David Bowie Memory Palace [part 14]

This Japanese ad showed who was the star of Tin Machine

This Japanese ad showed who was the star of Tin Machine

1990 [continued]

1990 also brought forth the completely unnecessary po-mo remix of “Fame ’90” as used in both the “Pretty Woman” OST as well as a promo vehicle for the “Sound + Vision” tour. It was something I saw on MTV a few times and tried too put out of my mind. Like any post-modern remix of a classic anyone who had any knowledge of the original song would be hard pressed to bear what had been done to their memories in the name of commerce. I did not purchase a copy!

As 1990 continued, I managed to start buying the individual Rykodisc Bowie DLX RMs, though I did not bite at all of them when released. Truth be told, the better part of a decade passed before I had the full set. I can only evoke Dick Cheney; I had other priorities at the time. The first three passed me by since I had never heard them back in the day. It seems reasonable enough in retrospect. By the summer of 1990, “Ziggy Stardust” hit the bins and I bought a copy the first time that I saw one in a local Peaches outlet. What I didn’t know at the time was that there was a special deluxe edition of that title out in addition to the one I had hastily bought. But the beauty was that inside the artwork, or on the longbox, there was an offer for the special booklet that came with the deluxe version. Indeed, that was what made it the deluxe version – an extensive booklet similar to the one that came with the “Sound + Vision” box. I could buy it mail order for a fiver for I did, and just days later Ryko had shipped that to me along with a free bonus promo CD touting two tracks each from the first three remasters.

Rykodisc | US | CD | 1990 | RCD 10134

Rykodisc | US | CD | 1990 | RCD 10134


This was actually my first ownership for this title as if you’ll recall, I previously had only a tape of a friend’s brother’s LP. The bonus tracks were fine; five additional tracks: An alternate mix of “John I’m Only Dancing,” the B-side “Velvet Goldmine,” a previously unreleased track called “Sweet Head” and two acoustic demos.

Rykodisc | US | CD | 1990 | RCD 10137

Rykodisc | US | CD | 1990 | RCD 10137

By Fall of 1990, “Diamond Dogs” dropped and I was ready and waiting to pick it up. Though I never had this one earlier, what I had heard from it [title, “Rebel Rebel,” “1984”] suggested greatness, and it sure delivered. It’s my personal favorite of his pre-1975 phase. There were two rarities included: the discrete version of “Dodo” not segued into a medley with “1984,” and a radically different version of “Candidate” with twice the album track’s length and very different lyrics.


The next year brought some new Bowie music with the second Tin Machine album; cleverly titled “Tin Machine II.” I can’t say that it made a great impression on me. While I had loved the first one, the second one was a scattershot mix of good and bad ideas and seemingly indifferent execution.

Victory Music | US | CD | 1991 | 314 511 216-2

Victory Music | US | CD | 1991 | 314 511 216-2

“Baby Universal” was a tremendous song of the sort that Bowie had been threatening to unleash with a track like “Time Will Crawl” suggesting it, but this really delivered on the promise inherent int he earlier track. I had bought the import CD singles surrounding the album with multiple editions of “You Belong In Rock + Roll” and “Baby Universal” yielding B-sides, remixes and BBC sessions. I also got the US promo of “Baby Universal” with the extended mix that was only on the UK 12″ vinyl. Elsewhere, “Amlapura” was a gorgeous song. On the other hand, the desecration of my favorite song from “Roxy Music” was manifest with their crass, wrong-headed take of “If There Was Something.” All of the things that people had complained about with the first Tin Machine album came home to roost for me on the second. It was at best, a good EP hiding in there. I still desperately wanted to see them live, though. I was becoming a big fan of Reeves Gabrels avant noise guitar. It reminded me of Fripp.

Next: …Not very Cool

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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1 Response to David Bowie Memory Palace [part 14]

  1. Echorich says:

    I still remember Tin Machine II for how much I disliked about it. In a way you are right Monk, I think even the band read their critics from the debut album and made an album to satisfy those criticisms rather than reform them. The Roxy cover is a real head scratcher…I know Power Station beat Bowie to the punch with a T.Rex cover, but Tin Machine should have been able to make a fair go at something from Bolan’s catalogue rather than attempt to rock out Roxy’s country pastiche.


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