26. David Bowie (1967)
That Is a Fact: Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Mr. David Bowie. The then 19-year-old developed his first LP for Deram records for a Summer ’67 release, and the album was a first pass at appreciation for music hall, British pop like The Kinks and the works of Anthony Newly. The whole thing is kind of a demo for all the sounds Bowie may have been interested in at the time.
Sound and Vision: There’s a funky font choice for the self-titled title on the cover and a bad mod mop-top gives David Bowie perhaps the most uninteresting and dated album cover of Bowie’s career. It’s totally, blandly, straight out of the ‘60s. Still, look at that intense, androgynous stare; he begged for looks.
Someone’s Back in Town: Mike Vernon produced the record, and it was the only time he’d produce for Bowie. He’d later go on to work with the likes of Eric Clapton and Fleetwood Mac, but, like, do you ever wonder if he regrets letting go of Bowie?
Ch-Ch-Changes: Given that this is Bowie’s first album, we’re going to take a pass in this category. All ch-ch-changes occurred after here.
In a Most Peculiar Way: “Please Mr. Gravedigger” is pretty damned weird. And gothic. And macabre. And 16 years before “Thriller” made gallows and ghoulish sounds cool.
After All: David Bowie is an awkward artifact. The album showcase Bowie’s talents and individualism, his ability to flex style and genre as he jumps from pop to rock and back again, and it’s a mild mess. Futurism, cannibalism, goofy sound effects, and other such things show a curious character not yet in control of his conceptual gifts. Yet you can immediately hear Bowie’s will to get nuts and play. A few hits like “We Are Hungry Men” and “Maid of Bond Street” aside, David Bowie the album is not essential, but this Bowie kid showed promise, and the dabbling hints at his future flexibility.