The brilliant collection spans jazz, prog, proto-rap and Florence Foster Jenkins.
In 2003, David Bowie compiled a list of his 25 favourite vinyl records for Vanity Fair, a task which he acknowledged “could change your reputation.”
At the time, Bowie told Vinyl of the Day that he put together the list –which includes The Velvet Underground’s 1967 debut, Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians – based on the albums he had re-bought on CD. Some records were so rare that he’d had to burn them to CD himself.
“I have little time, and there are just too many to sort through,” he said of his collection. “So, I’ll keep pulling stuff out blindly, and if it’s too obvious (Sgt. Pepper, Nirvana) I’ll put it back again till I find something more interesting. A lot of the rock stuff I have is the same as everyone else’s, and I have so many blues and R&B albums that it would topple over into trainspotter world if I went that route.”
He continued: “I’d say half of this list below is now on my CD racks, but many are finding impossible to trace. The John Lee Hooker album, for instance, or The Red Flower of Tachai Blossoms Everywhere. I have done the only thing possible and burned them to CD myself, reduced the cover art down to size, and made reasonable simulacrums of the originals.”
The mental image of Bowie cutting and pasting print-outs of album covers onto CD-Rs is quite something.
See the list below and – in case you don’t already own this excellent selection of records on vinyl – listen to a Spotify playlist underneath, via Open Culture.
David Bowie’s 25 favourite vinyl records:
The Last Poets – The Last Poets
Robert Wyatt – Shipbuilding
Little Richard – The Fabulous Little Richard
Steve Reich – Music for 18 Musicians
The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico
John Lee Hooker – Tupelo Blues
Koerner, Ray and Glover – Blues, Rags and Hollers
James Brown – The Apollo Theatre Presents: In Person! The James Brown Show
Linton Kwesi Johnson – Forces of Victory
Various Artists – The Red Flower of Tachai Blossoms Everywhere: Music Played on National Instruments
Daevid Allen – Banana Moon
Cast Album – Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris
Tom Dissevelt – The Electrosoniks: Electronic Music
The Incredible String Band – The 5000 Spirits of the Layers of the Onion
Tucker Zimmerman – Ten Songs by Tucker Zimmerman
Gundula Janowitz – Four Last Songs (Strauss)
Glenn Branca – The Ascension
Syd Barrett – The Madcap Laughs
George Crumb – Black Angels
Toots & The Maytals – Funky Kingston
Harry Partch – Delusion of the Fury
Charles Mingus – Oh Yeah
Igor Stravinsky – Le Sacre du Printemps
The Fugs – The Fugs
Florence Foster Jenkins – The Glory of the Human Voice