David Bowie – Five Years 1969-1973

Profile photo of ip33 ip33 / Nights In30 Comments


What does it sound like?:

If you don’t know you shouldn’t really be here. But this is Bowie’s first golden period, which already marks him out as special most artists don’t even have one. This box contains the post Anthony Newley albums Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Aladdin Sane, Pin Ups, Live Santa Monica ’72, Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture plus the 2003 Ken Scott mix of Ziggy Stardust and two discs of rarities Re:Call 1

All have been re-mastered in the last few years with Space Oddity, The Man who Sold the World, Hunky Dory and Pinups being new 2015 versions.

They do sound excellent, nice and punchy but not too loud (which seems the way some stuff is re-mastered these days) Space Oddity sounds particularly good to my suspect ears.

The Recall:1 discs are a nice edition to the set, especially as they contain Velvet Goldmine one of his best songs which wasn’t on an album. All the discs come in repro sleeves with any inserts that came with the albums back in the day. And there is a lovely 128pp booklet with new notes from Tony Visconti and Ken Scott, original reviews from NME, Melody Maker and best of all some excellent photos from the time.

What does it all *mean*?

It means that Bowie is up there with Sinatra, Elvis, The Beatles as one of the few artists that define popular music and what it should sound like.

Goes well with…

Anything. Sitting back and remembering when you were excited by the charts and what pop stars would do next.

Might suit people who like…

The highest quality pop music, Bowie has had some dodgy periods but this is nothing short of brilliant. Second only to a few years later and the next box.


30 Comments on “David Bowie – Five Years 1969-1973”

  1. Profile photo of Black Type
    Black Type

    I’m a Bowie obsessive, but doubt that I’ll be getting this, primarily because I’m in my default position of being skint, but secondly because I have almost everything on it from previous reissues and naughty internet downloads. It does look a really desirable package, though.

    1. Profile photo of henpetsgi

      You still listening via mp3 Tigs? Cos if you are, remastered won’t make a blind bit of difference…

      And if anyone is interested in my view (unlikely I admit) Bowie had but one magnificent Golden Period (and truly magnificent it was) and this ain’t it.

        1. Profile photo of Tiggerlion

          I once moaned about Physical Graffiti’s lack of bottom. Apparently, I need very expensive kit to actually hear any. That didn’t seem to be a problem for Led Zeppelin IV but hey-ho.

        2. Profile photo of henpetsgi

          Tigs in the past has said he listens to music mostly via his iPod on a mid-price hifi system. I don’t believe he uses ALAC so unless he has the ears of a bat (always a possibility) all the remastering in the world will go largely unnoticed…

          1. Profile photo of DisappointmentBob

            Yeah. That’s what I suspected you meant. I still don’t know what makes you think that – remastering (any mastering) is mostly about EQ and compression, not format, and of course you can hear those changes on any digital format.

            1. Profile photo of henpetsgi

              Guess what I was trying to say that unless I sit down, clamp on the headphones and really concentrate I find it darn near impossible to spot any remastering differences on mp3s unless they are flac or alac…
              CDs yes, vinyl definitely yes, standard mp3s no.

                1. Profile photo of henpetsgi

                  Just telling you what my ears hear (old tired ears that is).
                  I listen the vast majority of the time via an iPod on a relatively high-end hi-fi. Most of the time I’m cooking or reading or staring idly into space. Unless I place myself in the sweet spot between speakers or put on my headphones (something I do increasingly less) the subtle or even not so subtle nuances of remastering pass over my head. I suspect the vast majority of music is listened to this way although probably not by the majority of saddos (I mean that nicely) on here.

  2. Profile photo of deramdaze

    Seems what you get today is the full monty (see above – £100 plus, collecting dust on a shelf near you) or the hits.
    I want the bit in the middle, in Bowie’s case – the As and Bs from 1964 to 1970 and/or ‘Holy, Holy’.

    Mind, if the poor lad’s going to be lumped in with the sad old Rat Pack, I don’t think I want any of it!

  3. Profile photo of Jackthebiscuit

    Really puzzled by your comment henpetsgi, I think this period was utterly magnificent, a series of albums only bettered by the Beatles IMHO.

    To me, the Berlin trilogy was good, but not a patch on whats on offer here (with the sole exception of the song Heroes).

    As ever, OOAA.

      1. Profile photo of henpetsgi

        It’s all IMHO of course but I never was convinced by Early Bowie. The along came the real Golden Period – which, of course, does not include the ten years from 1984!

  4. Profile photo of DrJ

    Did you buy the CDs or the vinyl, @ip33 ? I’d love to buy the vinyl as I originally bought my Bowie on CD when the RykoDisc reissues came out in the early 90s, and I was a mere teen. 25 years later and I still listen to those CDs, & my liking of DB became a mild obsession after the V&A show in 2013. What’s stopping me? Money!

    1. Profile photo of ip33

      I am a bit of a Luddite so they are on CD! I’ve not got back into vinyl the second time around. My heart says I should but my head and wallet say no!

  5. Profile photo of dai

    Flac files are not mp3s! Listening to them is the same as CDs. You can clearly hear mastering differences on good quality MP3s too.

    I need to stop buying things I already have so will probably pass on this. “Punchy” sound also not necessarily a good thing in my experience.

  6. Profile photo of SixDog

    Probably not the right thread for this but my grotty old Apple Lossless files played through my budget Fiio X1 player on a pair of reasonable Shure earbuds sounds every bit as good as my vinyl played through some Mission speakers on the old faithful SL2.

    Honestly not a sausage of difference. I sometimes think the X1 sounds better but that’s probably because I’m concentrating more with the buds in

  7. Profile photo of fatima Xberg
    fatima Xberg

    I like this box very much – mainly because I could finally throw away those horrible 1999 remasters (shrill sound, badly designed booklets with false information – Rick Wakeman apparently didn’t play keyboards…).

    The covers in the new box are beautiful reproductions with nice details (re-imagined Phillips logo! Textured paper stock!), the discs sound really good (even on an old-fashioned CD player with amplifier set-up, mobile users!), and the accompanying book has lots of stuff to read and look at: vintage album reviews, comments from the producers, single and LP cover sleeve variations, etc.

    The rarities discs finally have both versions of “Holy Holy” correct, plus unnecessary mono versions for those who need that. (Not included are any outtakes – so hold on to your Ryko CDs and Anniversary Editions…)

    Best of all is the mighty racket that is “Aladdin Sane/Pinups” –one of the best double albums that never was, and much better than the vastly overrated “Ziggy”.

    1. Profile photo of dai

      Don’t see how Aladdin Sane and Pin-ups can be considered a double as they were recorded many months apart in completely separate sessions. I also think AS is the weakest album he recorded between Hunky Dory and Lodger. How many versions of it have now been released?

      1. Profile photo of fatima Xberg
        fatima Xberg

        How can it be considered a double? Because I like both immensely, and always listen back to back.
        (I’m not a record company, so don’t care if they were recorded separately.)

        I also think “OK Computer” and “In Rainbows” would be a good double album.

        Meanwhile, back to the “Five Years” set: Proof readers will have a field day here – Ray Davies apparently wrote a “forward” for the box. 😉

  8. Profile photo of ruff-diamond

    I’m rather hoping they do individual vinyl releases of the albums, as I would like to get Hunky Dory and The Man Who Sold The World. As it is, buying the box set would result in too many duplications for me.

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