This is how we all know and recognise David Bowie’s album “The Man Who Sold The World”:
Ah, but things could’ve been very different…
The original 1970 US release of “The Man Who Sold The World” employed a cartoon-like cover drawing by Bowie’s friend Michael J. Weller, featuring a cowboy in front of the Cane Hill mental asylum.
The first UK cover, on which Bowie is seen reclining in a Mr Fish “man’s dress”, was an early indication of his interest in exploiting his androgynous appearance. The dress was designed by British fashion designer Michael Fish, and Bowie also used it in February 1971 on his first promotional tour to the United States, where he wore it during interviews despite the fact that the Americans had no knowledge of the as yet unreleased UK cover.
It has been said that his “bleached blond locks, falling below shoulder level”, were inspired by a Pre-Raphaelite painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
The 1971 German release presented a winged hybrid creature with Bowie’s head and a hand for a body, preparing to flick the Earth away.
The 1972 worldwide reissue by RCA Records used a black-and-white picture of Ziggy Stardust on the sleeve which remained until 1990 when the Rykodisc reissue reinstated the original UK “dress” cover. It also appeared on the 1999 EMI remaster.
“Oh By Jingo!” indeed.