Rolling Stone (2/18/71, p.51) - "...a weird and supernatural tone....uniformly excellent....Bowie's music offers an experience that is as intriguing as it is chilling..."
Q (11/99, pp.140-1) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...a robust, sexually charged affair, thanks to a band comprising two-thirds of the future Spiders From Mars, ace guitarist Mick Ronson and drummer Mick 'Woody' Woodmansey, plus a hint of Moog..."
Mojo (Publisher) (2/02, p.84) - "...A robust set that spins with dizzying disorientation....Bowie's armoury was being hastily assembled, though it was never deployed with such thrilling abandon again."
Personnel: David Bowie (vocals, guitar); Freddi Buretti (vocals); Mick Ronson, Mark Carr Prichard, Tim Renwick (guitar); Ralph Mace (Moog synthesizer); Tony Visconti, Trevor Bolder, Herbie Flowers (bass); Mick Woodmansey, John Cambridge (drums).
Producers: Tony Visconti, Herbie Flowers, David Bowie.
Principally recorded at Trident Studios and Advision Studios, London, England.
Personnel: David Bowie (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Mick Ronson (vocals, guitar, Moog synthesizer); Tony Visconti (guitar, piano, electric bass); Ralph Mace (Moog synthesizer); Mick "Woody" Woodmansey (drums).
Recording information: Advision Studios; Trident Studios.
By 1970 David Bowie was already hinting at his talent as a master pop manipulator. "Space Oddity," released in 1969, showed a performer with a keen sense of cultural detail (we had just put a man on the moon), but THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD signaled Bowie's full entry into the rock domain. The album's eclectic pop stylings proved Bowie to be not only a watchful observer, but also a hip modifier of pop music trends.
THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD is a gritty tour through late '60s rockisms. The folky title track is wary and sensitive, while the bombastic "The Supermen" mixes crushing drums and Allman Brothers-esque guitar chimes. "All The Madmen" is Bowie at his vulnerable, evocative best, and "Black Country Rock" stomps along with the best of the White Boy Blues contingent. While it did not yet approach the space-age sci-fi atmosphere of Bowie's future releases, THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD reaffirmed the themes introduced with "Space Oddity" and served as the launching pad for one of rock's most enigmatic and durable performers.