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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

DAVID BOWIE

Since his untimely passing just days after releasing his final album in 2016, the music world has been in mourning for David Bowie. Andy Price presents an exhaustive guide to collecting the great man on vinyl…

Bowie, like the latter-era Beatles before him, perceived the album format as the primary creative artefact, with singles being secondary considerations. From the consistent musical vibes of the hard rocking The Man Who Sold The World and foregrounded songwriting of Hunky Dory, to the more narratively driven The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’ sequencing, to the emotive, experimental journey of ‘the Berlin trilogy’ and the outre, ‘hyper-cycle’ of his mid-90s return to the avant garde: 1. Outside – for David Bowie, the full-album experience was king.

Throughout the 1970s, David Bowie released an eclectic yet still critically revered gamut of records at an impressive rate, all of which were explicitly designed and conceived with the vinyl format in mind, since it was pretty much the only way to hear music during the decade.

Often the strengths (and limitations) of the format inspired and shaped the music. This vinyl-orientated approach is best demonstrated by the three records that make up ‘the Berlin trilogy’ – in particular Low and “Heroes” – which were split between songs and evocative instrumentals on Side A and Side B respectively. Bowie takes the listener on a sonic and emotional journey through the various cultures that inhabit pre-unified Berlin. To our ears, when listening on vinyl, these records take on a different, more complete, life compared to other formats.

It’s through listening back to his work on vinyl then, that we choose to remember and celebrate the work of one of popular music’s most iconic figures. In this list, we’ve compiled what we think is the definitive David Bowie collector’s guide. This isn’t based on monetary value per se, but what we regard as each album’s worth musically, in strict descending order.

Tin Machine II 1991

The nadir of the Bowie canon, and never reissued, the second of the ill-fated Tin Machine LPs is quite the worst thing he was ever associated with. The Tin Machine project was an attempt to aggressively eradicate the soft, safe pop persona he’d cultivated throughout the 80s by becoming just a member of a scuzzy garage-rock band. The results were disappointing: generic, clichéd rock lyrics sit among pretty forgettable blues-rock arrangements.

Latest 1991: Victory 828 272-1 £50

Rarest N/A

Tin Machine live Oy Vey, Baby 1992

Here at the bottom of the barrel of Bowie’s work, we’re still in Tin Machine territory. This was an official live album and contains tracks from both LPs. Although a difficult listen, it helps to bear in mind this was Bowie’s way of purging his late-80s creative drought and getting excited about music again, but very few people were even listening: it failed to chart in the UK and the US. Only for the completist and difficult to find on vinyl.

Latest 1992: Victory 828 328-1 (Limited) £60

Rarest N/A

Labyrinth (OST) 1986

Impassioned fans may wince at Bowie’s performance in late-80s kids’ fantasy flick Labyrinth, for many youngsters, tracks such as Magic Dance, Within You and As The World Falls Down would be their first exposure to the great man’s music. Though this OST contains half Bowie compositions and half instrumentals by Trevor Jones, it’s worthy of inclusion just because of how important it is to those people who fell in love with Jareth, The Goblin King.

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About Long Live Vinyl

The David Bowie Vinyl Buyer's Bible is the complete guide to building the ultimate Bowie collection on vinyl. Brought to you by the team behind Long Live Vinyl magazine, this 132-page collector's special features in-depth articles on each of Bowie's 27 studio albums - from his self-titled debut via Ziggy and the Berlin Trilogy to Blackstar. The Buyer's Bible also packs in expert guides to collecting the key albums, written by seasoned record-dealing pros and Bowie fanatics, which will help you spot valuable rarities and priceless curiosities in the minefield that is the second-hand Bowie vinyl market. If that's not enough, you'll find an exhaustive Essential feature, which ranks every one of the great man's albums and our Choice Cuts pieces, in which our collecting experts dig out the rare hidden gems that you need to own. Whether you're a Bowie completist looking to value your precious collection or new to vinyl and seeking advice on how to kick off your Bowie collecting career, everything you need is inside the pages of the David Bowie Vinyl Buyer's Bible.