Containing the stunning funk single "Fame," the album felt like a vehicle for Bowie to address one of his favorite topics—pop stardom—from a new angle, at a moment when it seemed likely to destroy him. Note: In light of David Bowie's passing, Pitchfork commissioned reviews of several of his classic albums. In the summer of , as he was traveling across America on his mammoth Diamond Dogs arena-rock tour, David Bowie got deeply into soul music. By July, he was spiking his live sets with covers of the Ohio Players' " Here Today and Gone Tomorrow " and Eddie Floyd's " Knock on Wood ," but he was even more interested in what was happening in dance clubs—particularly the new disco coming out of Philadelphia International Records. Bowie booked a mid-tour recording session at Sigma Sound, the studio where Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff were constructing the sound of Philadelphia. But he wasn't working with Gamble and Huff, or indeed any of the studio's house musicians: He had something else in mind.
He told me that when he grew up in the Fifties and Sixties in London, he loved those black soul groups. He loved Little Richard, he thought he was a god. He was consumed by that music. It was like he was being infused. Before Ziggy stole the world, Bowie was, in essence, following his nose.
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When David Bowie was 15, he underwent his first transformation. Getting into a fight with a friend over a girl they were both interested in, Bowie got socked in his left eye — a punch that scratched his eyeball and paralyzed the muscles that contract the iris. It was that swift jab that gave Bowie his iconic mismatched eyes: with his left eye permanently dilated, it created the illusion that he had different-colored eyes. It gave him an unearthly appearance, like he was a shape-shifter caught in mid-transformation or a body-snatcher who forgot that his victim had a matching set of eyes. Released in , it was his ninth studio album and his first foray into a whole new style and identity. After starting off the decade in deep space as a pansexual alien messiah, Bowie traded in the glitter and Spiders From Mars for slick suits and Philly soul. Cutting the record on breaks during his Diamond Dogs tour at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, the album found recent US transplant Bowie indulging his love for funk and soul music. Bowie saw that future long before Mick Jagger started singing in Central Park after dark and Rod Stewart asked all the sugars to let him know.
Bowie would label the album's sound " plastic soul ". Bowie was among the first English pop musicians of the era to overtly engage with black musical styles. The album was very successful in the US; reaching the Top 10 in the Billboard charts, with the song " Fame " hitting the number-one the same year the album was released. The album has since been reissued multiple times and was remastered in as part of the Who Can I Be Now? David Bowie 's eighth studio album Diamond Dogs was his final album in the glam rock genre. Visconti would go on to co-produce much of Bowie's work for the rest of the decade. In April , Bowie met New York funk guitarist Carlos Alomar who would become Bowie's segway into black American music and, for the next 14 years, act as Bowie's bandleader. According to Buckley, Alomar's substitute guitarist was Nile Rodgers , the future co-founder of the band Chic and later collaborator with Bowie for 's Let's Dance.