The release

The precise release date of Diamond Dogs is somewhat unclear. Some sources claim it as 24 April 1974, with others having it as 31 May. However, in 2014 Bowie’s own website put the UK release date at 24 May, citing a contemporary release sheet.

The album was given a $400,000 promotional campaign in America, which included huge billboards in Times Square and Sunset Boulevard, subway posters, adverts in the press, and a made-for-television promo clip.

Diamond Dogs topped the album charts in the United Kingdom and Canada, and peaked at number five in America – Bowie’s highest placing there to date.

Reissues, remixes, remasters

The album was first released on compact disc in 1985 by RCA, and featured censored artwork.

Different masters were used for the German pressing, which was issued in Europe, and Japan, which was sold in America.

Diamond Dogs was remastered ahead of a 1990 reissue by Rykodisc/EMI. This version contained two bonus tracks: ‘Dodo’ and the demo of ‘Candidate’, both of which were previously unreleased.

Looking back in 1990, Bowie said of the Rykodisc reissues:

I find the Ziggy Stardust record very thin. I don’t like the sound on that, it’s much thinner than I always thought it was. It sounded really powerful then; maybe systems have got better, it sounds kind of weedy. I thought Diamond Dogs sounds really good, I like that one, and I’ll always love the Eno/Fripp/Belew stuff.
David Bowie
Q magazine, April 1990

A 1999 edition was remastered by Peter Mew at Abbey Road Studios as part of The David Bowie Series, and contained no bonus tracks.

2004 saw the third and last in a short series of 30th anniversary reissues, following The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars and Aladdin Sane.

This version had a second CD with eight bonus tracks: ‘1984’/’Dodo’; ‘Rebel Rebel’ (single version); ‘Dodo’; ‘Growin’ Up’; ‘Candidate’; ‘Diamond Dogs’ (K-tel edit); ‘Candidate’ (Intimacy mix, 2001); and ‘Rebel Rebel’ (2003 version, from the Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle soundtrack).

Diamond Dogs was remastered once again for 2016’s Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976) box set, and released separately on CD, vinyl, and as a digital download. The book which came with the box set also contained notes and recollections by Tony Visconti.

Diamond Dogs was probably David’s most radical album to date. It was very different from anything he’d done, it was the first self-produced album too. He played almost all the guitar on the album except for the ‘Rebel Rebel’ riff. Between us we conjured up sounds no one had ever heard or used before. It was the beginning of many new recording adventures I shared with my old friend, lasting until the present day.
Tony Visconti, May 2016
Who Can I Be Now? book