David Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs”: A darker look into a future legend

Looking back at the iconic and influential 1974 album

David Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs”: A darker look into a future legend

Originally composed for a musical based on the George Orwell’s book “1984”, “Diamond Dogs”, released on May 24, 1974, brought Bowie further away from the (only) 2 years before the release of “The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars”. Now completely separated from his band and with a new group of musicians backing him up, these 2 prolific years in Bowie’s career, would equal maybe 10 in other artist’s career. Although still slightly linked to Ziggy Stardust’s image, this album introduced the character Halloween Jack, which borrowed similar physical features to Ziggy. A darker album than “Aladdin Sane” and with less commercial potential but highly influential. Starting with the opening track, the rocking “Diamond Dogs” that takes the listener on a journey based on the “1984” novel. “Sweet Thing/Candidate”, the Funk/Pre-Disco feeling of “1984” and the roll-back Glam of “Rebel Rebel” mixed in with “Big Brother” and “Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family” turns this into a breakthrough Bowie album and a new boost to his growing career and stardom back then. The iconic artwork on the album cover that shows the Ziggy red-haired Halloween Jack, half man, half dog and remains a reference to pop culture to this day.

All tracks were written by David Bowie, except where noted

Side 1
1 “Future Legend”
2 “Diamond Dogs”
3 “Sweet Thing”
4 “Candidate”
5 “Sweet Thing (Reprise)”
6 “Rebel Rebel”

Side 2
7 “Rock ‘n’ Roll with Me” (Bowie/Warren Peace)
8 “We Are the Dead”
9 “1984”
10 “Big Brother”
11 “Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family”

David Bowie: lead and background vocals; guitars; saxophones; Moog synthesizer; Mellotron
Mike Garson: keyboards
Herbie Flowers: bass guitar
Tony Newman: drums
Aynsley Dunbar: drums
Alan Parker: guitar on “1984”
Earl Slick: guitar on “Rock ‘n’ Roll with Me”

Produced by: David Bowie
Recorded during: January–February 1974 at Olympic Studios and Island Studios, London; Ludolph Studios, Nederhorst den Berg, Netherlands
Released: May 24, 1974
Label: RCA

“Rebel Rebel” Released: 15 February 1974
“Diamond Dogs” Released: 14 June 1974
“1984” Released: July 1974

Strongest tracks:
“Diamond Dogs”, “Sweet Thing”, “Rebel Rebel”, “1984”, “Candidate”

Watch David Bowie performing “Rebel Rebel” as Halloween Jack at the Dutch TV show TopPop in 1974

Listen to the album “Diamond Dogs” on Spotify

Watch more David Bowie related videos


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David Warren

David Warren is editor and author for Pop Expresso reach out at david@popexpresso.com

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