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Ranked: David Bowie Albums

So, folks, should this be the first in a series? Ranking albums by a particular artist? What do you think? Maybe I’ll do it again! First up, it had to be BOWIE. Of course. Who else?

So: I’m ranking what I take to be the THIRTY studio albums by David Bowie. Some people might exclude the Tin Machine albums or the Labyrinth soundtrack, but I think they’re significant enough to count as canon. Okay?

Let’s begin with NUMBER THIRTY…

(IOW, the worst Bowie album!)

Never Let Me Down (1987)

30. Never Let Me Down (1987)

The infamous “Phil Collins” period of Bowie, as some fans call it. “Day-in Day-Out” and “Time Will Crawl” are pretty strong singles, but the overwhelming ’80s production and lack of conviction make this undoubtedly his worst album.


Tin Machine II (1991)

29. Tin Machine II (1991)

I’m one of those bad fans who thinks Bowie’s period of “being in a band” (1989-91) was pretty dull, even if he psychologically benefitted. This, the second TM album, has exposed genitals on its cover—and its contents are, indeed, largely bollocks.


Hours (1999)

28. Hours (1999)

This late ’90s effort almost comes to life in spots, but Bowie seems weary and directionless. I do believe he was struggling to find his muse at this point. Listless and tiresome.


Tonight (1984)

27. Tonight (1984)

“Loving the Alien” and “Blue Jean” are extremely great single cuts, but the lows of this album are truly abominable. Bowie murders the Beach Boys classic “God Only Knows”, and turns Iggy Pop’s “Tonight” into a hideous reggae duet with Tina Turner.


Earthling (1997)

26. Earthling (1997)

You could argue that Bowie dabbling in drum & bass is an interesting experiment. But personally, it isn’t anything I needed to hear. The cover is embarrassing. “I’m Afraid of Americans” (and its video) is excellent, but otherwise a fairly sad exercise.

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The Alligator People (1959)

Note: a follow-up to this post, here is another entry from my Lon Chaney Jr filmog/biog book, Moonlight Shadows, which I’ve worked on occasionally since 2009, and which frankly I shall probably never finish (although I do have 70,000+ words done on it). Anyhow–enjoy! Would you like to see more of these? Let me know.

Alligator People poster

Produced by Jack Leewood for Associated Producers, Inc. Directed by Roy Del Ruth. Screenplay by Orville H Hampton (story by Hampton & Charles O’Neal). Music score by Irving Gertz. Cinematography by Karl Struss. Makeup by Ben Nye & Dick Smith. Special effects by Fred Etcheverry. Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox.

Technical: 2.35:1, black and white, RCA mono. Running time: 74 minutes. Production: April 13 to late April 1959. Release: July 16 1959 (US).

With Beverly Garland, Bruce Bennett, Lon Chaney, George Macready, Frieda Inescort, Richard Crane and Douglas Kennedy.

Using hypnosis, Dr Lorimer (Bruce Bennett) discovers his nurse, Jane Marvin (Beverly Garland), has a troubled past repressed with amnesia. It’s revealed that long ago, her new husband, Paul (Richard Crane), disappeared on their wedding night after receiving a mysterious telegram. He had just told her he’d earlier sustained severe injuries in an accident, from which he seemed to have recovered miraculously. She devotes her time to tracking him down, which leads her to a large estate in the swamplands of the deep South. It turns out he received experimental treatments from Dr Sinclair (George Macready), using extracts from alligators in an attempt to harness reptilian healing powers. This resulted in long-term side-effects.

Lon’s final American horror role of the ’50s came with The Alligator People. Following the success of a certain other cross-species mutation story, The Fly (1958), it was conceived as the B-feature for a double-bill with Fly‘s imaginatively-titled sequel, Return of the Fly. Both were Associated Producers films, in association with & distributed by Fox.

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THUNDER Agents #7 (1966)

I’ve been reading & re-reading a lot of THUNDER Agents tales of late. By way of hopefully starting a trend of longer reviews, this is my thoughts on the seventh issue…

Out of the first eight issues of THUNDER Agents, #7 definitely stands out as the best to me. Is it, perhaps, also the best issue of the entire 20-issue run? It must be in the running.

THUNDER Agents 7 cvr

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The Ring Of The Nibelung (1989-90)

Written by Roy Thomas. Drawn by Gil Kane (w/assist by Alfredo Alcala). Lettered by John Costanza. Coloured by Jim Woodring. Edited by Andrew Helfer. Published in 1989-90 by DC Comics.

Summary: A squarebound, four-issue mini-series adapting Der Ring des Nibelungen, Richard Wagner’s epic musical drama, aka the Ring Cycle, based on Norse Legend and the German epic poem Nibelungenlied.

Read more about Der Ring des Nibelungen on Wikipedia. (Saves me writing a synopsis!)

The Ring has also notably been adapted in comics form, at much greater length and more faithfully to the Wagner source, by P Craig Russell in 2000; and of course, there is the two-part 1924 silent movie by the great Fritz Lang, Die Nibelungen. The Thomas & Kane version is perhaps not so different from their work on various Conan projects—it has an old school adventure comics feel. If you like those books as much as I do, you won’t see that as a drawback.

The Ring Book 1
Epic Kane art from THE RING Book One.

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Hulk #182 (1974)

“Between Hammer and Anvil”


Written by Len Wein. Pencilled & Inked by Herb Trimpe. Lettered by John Costanza. Coloured by Glynis Wein. Edited by Roy Thomas. Published in 1974 by Marvel Comics.

Summary: Stanley Kramer Meets John Steinbeck via the Outer Limits.

Let’s talk about one of my favourite comics. There are a few reasons why this is so: the Hulk was the first comics character I really bonded with, for one thing, and it was by accident. My nan used to buy me random comics when I was a little kid, and one of them was a Marvel UK Hulk book—which I doubt my mom would have ever bought me—and I instantly liked him. I already loved the original King Kong (1933), as well as all the Universal Monsters—I was definitely a Monster Kid. The Hulk was somewhere between Frankenstein’s Monster and Kong… today, I also see a lot of Lennie Small (Of Mice and Men) in him. And I do mean the 1970s Hulk—there are a number of spins on him, but the ’70s one is IMO the best.

Hulk #182 cover

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The Defiant Ones (1958)

In Brief: this is the write-up of The Defiant Ones prepared for the on-off book on Lon Chaney Jr, Moonlight Shadows. Feedback is very welcome!

Defiant Ones Poster

Produced by Stanley Kramer for Lomitas Productions, Inc. Directed by Stanley Kramer. Screenplay by Nedrick Young & Harold Jacob Smith. Music score by Ernest Gold. Cinematography by Sam Leavitt. Edited by Frederic Knudtson. Distributed by United Artists.

Technical: 1.66:1, black and white, Westrex mono. Running time: 96 minutes. Production: late February to early April 1958. Premiere: September 24 1958 (NY).

With Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Charles McGraw, Lon Chaney, King Donovan and Claude Akins.

Two convicts—one white (Tony Curtis), one black (Sidney Poitier)—in a Southern chain gang are being transported in a van when the vehicle crashes. They escape, and what follows is a story of the tensions between the two, being forced to flee cross-country together―mostly through swamplands―until they find a way of breaking the four-foot chain that binds them.

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