town?’ He was heading to Oakley Street (in Chelsea) and so I got a ride in this huge limousine to my flat in Fulham. He was very, very nice, but all the way – on what was quite a long journey – he didn’t say word, until I got out. Then he said: ‘I’ll see you again.’ Maybe he was kind of wistful that day.

~ DAVID WITH MIKE GARSON IN OLYMPIC STUDIO 2 ON 14th JANUARY 1974 (photo by Kate Simon) ~

You can view more images taken at Olympic Studios HERE

 

15th JANUARY 1974:

'Diamond Dawgs' (original working title for 'Diamond Dogs') is recorded at Olympic Studio 2. Overdubs for 'Big Brother' and the re-drafted version of 'Candidate' are also added, together with Earl Slick's guitar on 'Rock ‘n’ Roll With Me'.
 
Also on the 15th at Olympic Studio 2, David adds his backing vocals and sax to Lulu's version of 'The Man Who Sold The World'. Lulu's lead vocals are also finally added to the song, and to her version of 'Watch That Man', making these tracks now completed. For these two recordings, David wants Lulu’s vocals to sound as scratchy as possible, so he has her repeatedly smoke cigarettes to get her voice sounding hoarse. The idea is to update Lulu’s cozy image for a new decade, and David tells her he wants to record a “...motherfucker…” of a song for her. Recording also begins on 'Take It In, Right'.
 
Back at The Astronettes sessions, many tracks are compromised by Jason Guess’s "...rather bland and wavery vocals", which has become more obvious as the sessions have progressed. So much so that David has become undecided about what to do with The Astronettes project. Added to David’s concerns over the future of The Astronettes project, there are increasingly major financial problems with management company Mainman and in particular an arising dispute over Olympic Studio’s unpaid bill of £4,935. Matters are prioritized and The Astronettes project is aborted at the end of the session on the 15th. From here on, David now concentrates solely on the recording and completion of his own forthcoming album.

16th JANUARY 1974:

'We Are The Dead' is recorded at Olympic Studio 2.

18th JANUARY 1974:

Pictured below is the tape box for an Olympic Studios 2-inch master reel containing four completed master tracks. The tracks are: 'Diamond Dawgs' (soon to be re-titled 'Diamond Dogs'), 'Rock and Roll With Me', 'Candidate', 'Big Brother'. The tape is dated 18th January 1974:

 

 

JANUARY 1974:

Sometime towards the end of January and while Olympic Studios pursue Tony Defries and Mainman for a payment settlement, David moves to Island Studios in Notting Hill, London and works on the tapes there.

~ THE CONTROL ROOM AT ISLAND STUDIO 1, BASING STREET, NOTTING HILL, LONDON, circa 1974  ~ 

 

13th FEBRUARY 1974:

David visits Amsterdam, Holland for an appearance on Avro television channel's Top Pop and to receive from presenter Ad Visser the Edison Award for Most Popular Male Vocalist. He also mimes to 'Rebel Rebel' - a track from what will be the forthcoming new album. Whilst there, David also books into Studio L Ludolf at the Machineweg 8-12 in Hilversum, where more fine adjustments are made to David’s master tapes of the Diamond Dogs sessions. The title track itself is also completed during these sessions in Amsterdam.

 

MARCH 1974:

 

~ A FAN CLUB LETTER PURPORTEDLY FROM "BOWIE" TO A FAN, MARCH 1974  ~

 

Struggling to achieve a decent mix in any of the studios he has tried around London and faced with the daunting task of producing an entire album on his own for commercial release, Bowie takes the completed 2-inch 16-track master tapes to Tony Visconti’s newly-built home recording studio at Melrose Terrace, Shepherd’s Bush, London where the album is finally mixed and mastered. Equipment used includes an MCI 16-track, two Studer 2-track and three Revox 2-track machines, and a custom-built Trident B mixing console.

~ TONY VISCONTI IN THE CONTROL ROOM OF HIS NEWLY-BUILT HOME STUDIO AT MELROSE TERRACE, LONDON, circa 1974  ~

Tony Visconti:“That night we sat there for hours mixing the opening track of what would become 'Diamond Dogs'. I made a tape copy of the mix for David on a Revox reel-to-reel machine that I had set at the wrong speed. David left with a faulty copy but phoned at 2am to tell me to make a good copy and that someone would be right over to pick it up. At 5am I received another call from David saying that he loved the mix and wanted to continue in my studio. While I’m credited as co-producer of Diamond Dogs, David did extraordinary work in the studio before I got the tapes to mix – the bulk of it, in fact.

During the mixing of 'Chant Of The Ever-Circling Skeletal Family' (which has already been partially-constructed from a series of studio "accidents"), David intends to end the track with a repeated "Brother! Brother! Brother! Brother!...", but Tony Visconti's Eventide digital delay processing unit becomes stuck and only repeats "Bro". David prefers this so decides to keep it in the final edit.

The Eventide digital delay processing unit is one of the first of its kind, capable of changing the pitch of a signal without sacrificing the tempo. This means that a vocal or guitar can be fed into the Eventide enabling the pitch to be raised or lowered. This effect can be especially heard on David's lead vocal track during the 'Sweet Thing' suite.

Sometime during March, Tony Visconti writes and adds a string arrangement to 1984.

Five early 12-inch single-sided acetate master reference discs are cut, containing just three completed tracks: 'Future Legend', 'Rebel Rebel' and 'Big Brother', the latter track includes 'Chant Of The Ever-Circling Skeletal Family', although this isn't listed on the acetate's track details. 'Future Legend' segues into 'Rebel Rebel' on this acetate, in the same way that 'Diamond Dogs' would eventually do on the final release, suggesting that this is the originally-intended order of which side 1 of the album will start.

The crowd noise towards the end of 'Future Legend' is taken directly from Rod Stewart & The Faces live album Coast To Coast - an album recorded in October 1973 and released in January 1974.

 

~ A LIMITED NUMBER PRE-PRODUCTION TEST PRESSING OF THE DIAMOND DOGS ALBUM  ~

 

25th MARCH 1974:

'Take It In, Right' is now recorded proper at Olympic Studio 2, with Lulu on lead (vocals), David Bowie (guitar), Tony Newman (drums), and an unidentified musician on bass. Brass and string accompaniment together with final overdubs will be added to the track within a month.

 

29th MARCH 1974:

Mick Ronson works on a string accompaniment for Lulu’s ‘Take It In, Right’.
 

5th APRIL 1974:

5th APRIL 1974: David Bowie and his companion Geoffrey MacCorrmack arrive at the Ritz Hotel in Cannes, South France. However, shortly after booking in, plans are changed and that evening the pair travel to Paris before then boarding the boat train as 1st class passengers bound to Le Havre. From there they board the SS France ocean liner and make the 6-day trans-Atlantic crossing to New York the morning after.
 
 ~ THE SS-FRANCE, 1974  ~

While aboard the ship, David is informed that some of the crew members are disappointed that he isn't scheduled to play during the voyage, so he arranges with them to do an impromptu performance in the crew's canteen! According to the SS France receptionist Bruno Rabreau: “We enjoyed more than 10 songs and especially 'Space Oddity' which was the first one, and a few crew members took instruments too and played with him. It was a really, really good time. He was a very ordinary person and very friendly to us. We really enjoyed it.

 
 
11th APRIL 1974:
The SS France arrives at New York's Harbor. As David and Geoffrey disembark, a number of fans and admirers are waiting ashore to greet him. David signs a few US fan club booklets before being driven away in the waiting limo.
 

~  DAVID WITH FANS AT NEW YORK'S HARBOR, 11th APRIL 1974. (MORE IMAGES HERE ~

 
17th APRIL 1974:

An alternative ‘’salsa’’ version of 'Rebel Rebel' is recorded and mixed at RCA Studio A, NYC. Using the original 'Rebel Rebel' master tape, additional overdubs are added including backing vocals and handclaps, along with Geoffrey MacCormack on castanets and congas. This version is intended for release as a single only in the US the following month.

Also at these sessions, final overdubs are added to Lulu's 'Take It In, Right' (now retitled 'Can You Hear Me?'), including rhythm guitar by then-RCA session player Carlos Alomar. This track remains unreleased and David then goes on to re-record it four months later and includes it on his 1975 Young Americans album. (See also: Young Americans Sessions)

 

24th MAY 1974:

Following a massive publicity campaign by Mainman and under the direction of Tony Defries, RCA issues a press release, announcing the new album.

The massive publicity campaign for Diamond Dogs has a phenomenal impact on the media, costing Mainman/RCA $400,000. It includes double-page ads showing the album's new cover and two newsletters which include black and white reproduction prints of the album's art are also printed and sent out to 5,000 media contacts. Giant posters are displayed on buses and fly-posted in railway stations, as well as advertising in every main music store. Enormous billboards are also constructed and displayed on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard and in New York's Times Square announcing the new album.

 

~ CENTRE-PAGE PRESS ADVERTISEMENT FROM THE UK's NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, 26th MAY 1974 ~

 

31st MAY 1974:

The Diamond Dogs album (RCA APLI 0576) is finally released a week later than planned, instantly reaching no.1 in the UK's album charts and peaking at no.5 in the US charts by the summer.

Among the many unreleased tracks written and possibly recorded during the Diamond Dogs sessions were compositions such as 'Wilderness', ‘Are You Coming, Are You Coming’ and 'Tricoteuses’. These, together with a cover of Johnny Cash's 'The Ballad Of Ira Hayes' are said to have been at least intended for David's aborted Nineteen Eighty-Four stage musical. It's plausible that some of the songs given to The Astronettes were also originally intended for the same musical and/or the album.

Olympic Studios was eventually acquired by Richard Branson’s Virgin company in 1987, when the facility and its goodwill were taken over and the property gutted after consulting with a famous Japanese acoustician/studio builder who declared it "...Unfit acoustically to record music in". When Olympic moved its storage facility that year, an auction house was brought in to liquidate the old building. Barbara Jefferies, then manager for Virgin, had the studio's history dumped into skips on the pavement outside the premises. Hundreds of precious session reels by artists, groups, film companies, and orchestral masters were duly raided and sold at auction for substantial sums, providing a bootleg bonanza. Years later, as CDs and boxed sets became popular and required bonus tracks, many groups had to buy back their own reels from bootleggers, often at a huge mark-up and after years of illicit recordings being released by them.

Of an equal standing to Abbey Road, Olympic is already a place of pilgrimage for many rock fans. In a way, there is something unquestionably sad about it's closure. There's more to a great studio than machinery. There is what "the studio" means to musicians; what it means to the very sound of music; and what a studio brings to the story of music, as a component in a narrative that is shaped as much by myth as it is by reality. Olympic unquestionably shaped the sound of Diamond Dogs and influenced the direction in which David was to follow next in his career.

~ ORIGINAL RCA MAINMAN IN-STORE 38" X 25" CUTOUT STANDEE  ~

Artwork & Sleeve Design :

Initially, Tony Defries had given the role of David's "official photographer" to Mainman's Vice-President Leee Black-Childers. But then in February 1974, David is booked for a photo-shoot in London with photographer Terry O'Neill, for the new album's artwork and promotion. For the session, a trained dog with a handler is hired. Terry recalls: "Unexpectedly the dog suddenly leaped up at me, and Bowie’s expression changed. The harder you work and the more pictures you take, the more decisive moments you capture. It’s all down to experience, being ready for it, anticipating it.

You can view more images from this photo-shoot HERE.

 

~ (ABOVE) O'NEILL'S CONTACT SHEETS FROM THE SESSION ~

 

In the photo-shoot, the hardback book on the floor at David's feet is the novel The Immortal by Walter Ross. It's the British edition published in 1959 by Frederick Muller (ASIN B0000CK6WD):

Sometime after the O'Neill shoot, Mick Jagger tells David he has been working with a Belgian artist called Guy Peellaert to paint the artwork for the then-forthcoming Rolling Stones album It's Only Rock 'n' Roll. Unknown to Jagger, David then contacts Peellhaert and following discussions between the two, samples from the Terry O'Neill photo-shoot (including the one pictured below) are given to Peelhaert to create artwork for the Diamond Dogs album cover:

~ PEELLAERT'S FINISHED COMMISSION FOR THE FRONT GATEFOLD COVER ~


Here is Peellaert's painting made from another one of the O'Neill photos, originally intended for use as the inside gatefold cover:

The following painting is also by Guy Peellaert. Although it isn't included as part of the final cover design for the Diamond Dogs album, it does appear in Peellaert's book Rock Dreams, first published in 1974:

 

~ GUY PEELLAERT WITH DAVID BOWIE ~

 

Designers at Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) complete the design and manufacture of the Diamond Dogs album cover. RCA’s Production Manager, Richard Fiore and his team received the test design, but can't help notice the dog's genitals. He contacts RCA management for approval, which they grant. A batch of these covers are run off, before RCA management cancels the print order. Richard Fiore is contacted and told to airbrush the dogs genitals and remove them. The cancelled print run and the re-design costs RCA thousands.

Here are a number of photographic cells made by Leee Black-Childers. These images will make up the Hunger City photo-montage on the inside gatefold:

Here is the final original size layout from those cells for the redesigned inside gatefold cover:

And the final redesigned and censored outside gatefold cover of the original 1974 vinyl album release:

Cassette Tape & 8-Track Cartridge Releases :

As well as being released on vinyl LP, Diamond Dogs was also simultaneously issued on cassette tape and 8-track cartridge. Due to running time constraints on both audio tape formats, the order of the tracks was changed around to fit the tape sizes, as can be seen in the examples below:

 

~ (ABOVE) COMPACT CASSETTE TAPE COVER FOR THE DIAMOND DOGS ALBUM ~

 

(ABOVE) 8-TRACK CARTRIDGE CARDBOARD OUTER-CASE FOR THE DIAMOND DOGS ALBUM ~

 

~ (ABOVE) FRONT AND REAR 8-TRACK CARTRIDGE LABELS FOR THE DIAMOND DOGS ALBUM ~

Compact Disc Releases :

Diamond Dogs was first released on Compact Disc by RCA in 1985 with censored cover art. The German (for the European market) and Japanese (for the US market) masters were sourced from different tapes and are not identical for each region.

The album was next released on CD by Ryko/EMI in 1990. Dr Toby Mountain at Northeastern Digital, Southborough, Massachusetts, remastered the album from the original master tapes for for this release, with two bonus tracks and the original, uncensored, artwork. 'Future Legend' stops at 1:01 and 'Diamond Dogs' has 6:04 in this release.

In 1999, the album was remastered by Peter Mew at Abbey Road Studios without bonus material, and released on CD in 1999 by EMI/Virgin. It had the same track listing as the 1985 CD release.

In 2004, Diamond Dogs was released as a 30th Anniversary 2CD Edition, which included a remastered version of the 1985 disc. The bonus disc contains eight tracks, some of which had been previously released on CD as bonus tracks of the 1990 Rykodisc/EMI reissues.

 

For evaluation purposes only, you can listen to the Diamond Dogs album HERE in full

Diamond Dogs TV Promo Ads :

In April 1974, Mainman used RCA's Studios in New York to make a short television commercial to promote the Diamond Dogs album. This would be the first time that hairstylist Jac Colello would work with David. The female voice-over on the promo was David's then-Personal Assistant, Cherry Vanilla. Two edits of the promo were made.

 

 ~ DAVID WITH CHERRY VANILLA ON THE FILM SET AT RCA RECORDING STUDIOS  ~
 
 
RCA/Mainman TV promo reel edit #1 for the Diamond Dogs album. May 1974:
 
 
Alternative RCA/Mainman TV promo reel edit #2 for the Diamond Dogs album. May 1974:
 
 
 

~ DAVID ON THE FILM SET AT RCA RECORDING STUDIOS  ~

 You can view more images taken during the filming of this promo HERE

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