The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Watch That Man! David Bowie Celebrates 40 Years of “Aladdin Sane” with New Remaster

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David Bowie - Aladdin SaneAs the follow-up to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, David Bowie’s 1973 album Aladdin Sane is sometimes overlooked.  Yet the punningly-titled Aladdin Sane had racked up advance sales of 100,000 units by the day of its release (April 13, 1973), becoming Bowie’s very first U.K. Number One record and spawning two Top 3 singles there (“The Jean Genie” and “Drive-In Saturday”).  Across the pond, Aladdin Sane was the artist’s very first U.S. Top 20 record.  Once again following in the footsteps of Ziggy – in this case, that album’s 40th anniversary remastered edition, released last year – Aladdin will arrive in a newly-remastered edition on April 15, 2013 from the Parlophone Label Group.  (Previously a part of EMI, a condition of Universal’s acquisition of EMI was that Parlophone be divested from Universal.  The label’s future ownership has still not been determined.)  It’s also arriving a little more than one month after Bowie’s long-awaited surprise “comeback” album, The Next Day, due on March 15.

While boasting a fresh remaster by Ray Staff, that 2012 Ziggy eschewed the bonus tracks from all previous editions, presenting simply the original album in its CD release.  (Ziggy was also released on an LP/DVD edition; the audio DVD did contain some additional material in 5.1.)  The new Aladdin Sane follows suit.  Staff, who cut the original LP while at Trident Studios, has remastered it for 2013 at London’s AIR Studios.  As of now, a remastered vinyl edition hasn’t yet been announced, nor has an audio DVD.

So what will you find on the new Aladdin Sane?  Hit the jump!

You’ll get the album’s original 10 tracks as recorded at Trident Studios in London, and RCA’s New York and Nashville studios, between October 6, 1972 and January 24, 1973.  Aladdin Sane would prove to be the final album from Bowie and the Spiders from Mars: Mick Ronson (guitar, piano, backing vocals), Trevor Bolder (bass) and Mick “Woody” Woodmansey (drums).  Mike Garson played piano (including an iconic solo on the title track), Ken Fordham was credited with flute and saxophone, and Bowie himself played guitar, harmonica and sax.  Linda Lewis was among the background singers.  The LP’s diverse palette took in rock, soul, jazz and classical influences, and the line-up includes the fifties-go-futuristic vibe of “Drive-In Saturday,” the sleazy “Cracked Actor,” the ambitious title song and melodramatic “Time,” the driving opener “Watch That Man” and the radio-friendly glam of “The Jean Genie.”  In addition to Bowie’s remarkable set of originals, the album also makes room for a glam-rock makeover of The Rolling Stones’ “Let’s Spend the Night Together.”

The last CD reissue of Aladdin Sane, 2003’s 30th Anniversary Edition from EMI, added ten bonus tracks on a second disc, including live versions, outtakes and single edits.  (The album has also been released in single-CD versions from RCA, Rykodisc and Virgin.  Whew!)  If you’re interested in hearing Ray Staff’s new remaster, you can pick up Aladdin Sane on April 15 on CD and digitally.  (A “Mastered for iTunes” album will be available there.)  We’ll update with a pre-order link as soon as one is active!

David Bowie, Aladdin Sane: 40th Anniversary Edition (RCA Victor LSP-4852 (U.S.), reissued Parlophone, 2013)

  1. Watch That Man
  2. Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?)
  3. Drive-In Saturday
  4. Panic in Detroit
  5. Cracked Actor
  6. Time
  7. The Prettiest Star
  8. Let’s Spend the Night Together
  9. The Jean Genie
  10. Lady Grinning Soul

Written by Joe Marchese

February 4, 2013 at 17:03

Posted in David Bowie, News, Reissues

6 Responses

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  1. Let me get this straight: ten years ago I bought the 2003 remaster, which came with a bonus disc of live and single versions.
    Now I’m supposed to buy a new remaster, which has no bonus whatsoever, just the original album, which I already own in vinyl AND remastered cd.

    Are these people insane? How many times are they going to remaster the same record?
    Of course they’ll say that THIS is the real, final remaster (ten years ago they were just kidding).
    That is, until the 50th anniversary remaster comes along, when they release the final 360g vinyl, 78 r.p.m. remaster. And that, at last, will be the real thing.


    February 6, 2013 at 03:34

    • YOU SAID IT!!!!!!!!!!!


      February 6, 2013 at 12:36

      • Yes, the reason that record companies reissue albums is to draw attention to their catalogue and spur sales to the general public. By remastering, adding bonus tracks, and the like, they add value and make consumers aware. But the logic of a release like this, where a random (yes, I know it’s the 40th anniversary, but the only people who care about that already own previous reissues and would demand some extras) title is dropped , barebones, on a vast market, is unlikely to make a commercial splash. There’s nothing there to make anyone want it. This is pointless even from an “exploiting the market for every buck” perspective. I already own all the original RCA vinyl and Ryko and EMI deluxe CDs, so they have to offer me some reason to buy. I picked up last year’s Ziggy LP/DVD combo for the bonus material on the DVD. As it turned out, the vinyl was an exceptional mastering and probably beats my minty 70s pressing. But everything I’ve read of last year’s Ziggy CD is that it is nowhere near as good as the vinyl, so this Aladdin Sane CD will probably be the same. Too bad.
        On a more positive note, I’ve read rumours that Visconti and Bowie are remixing Lodger, and if that comes out I really look forward to that.

        Jason Michael

        February 6, 2013 at 15:48

  2. Another ripoff by the big record companies. Pay more, get less. I agree, who’s gonna buy this mess? Especially when you can get used copies with the bonus cuts for probably half the price (or less).

    mark schlesinger

    February 10, 2013 at 21:45

  3. I agree with all of you, however I’m listening to the 30th Anniversary edition right now, and the sound does leave a bit to be desired. On WATCH THAT MAN, the vocals are buried under the rest of the instruments. The rest of the album is better but far from perfect, and Amazon reviews confirm this problem. So if this new edition is a sonic improvement, that’s worth something I suppose. The 30th anniversary ZIGGY was plagued with sound problems that were apparently fixed on the latest reissue. Still, I am tired of all the double- and triple-dipping.

    Eric Levy

    March 7, 2013 at 14:00

  4. Maybe the 50th Anniversary edition will have this new remaster along with the bonus content from the 30th Anniversary edition. It seems inevitable, so I’ll just wait 10 more years.


    April 17, 2013 at 15:31

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