It is the 50th anniversary of the release of David Bowie’s second album, The Man Who Sold the World. To celebrate this landmark, Parlophone have released a new remix of the album by Tony Visconti. David Bowie – Metrobolist was in fact the original title of the album till it was changed at the last minute to The Man Who Sold the World.
David Bowie – Metrobolist also sports a new album cover as well! Historically, The Man Who Sold the World has had several album cover designs at different points of its release history. Famously, there is the one of Bowie reclining in a dress, which was replaced with a photograph of Bowie on stage.
For this release of David Bowie – Metrobolist, the 50th anniversary artwork has been created by Mike Weller who was behind the originally intended album artwork which Mercury refused to release. Bowie himself was on board with a revised art design for a subsequent re-issue of The Man Who Sold the World as he is quoted from 2000 –
“Mick Weller devised this kind of very subversive looking cartoon and put in some quite personalised things. The building in the background on the cartoon in fact was the hospital where my half brother had committed himself to. So for me, it had lots of personal resonance about it.”
Apart from “After All” which Visconti deemed perfect as is, the rest of David Bowie – Metrobolist has been revitalised by this 2020 mix. The album marked the first contributions of guitarist Mick Ronson as musical director of the Bowie sound. Ronson would, of course, continue to do so until 1975’s Young Americans.
Thus, David Bowie – Metrobolist is now significant as Bowie’s own foray into progressive cum psychedelic rock territory with songs like “Width of a Circle”, “All the Madmen” and “The Supermen”.
Of course, the song that appears in most Bowie’s best of collections would be the former titular track of the album – the cinematic “The Man Who Sold the World” and this enhanced version highlights its percussive delights wonderfully.
Time to get acquainted with one of Bowie’s least familiar albums in a fresh new way. No finer time than the present!
… still there’s more …