David Bowie’s seminal The Man Who Sold The World album is getting the 50th-anniversary treatment and will be released under its originally intended title, Metrobolist, on Nov. 6 on Parlophone Records.
As with the Space Oddity 50th anniversary vinyl, as well as a 180g black vinyl edition, it will come in 2020 limited edition handwritten numbered copies on gold vinyl (numbers 1971 through 2020) and on white vinyl (numbers 1 through 1970) all randomly distributed.
The 2020 re-release of the album under its Metrobolist moniker has been remixed by original producer Tony Visconti, with the exception of the track “After All,” which Visconti considered perfect as is and is featured in its 2015 remaster incarnation.
Bowie personally delivered the Metrobolist concept and his gate-fold plan to the record company for production, and this 50th Anniversary Edition is artistically close to what he originally intended.
The sleeve image is by Mike Weller and the gate-fold sleeve features images from the Keith MacMillan Mr Fish “dress” shoot that was the cover of The Man Who Sold The World outside the U.S.
In 2000, Bowie discussed the artwork: “Mick Weller devised this kind of very subversive looking cartoon and put in some quite personalized things. The building in the background on the cartoon in fact was the hospital where my half brother had committed himself to. So for me, it had lots of personal resonance about it.”
As Weller explains, for the 50th anniversary, the 1970 story of the gate-fold sleeve can be told in full with unused “dress” photos. “There is a story concealed in the carpet-scattered playing cards, David has thrown a plain 52 card deck in the air as though ‘casting the runes’ but in a significant break from 60s Tarot divinations such as I Ching etc he casts runes using a four-suit pack and switches man-dress, along with the Court Card of the Future from right hand to left, signifying a new decade and new cultural era.”
The Man Who Sold the World marked the beginning of a collaboration with guitarist Mick Ronson that would last through classic works including Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane—as well as the first in a 10-year series of indispensable albums up to 1980’s Scary Monsters.
Check out the full Metrobolist tracklisting below:
“The Width of a Circle”
“All the Madmen”
“Black Country Rock”
“Running Gun Blues”
“She Shook Me Cold”
“The Man Who Sold the World”