Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

7. David BowieAladdin Sane

The Jean Genie (to Rebel Rebel): this is the era where Bowie got to play Ziggy to the hilt. The sequined sleaze of a refined, sparkling mutant translated into Stones-era rock – fuelled by all Bowie’s adolescent longings, finally realised after being distilled by years of frustration at his own inability to achieve success during the era it had all happened.

But this delay gave him a much longer and wider perspective – plus the advantage of a clear field. By the early 70s those bands were beginning to be a little passé – and here was a new era. So in ‘All The Young Dudes’, he dissed the Beatles/Stones axis – casually and deliberately – and found that an entire new generation agreed with him.

Bowie was more than ready, after his long, long dress rehearsal, standing impatiently in the wings, watching and absorbing everyone from the Velvets to Dylan to Jacques Brel. Initially, he’d also had the perfect team – Ronson – a giant of a guitarist and musician, more than capable of realising all Bowie’s visions – a great, workmanlike rock band in the Spiders – and finally he had Visconti, a sympathetic and gifted engineer/producer. So everyone was eager and hungry, in the right place at the right time, and the team was complete. With it – and later alone with Visconti in the making of Diamond Dogs – Bowie made some of the rawest and most satisfying music of the 1960s, ten years too late – but perfectly dressed and bang on time to engage a generation that had heard none of it before.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Michael Head, Barry Adamson, , Billy Bragg, Gary Numan, Alan Wilder
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