The ZIGGY STARDUST Companion

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  PINUPS (1973) 1/2

Album cover photo details

"PINUPS was really my way of shaking off Ziggy completely, while retaining some excitement in the music. It really was treading water, but it happens to be one of my favourite albums. I think there is some terrific stuff on it" - Bowie

"These are all songs which really meant a lot to me then - they're all very dear to me. These are all bands which I used to go and hear play down The Marquee between 1964 and 1967. Each one meant something to me at the time. Its my London of the time" - Bowie (July 1973)

"Ziggy and the Spiders last hurrah...Mick Ronson blasts some of his best guitar work ever, while Bowie croons and wails his way through nuggets" - Musician

"The PINUPS album was a pleasure. And I knew the band [The Spiders From Mars] was over. It was a last farewell to them in a way" - Bowie (September 1974)

"In '73 David Bowie took a creative breather and made an album of favourite songs from the '60s.  The roaring glam-era renditions are, for the most part, exciting and effective" - Entertainment Weekly

"It sounds damn good.  Its tight as a bitch from the bottom up on every cut." - Iggy Pop, Phonograph Record

PINUPS was Bowie's next album (after ALADDIN SANE) and was released on 19 October 1973 with advance orders of over 150,000. Reportedly, Bryan Ferry, who was recording his own album of nostalgia songs called "These Foolish Things", tried to persuade his record company to issue an injunction against Bowie releasing PINUPs first.

A compromise was eventually reached, with both albums being released on the same day. Like ALADDIN SANE, PINUPs also reached #1 in the UK charts (Total weeks=37) and #23 in the US charts (Total weeks=9). The single released from the album was "Sorrow" (Highest UK chart position = #3).

Review of the PINUPS (1973) album - Melody Maker (1973)
Review of the PINUPS (1973) album - Music Scene (1973)
Review of the PINUPS (1973) album - (October 1973)
Review of the PINUPS (1973) album ( October 1973)
Review of the PINUPS (1973) album - Rolling Stone Magazine (1973)
Review of the PINUPS (1973) album - Q Magazine (1990)

Part of Iggy Pop's six page handwritten review of PINUPs, commissioned by Phonograph Record Magazine in 1973. His review refers to his friendships with Bowie, Mick Ronson and James Williamson, their shared love of 1960s groups such as Them, the Pretty Things, Kinks, Pink Floyd, Stones, Who Yardbirds, etc ending with a flourishing "Iggy Pop" signature.

PINUPS was Bowie's last album featuring Mick Ronson as lead guitarist and the last with producer Ken Scott. Bowie used Aynsley Dunbar on drums, instead of Mick Woodmansey (whose services were not required by MainMan) and while originally intending to have Jack Bruce of Cream on bass, retained the services of Trevor Bolder for his last Bowie album when Bruce could not make the recording sessions. Mike Garson, Ken Fordham and Geoffrey MacCormack made up the remaining musicians.

Leaving Victoria Station for France to record PINUPs (9 July 1973)

The recording sessions were carried out from 10th to late July 1973 at the George Sands studio of the Chateau d'Herouville in France.  The Chateau studios had been recommended to Bowie by Marc Bolan (he had recorded his The Slider album there). Later Mick Ronson's Slaughter on 10th Avenue would be recorded at this location and the Chateau itself was forever immortalised in the title of Elton John's album Honky Chateau.

"A lovely place to record an album. Warm, summer sunshine,
a lovely chateau and a fantastic sixteen-track recording studio."
- Bowie

Recording at the Chateau was interwoven with interviews with numerous journalists keen to find out Bowie's next move and included a Daily Mirror fashion shoot of David and Angie and an album cover session with Twiggy.  On 14 July 1973 a Kid Jenson interview with Bowie at the Chateau was broadcast on Radio Luxembourg. Various recordings were worked on by Bowie and musicians: namely material for PINUPs, surplus material intended for an unreleased American version of PINUPs, an early working of DIAMOND DOGS and backing tracks for Lulu's 1974 single of Bowie material "The Man Who Sold The World/Watch That Man". In late July David, Angie, Zowie and friends left the Chateau for Rome for a holiday. 

David Bowie recording at the Chateau d'Herouville, France.

"I HAD SEEN David record before, but during Pin Ups I got to observe him up close for a full week.  It was a fascinating experience.   David obviously thrived on the whole process. He was probably at his most relaxed in a recording studio and was always very cheerful.  He generated a very positive atmosphere.  It was all 'up.'  David encouraged and fed off everyone's creative input and was never too insecure to surrender control. He would give Mick Ronson and Ken Scott (the engineer / co-producer) the general direction and then got out of the way.   He always seemed to love the results.  Part of Bowie's unique talent was his ability to charm and focus others into doing exactly what he needed.   A man of great natural charisma, he inspired others to do their best work.   [David Bowie] 'I enjoy working with the people I work with.  I want them to have fun too.   I feed off their enthusiasm and they feed off mine.'" - Mick Rock on the PINUPs recording sessions.

David Bowie recording at the Chateau d'Herouville, France.

David Bowie recording at the Chateau d'Herouville, France.

David Bowie and Lulu publicity photos.

One song whose lyrics managed to slip both the censors and critic's attention is "Friday on My Mind" (see lyrics below) - a close listen to the backing vocals shows lots of naughtiness going on there.

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---This page last modified: 06 Jul 2002---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)