Friday, October 19, 1973

David Bowie Pin-Ups released


David Bowie

Released: October 19, 1973

Peak: 23 US, 15 UK, -- CN, 4 AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.1 UK, 3.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: glam rock/classic rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Rosalyn (Duncan/Farley) [2:21]
  2. Here Comes the Night (Berns) [3:09]
  3. I Wish You Would (Arnold) [2:49]
  4. See Emily Play (Barrett) [4:11]
  5. Everything’s Alright (Crouch/Konrad/Stavely/James/Karlson) [2:28]
  6. I Can’t Explain (Townshend) [2:11]
  7. Friday on My Mind (Young/Vanda) [2:56] (21 CL, 36 CO)
  8. Sorrow (Feldman/Goldstein/Gottehrer) [2:53] (9/28/73, 69 CB, 18 CL, 6 CO, 3 UK, 1 AU)
  9. Don’t Bring Me Down (Dee) [2:06]
  10. Shapes of Things (Samwell-Smith/McCarty/Relf) [2:53]
  11. Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere (Townshend/Daltrey) [3:07]
  12. Where Have All the Good Times Gone? (Davies) [2:41]

Total Running Time: 40:30

The Players:

  • David Bowie (vocals, guitar, saxophone, harmonica, Moog synthesizer)
  • Mick Ronson (guitar, piano)
  • Trevor Bolder (bass)
  • Mike Garson (keyboards)
  • Aynsley Dunbar (drums)
  • Ken Fordham (baritone saxophone)
  • G.A. MacCormack (backing vocals)


3.283 out of 5.00 (average of 23 ratings)

About the Album:

After establishing himself as a glam-rock superstar with Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane, David Bowie wanted his next project to be an adaptation of George Orwell’s 1949 novel 1984. Under pressure from his record company to get new product out quicker, he released this stopgap covers album. WK

Over time, the album has been frowned on by critics who echo the sentiment of Rolling Stone’s Greg Shaw: “Although many of the tracks are excellent, none stand up to the originals.” WK As All Music Guide’s Bruce Eder said, “Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane had established Bowie as perhaps the most fiercely original of all England’s glam rockers…so an album of covers didn't make any sense.” AMG

The original idea was to release two albums. The first would focus on 1960s’ British hits and the second would focus on American hits. The second project never surfaced. WK Of the songs that made the cut, Bowie said “these songs are among my favourites from the ’64-’67 period of London.” WK The lead single, Sorrow, was a cover of a song first recorded by the McCoys in 1965. ‘Sorrow,’ which benefited from a new saxophone break, was actually a distinct improvement over the original, managing to be edgier and more elegant all at once.” AMG

“Aside from the Easybeats’ Friday on My Mind and the Yardbirds’Shapes of Things, little here was among the biggest hits of their respective artists’ careers.” AMG “The Who’s I Can't Explain and Anyway Anyhow Anywhere were the only ones whose original versions were easily available or played very often on the radio.” AMG

The album opens with the Pretty Things’ high-energy Bo Diddley homage RosalynAMG followed by “a hard, surging rendition of Them’s version of Bert Berns’ Here Comes the Night, filled with crunchy guitars.” AMGI Wish You Would and ‘Shapes of Things’ were both showcases for Bowie’s and Mick Ronson’s guitars” AMG while Pink Floyd’s See Emily Play “emphasized the punkish (as opposed to the psychedelic) side of the song.” AMG

While Pin-Ups was dismissed as “a quick album of oldies covers to buy some time,” AMG it served its purpose. It “was an artistic statement, of sorts, with some thought behind it” AMG and “marked the swan song for the Spiders From Mars” AMG who’d been so instrumental in establishing Bowie’s sound on Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. This served as “something of an interlude between the first and second phases of his international career; the next, beginning with Diamond Dogs, would be a break from his glam rock phase, going off in new directions. It's not a bad bridge between the two, and it has endured across the decades.” AMG

Notes: Bonus tracks on the 1990 Rykodisc reissue included covers of “Port of Amsterdam” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Growin’ Up.”

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First posted 2/20/2008; last updated 7/30/2021.

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