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Saturday, 14 January 2017

Rewind: Low - David Bowie (1977)

 Low - David Bowie
RCA Victor
Produced by David Bowie and Tony Visconti
Released 14th January 1977
UK Chart #2
US Chart #11

Side 1

Side 2

Singles on Low
(German Picture Sleeve)

11th February 1977
UK Chart #3
US Chart #69

(Dutch Picture Sleeve)

17th June 1977
Did Not Chart

*Was the first single from Bowie since Changes in 1972 not to chart

Prior to working on the Low album in 1976 David Bowie had been working on Iggy Pop's debut solo album The Idiot (that would be released in March 1977). Bowie and Pop had co-written most of the songs for the album and Bowie had produced it. Iggy turns up on What In The World on backing vocals on the Low album.

The album was recorded between studios in France and West Germany (as it was then) and is more commonly regarded as the first of The Berlin Trilogy ("Heroes" and Lodger being the other two) that featured Bowie's work alongside Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti.

Although released to very mixed reviews the album has gone on to be thought of quite highly. There seems to have been a real split between those who preferred Side 1 and slated Side 2 and those who despite the puzzlement regarding Side 2 found something charming about it. John Rockwell of The New York Times wrote about Side 2 that, "There are hardly any vocals, and what there are mostly mindless doggerel heard from afar. And the instrumentals are strange and spacey. Nevertheless, the whole thing strikes this listener as remarkably, alluringly beautiful".

Low appears on a number of critics' "best album" lists. Pitchfork placed it at #1 on the website's "Top 100 Albums of the 1970s". In 2000 Q placed it at #14 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked #249 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In a retrospective review, The Rolling Stone Album Guide states "it's the music of an overstimulated mind in an exhausted body... sashays through some serious emotional wreckage". Philip Glass based his 1992 classical composition Low Symphony on Low, with Bowie and Eno both influencing the work. In 2013, NME listed the album as the 14th Greatest of All Time.

I actually really liked the album when it came out, and still do, though I think the album does seem to make better sense (especially the more instrumental Side 2)
when you listen to "Heroes" alongside it.
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