Q - 11/99, pp.140-15 stars out of 5
- "...all apocalyptic doom and nightmare vision...fueled by cocaine psychosis, Watergate and the three-day week. This slice of literary concept rock has improved with age..."
Uncut - p.1183 stars out of 5
- "[Y]ou could still argue that DOGS was the first bling bling album; a brutally urban, hardcore artefact."
Mojo (Publisher) - 2/02, p.84
"...A melange of rock'n'roll pastiche, Stateside superfunk and outbursts of avant-garde noise...compares well with its more successful, accessible predecessors, ZIGGY and ALADDIN SANE."
Composer: David Bowie.
Personnel: David Bowie (vocals, guitar, saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, Mellotron, Moog synthesizer); David Bowie; Tony Newman (drums); Alan Parker (guitar); Tony Visconti (strings); Mike Garson (piano, keyboards); Aynsley Dunbar (drums).
Audio Mixers: David Bowie; Keith Harwood; Tony Visconti.
Audio Remasterers: Nigel Reeve; Peter Mew.
Audio Remixers: Toby Mountain; Jonathan Wyner.
Recording information: Island Studios, London, England (10/1973-02/1974); Olympic Studio, London, England (10/1973-02/1974); Studio L Ludolf Machineweg, Hilversum, The Netherlands (10/1973-02/1974).
Photographers: Ken Regan; Lee Black Childers.
Arrangers: David Bowie; Tony Visconti.
After George Orwell's widow refused Bowie the right to use 1984 as the title of his forthcoming album, he instead used the novel as a conceptual blueprint for what became DIAMOND DOGS. Accompanied only by keyboardist Mike Garson, bassist Herbie Flowers, and drummers Aynsley Dunbar and Tony Newman, Bowie played guitar, sax, Moog, and Mellotron, in addition to his contributions as vocalist, composer, arranger, and producer of the album. With the Orwellian themes as a loose backdrop, DIAMOND DOGS has much of the apocalyptic sense of future shock that informed ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS.
While the album doesn't have the musical punch or the songwriting strengths of ZIGGY, its gems make it more than worthwhile. The lush strings and dominant wah-wah guitar of "1984" seem like a nod to Isaac Hayes, while Bowie's howls and snarling sax on the title track make it instantly memorable. The glam rock classic "Rebel Rebel," with its edgy guitar riff and strutting 4/4 beat, is the disc's highlight, and one of Bowie's all-time great songs. Amidst the imagery of a gray, totalitarian future, Bowie injected some optimism by including the nostalgic "Rock 'N' Roll With Me," a good time, rootsy number that presaged his next transformation into the blue-eyed soul singer of YOUNG AMERICANS.