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David Bowie's Favourite Albums

David Bowie's Favourite Albums

Holly Conquer |

We recently enjoyed reading this Vanity Fair article about David Bowie's favourite albums.

We've featured a few of his favourites below alongside related picks from our own website!

Not all of the records will be available when you're reading this, but we'll link to the artists pages too so you can browse our other options from them.

‘Shipbuilding’, Robert Wyatt

Though not an album, Bowie loved this song as it was ‘heartbreaking’, and ‘reduce strong men to blubbering girlies’. Bowie also claimed that Wyatt’s version of the song was the definitive one, with it having been sung by Elvis Costello and Suede (amongst others) previously.

Pictured: our copy of Shipbuilding by Robert Wyatt on 7".

See also: Elvis Costello, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Suede


‘The Madcap Laughs’, Syd Barrett

Bowie has always credited Syd Barrett as being “the Pink Floyd for us older fans”, with Barrett being a co-founder of the band back in 1965. Bowie’s favourite track from The Madcap Laughs was ‘Dark Globe’ (listen here), which he described as being “gloriously disturbing and poignant all at once”.

Pictured: our copy of See Emily Play, which features on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Pink Floyd's only album to have been made under Barrett's leadership. 

See also: Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett


‘Banana Moon’, Daevid Allen

Bowie has often reflected on Allen’s “huge influence on the more ‘high-minded’ layers of pop’ (accompanied by the previously mentioned Robert Wyatt). Bowie recounts how he was “flabbergasted to hear something that sounds like Brian Ferry and the Spiders from Mars on track one”. He mentions how the pair ended up going their separate ways, with Allen going on to form the Loony Gong, and Wyatt pursuing a solo career, occasionally working with Roxy Music star Brian Eno.

Pictured: Our copy of Banana Moon by Daevid Allen.

See also: Brian Ferry, Brian Eno, Roxy Music, Spiders From Mars

‘The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of an Onion’, The Incredible String Band

One of his selections was their captivating album 'The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of an Onion'. Bowie loved the artwork for this album, as well as its music. He talked about how the colour of the artwork is “all over the place”, and that it was “a real eye dazzler”. He goes on to mention how this album is a “summer-festival must in the 60’s” and that he and T.Rex’s Marc Bolan were huge fans of its Middle Eastern and Celtic folk-mystic style “stands up remarkably well now”.

Pictured: our copy of their album The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter.

See also: The Incredible String Band, Marc Bolan, T. Rex

The Incredible String Band - The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter - LP Vinyl Record

‘The Fabulous Little Richard’, Little Richard

Something of a nostalgic choice from Bowie, he called this album “unusually subdued” and  recollected that the album was sold to him at a discounted rate by an assistant for Medhurst department store’s record section named Jane Greene. Greene then went on to form a friendship with a young David Bowie as he developed his tastes for different music genres in his early teenage years. She would often provide him with new releases to listen to (including this from Little Richard) between the hours after school had finished until the department store closed at 5:30 pm each day.

Pictured: our copy of Little Richard Sings by Little Richard.

‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’, The Velvet Underground

At one point describing them as “the best band in the world”, Bowie was introduced to The Velvet Underground by none other than the band’s then-manager Andy Warhol. Bowie had mentioned how he owned a pressing of the album with “no label, just a sticker with Warhol’s name on it”. Bowie even insisted that he and The Buzz cover the song “I’m Waiting For the Man” as an encore at their last gig before breaking up back in December of 1966.

Pictured: our copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico, which is a 2011 repress. 

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