David Bowie’s a weird dude, to say the very least you could about the guy. He created an alternate androgynous personality, reinvented himself several times over and was rumored to have slept with Mick Jagger. David Bowie was a weird guy, but the ’70’s themselves were just as strange.
But I recently came across Bowie’s self-titled debut which came out June 1, 1967–the same day as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hears Club Band–and was a huge commercial failure. The self-titled is vastly different from his later works as it is straightforward ’60’s English pop. It’s got overblown string arrangements, strange tales of other people’s lives and is wholly far-and-away from reality. Honestly, if it weren’t for Bowie’s distinct voice, the album could easily be a Kinks album. Despite being so different from his later stuff, David Bowie still contains Bowie’s mark. The story-songs here are fleshed out into an album in Ziggy Stardust… and he uses a chipmunk effect on his voice in the single “The Laughing Gnome” that he’d later use on “Fame,” one of his signature songs.
It’s interesting to see an artist still so obviously working himself out, and though it would be two years until Space Oddity, the growth shown by hearing his jumping-off point is significant and, a the very least, interesting. Some of the songs are pretty solid pop songs, too. Check ’em out.