All The Mad­men

The Man Who Sold The World, 1970

Classic Rock - - David Bowie -

Mu­si­cally schiz­o­phrenic, All The Mad­men was, as Bowie clar­i­fied in 1971, “writ­ten for my brother and it’s about my brother”. In 1969, Bowie’s half-brother Terry Burns, who’d been an enor­mous for­ma­tive in­flu­ence, in­tro­duc­ing young David to mod­ern jazz and ‘beat’ writer Jack Ker­ouac, was con­fined to South Lon­don’s Cane Hill asy­lum, and his predica­ment marked The Man Who Sold The World. Here Bowie’s nar­ra­tive re­flects on the parallels be­tween the ‘mad’ and the non­con­formist be­fore con­clud­ing that ‘all the mad­men’ are ‘just as sane as me’. Dra­matic, in­tense, full of nag­ging themes, Mad­men, com­plete with its non­sen­si­cal coda, nod­ded to­ward im­mi­nent bril­liance.

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