Book Musik 020 – David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs (33 1/3) by Glenn Hendler

David Bowie's Diamond Dogs 33 1/3 by Glenn HendlerTosh and Kimley discuss David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs by Glenn Hendler from the 33 1/3 series. Diamond Dogs is frequently considered one of Bowie’s best albums by critics and fans alike. It’s an album that was stitched together from the detritus of a failed 1984 project and his reading of William Burroughs’ Wild Boys which impelled Bowie to use the cut-up technique in his lyric writing. Bowie’s cryptic lyrics are ripe for the kind of OCD examination that the 33 1/3 series allows. And given our current virus-laden era of social distancing and big brother-like policies emanating from the powers that be worldwide, this feels like an album for our time.

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Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17

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  1. Hey–I’m the author of the book you’re talking about here, but somehow i only just heard this. totally enjoyed it!

    When you started talking about the mistake in the book, I thought you were going to point out that the line before this one ended with “paralyzed,” not “paradise”–that was definitely a mistake I made in the very same paragraph you mention. But I have to insist that i’m right about “sable-ized.” Some online lyric sheets make it “stabiliized,” but most listeners (and lots of online writing) have that word “sableized.” I definitely do not hear a ‘t’ in there. The Bowie Wonderworld site has a page devoted to misheard lyrics ( and they list about ten different mishearings of this word (civiized, sterilized, stable lies, stable eyes, staple lies and stabilized)…but they say the right one is “sableized.” I believe them!

    So, yes, your point about Sable Starr does potentially apply–it’s one of several possible meanings of the word. I thought of that and just decided not to go there. Partly because there’s a recurring theme in the book (and on the album) about race, and another about turning into animals, and so those meanings of “sable-ized” seemed to fit. And partly because there’s a whole online discourse about Bowie being a pedophile because he slept with Sable Starr (who was 14 or 15 at the time), and I just didn’t want to enter into that discussion at all.

    Anyway, thanks for reading the book carefully and insightfully! It was a pleasure to listen to, and I’m sorry I missed it when it happened. Also–I love the graphic you made of the book and the album. Do you mind if I use it?

    • Hey Glenn! Such a pleasure to get an author comment! Of course this is exactly the kind of stuff about Bowie that we love to discuss. We’ll never know for sure what he was up to but it’s a lot of fun trying to figure it out. It’s why we love him so much. And thank you for such a fun, interesting and insightful book. Obviously we loved talking about it. And for sure you can use the graphic – note that it’s the uncensored version of the album cover!

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