Single release: Sorrow

David Bowie’s single ‘Sorrow’ was released in the US and UK on 12 October 1973. The single was delayed for two weeks, having originally been scheduled for release on 28 September.

‘Sorrow’ was the only single released from Pinups, Bowie’s seventh studio album.

The song became a major hit for Bowie. It reached number three in the UK, and remained on the chart for 15 weeks. It also became Bowie’s first Australian chart-topper, spending two weeks at number one in February 1974.

The single’s b-side was a cover version of Jacques Brel’s ‘Amsterdam’, which Bowie had performed live since 1968. Some variants of the ‘Sorrow’ single listed the title as ‘Port Of Amsterdam’.

‘Amsterdam’ had been recorded in the summer of 1971, and at one point was to have been the closing track on The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. In releasing the song alongside ‘Sorrow’, it became the only time Bowie released a single with a cover version on both sides.

In France, ‘Amsterdam’ was billed as the lead song on the single, with ‘Sorrow’ on the b-side.

‘Sorrow’ was released in 1973 in the UK, USA, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, El Salvador, France, Germany, Holland, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Mozambique, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay, and Venezuela, and in 1974 in New Zealand and Portugal.

The Spanish edition of the ‘Sorrow’ single had the Aladdin Sane song ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ on the b-side. In Malaysia ‘Sorrow’ was released as the final song on a three-track single, which also featured Wings’ ‘Band On The Run’ and Mud’s ‘Tiger Feet’.

Pinups was released on both sides of the Atlantic on Friday 19 October 1973, with advance sales of 150,000. Aided by the success of ‘Sorrow’, it became an instant best-seller, spending five weeks at number one in the UK – just as Aladdin Sane had done earlier in the year.

Live: Hammersmith Odeon, London – Bowie breaks up the band
Album release: Pinups
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