David Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ getting 50th anniversary ‘Metrobolist’ reissue
David Bowie's album The Man Who Sold the World, which came out in North America in 1970 and the rest of the world in 1971, was originally titled Metrobolist, an homage to Fritz Lang's Metropolis. The title was changed at the last minute: the original master tapes were labeled "Metrobolist" on the box, but then crossed out. For the album's 50th anniversary, Parlophone Records are reissuing the album with its original Metrobolist title. It comes out on November 6.
This new edition has been remixed by the album's producer, Tony Visconti, except for "After All" which Visconti considered perfect as is (and will be the same version from the 2015 remaster). The artwork, meanwhile, was designed by Mike Weller, who did the original design which Mercury Records found too controversial at the time. (The rest of the world got different cover art in 1971.) The new artwork is "much closer to its original concept." Bowie said in 2000, "Mick Weller devised this kind of very subversive looking cartoon and put in some quite personalised things. The building in the background on the cartoon in fact was the hospital where my half brother had committed himself to. So for me, it had lots of personal resonance about it.”
The press release notes that the gatefold sleeve "also features many images from the infamous Keith MacMillan Mr Fish ‘dress’ shoot at Haddon Hall which would cause so much controversy when one of the shots was used on the cover of the The Man Who Sold The World album in the rest of the world in spring of 1971." Weller explains further: “There is a story concealed in the carpet-scattered playing cards, David has thrown a plain 52 card deck in the air as though “casting the runes” but in a significant break from 60s Tarot divinations such as I Ching etc he casts runes using a four-suit pack and switches man-dress, along with the Court Card of the Future from right hand to left, signifying a new decade and new cultural era.”
The reissue will be pressed on 180 gram black vinyl, but there's also a limited edition of 2020 handwritten numbered copies on white vinyl (# 1 - 1970) and gold vinyl (# 1971 - 2020) that will be "randomly distributed."
Check out the artwork, and listen to the 2015 remaster, below.
In other Bowie news, live album Something in the Air (Paris 1999) was released in August (listen below), and a 45th Anniversary edition of Young Americans is due September 18.
Metrobolist (a.k.a. The Man Who Sold the World):
1. The Width of a Circle
2. All the Madmen
3. Black Country Rock
4. After All
5. Running Gun Blues
6. Saviour Machine
7. She Shook Me Cold
8. The Man Who Sold the World
9. The Supermen