Pin Ups album coverRecorded: 1031 July 1973
Producers: Ken Scott, David Bowie
Engineer: Dennis MacKay

Released: 19 October 1973


David Bowie: vocals, guitar, saxophone, harmonica, Moog synthesizer
Mick Ronson: guitar, vocals
Trevor Bolder: bass guitar
Mike Garson: piano, electric piano, harpsichord, Moog synthesizer
Aynsley Dunbar: drums
Ken Fordham: baritone saxophone
Michel Ripoche: violin
Geoff MacCormack: backing vocals


Perhaps David Bowie’s most overlooked studio album of the 1970s, Pin Ups was a collection of twelve cover versions, mostly by British groups from from the 1960s mod scene.

Pin Ups was Bowie’s final album featuring guitarist Mick Ronson, until 1993’s Black Tie White Noise. It was also his final collaboration with producer Ken Scott.

The album was recorded in the weeks immediately after Bowie’s on-stage retirement of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Although he had publicly broken up the band, Bowie retained Trevor Bolder on bass guitar after his first choice, Cream’s Jack Bruce, was unable to attend the sessions.

Also retained from the previous album and tour were Mike Garson, who added electric piano and harpsichord to his normal piano, and backing singer Geoff MacCormack. Ken Fordham played baritone sax and flute, and Michel Ripoche was drafted in on violin.

The Spiders From Mars had been broken up after the famed Hammersmith Odeon ‘last show ever’ performance and only Mick Ronson and Mike Garson were to be kept on for this recording. Aynsley Dunbar was brought in on drums and there was supposed to be a new bass player, but he pulled out and so Trevor Bolder was brought back into the fold. This led to a slightly less conducive atmosphere than on the last three albums.
Ken Scott, May 2015
Five Years (1969–1973) book

Each of Bowie’s previous albums recorded with Scott – Hunky Dory, The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, and Aladdin Sane – had contained one cover version and a number of Bowie originals. The intention was to reverse the formula on Pin Ups, by including a solitary Bowie song.

It was originally conceived to contain one of David’s songs and the rest covers of songs by English club bands of the Sixties, the opposite of the last three albums, but somehow David’s song never came to fruition. For the covers we would listen to the original records, then a decision was made as to whether to keep close to that arrangement or change it, then work it out and record.
Ken Scott, May 2015
Five Years (1969–1973) book

An early plan was to record a new version of Bowie’s 1966 song ‘The London Boys’, as a series of single-verse snippets to be interspersed between the other songs. This idea never came to pass, and there is no evidence that the song was re-recorded at the sessions.

Published: |