Bowie – Chameleon

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David BowieChameleon (1979) mp3

Released on LP and cassette on exclusive Starcall, a New Zealand label owned by RCA, CHAMELEON (1979) ★★★★★ is a funky and hard to find compilation featuring Bowie classics from Ziggy to Lodger.

With its high-gloss laminated cover and quirky artwork, Chameleon is a lopsided affair with Side One featuring a track a-piece from Ziggy, Aladdin Sane and Pin Ups, two from Diamond Dogs (again with ‘1984’, RCA liked that one), and a track from Low, completely skipping over mega-hits Young Americans and Station To Station for reasons that aren’t clear.

Side Two features three tracks from “Heroes” (the inclusion of V-2 Schneider is inspired) and the three singles from side two of Lodger. This NZ chart topper also mercifully sidesteps the likes of The Jean Genie and Rebel Rebel – refreshing for a Bowie compilation from the 1970s.

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It’s a quaint compilation and was my gateway into a world of Bowie material back in the day and proudly sat atop the pile of my collection for quite some time.

Importantly we get the majestic full version of “Heroes”, rather than the brutal single edit; elsewhere Diamond Dogs has an untidy fade-in on the word “genocide”, and sadly Beauty And The Beast’s “Thrill Of It All” intro is cropped.

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The cover artwork comically integrates several previous Bowie eras, and the rear sleeve contains colour drawings from various Bowie guises featuring a track timeline of sorts.

Side 1:
Starman
Aladdin Sane
Sorrow
Diamond Dogs
1984
Breaking Glass

Side 2:
“Heroes”
V-2 Schneider
Beauty And The Beast
Boys Keep Swinging
D.J.
Look Back In Anger

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13 Responses to Bowie – Chameleon

  1. Liam says:

    I remember this release when it came out. A quaint antipodean adjunct to the Bowie canon. But, like everything Bowie at the time, it was super exciting and awe-inspiring nevertheless! Hi-gloss hijinks!

  2. Thanks for reading. I love this compilation!

  3. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    This looks great…the only song missing that I would have is Life On Mars but that is being picky. What a catalog he had…and he was just getting started…I do like his early seventies the best but all of his music is good.

  4. This is an awesome set. I would love to find one of these. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in the wild before. I will keep an eye out. Thanks.

  5. paolomeccano says:

    Thanks for sharing. Side 2 is understandable as a compilation of his recent stuff, but side 1 just seems like a bizarre lucky dip.

  6. It’s a pretty good compilation. I’m more drawn to Bowie during the first half of the ‘70s, so generally favor side 1. That being said, I also dig “Heroes.”

    • I’m into the Eno collaboration albums but also the earlier phases of the remarkable career. I even have time for his much maligned 80s albums. But Chameleon is a lovely snapshot of brilliance. And that cover……

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