Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74) was recorded on 5 September 1974, at the mid-point of Bowie’s Los Angeles residency. The show first emerged in 1990 on a bootleg release titled Strange Fascination, taped by an audience member.
In October and November 2016 the multitrack tapes were mixed by Tony Visconti at his son Morgan’s Human Studios in New York City, in preparation for an official release. The album was mastered at Air Mastering in London.
The running order of Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74) is similar to the David Live album, released in 1974 and as an expanded edition in 2005. The bulk of songs are from the Diamond Dogs album, with a smaller selection from Aladdin Sane and The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.
There was also ‘Space Oddity’ from David Bowie (1969), and ‘Changes’ from Hunky Dory, and the non-album songs ‘All The Young Dudes’ and ‘Knock On Wood’. Bowie’s new recordings were represented by ‘It’s Gonna Be Me’ and ‘John, I’m Only Dancing (Again)’, although neither song made it onto Young Americans.
The front and inner gatefold sleeve had somewhat blurred photography of Bowie by Jaime Andrews, from the David Bowie Archive.
Superior shots by Terry O’Neill were included on the back cover and on one of the inside panels.
Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74) was first released on 22 April 2017 by Parlophone, for the annual Record Store Day. It was a limited edition of 17,000 copies, 5,000 of which were sold in the UK.
The concert was issued as a triple LP set, with an etching of the Bowie logo on the sixth side. The album was credited simply to Bowie on the front cover, spines and labels, similarly to Pinups and Diamond Dogs.
Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74) was reissued on 16 June 2017 as a double CD set with a 12-page booklet, and as a digital download. The album peaked at number 20 on the official UK charts, and 19 in Ireland.
The project was produced for release by Nigel Reeve and Olivia Thomas for Warner Music, and Aisha Cohen for RZO Music.