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1970 - "The Man Who Sold The World" (AUS/NZ)

1. The Width Of A Circle
2. All The Madmen
3. Black Country Rock
4. After All
5. Running Gun Blues
6. Saviour Machine
7. She Shook Me Cold
8. The Man Who Sold The World
9. The Supermen

In 1971, Mercury (actually a subsidiary of Philips) issued Bowie's third studio album - The Man Who Sold The World.

Australia was the only country aside from the UK to get the rare and valuable 'dress sleeve'.

As indicated by 1995 issue of Record Collector, this version is even more valuable than the UK - and by a considerable amount. Even back then, they valued a mint copy almost $1000 AU.

Comparative values according to the January 1995 issue of Record Collector. The Australian version is identifiable by the red Mercury labels and the words 'Printed in Australia' on the rear sleeve.


But was there really an Australian dress sleeve? Here is BDU's Bruce Butler's in response to a query we recieved:

  "Hi, I've owned two Australian MWSTW dress covers and one UK copy over the years. I no longer have them and photos don't show much detail but I can say that it was manufactured in Australia (not imported), probably (based on my experience working in major record companies) only about 500 copies would have been made and a maximum of about 1,000. A fair number of these copies would have gone to radio stations and press reviewers although I never found a promotional copy in my years of looking in radio station libraries or found anyone in the media or industry who had one, there must have been at least a few. These may have had white labels which was common practice then rather than promotional stickers or stamps.

Apart from the different colour label, the "Printed in Australia" and copyright details on the back cover that were mentioned, the Australian cover was also (very slightly) smaller than the UK edition which was the same for all albums as we used a slightly different standard size to the UK and US. The catalogue numbers on the spine, back cover and label would also have been different to the UK.

From memory I think the Australian cover was was plain cardboard rather than the textured board used in the UK but I may be wrong. The inner sleeve was plastic on the Australian disc rather than a paper sleeve. This again was standard in Australia. Otherwise it was exactly the same and there were absolutely no pirate/bootleg copies of the Australian pressing.

~ Bruce Butler

Australian BDU member John Larkin has also explored some of the visual differences on his website with the use of scans of the different international editions:

"Below is the official Australian issue of the MWSTW on the Mercury label. It had an album sleeve quite similar to the UK edition except that they very sloppily added a reference to its origin on the rear of the sleeve..."

~ John Larkin

"The labels are quite different..."

'Holy Holy'

In the perceived absence of a clear single, 'Holy Holy' was recorded after the completion of The Man Who Sold The World and issued as a 7 inch single. Like overseas, it sold poorly and failed to chart.

Australian issue of 'Holy Holy'.
1971 Mercury label backed by 'Black Country Rock'. Scan sent in by Anthony.

Around this time, Bowie and his wife Angela became friends with noted Aussie journalist and author Lillian Roxon. She was a major champion of Bowie's music as he tried to break into in America.




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