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Tin Machine / ‘Nine Track Compilation’

Watch Julien Temple’s promo film created for the album release

Thirty years ago yesterday, David Bowie‘s rock band ‘project’ Tin Machine entered the UK singles chart with their first single, Under The God. The song peaked in its first week with a lowly chart placing of number 51.

If that sounds surprising, consider the fact that the album had already been available for a month and that none of the single’s FIVE formats (7″, 10″, 12″, CD single and cassette) contained ANY new music (a 12-minute audio interview was the only exclusive). Also, people were busy enjoying feel-good fare of Soul II Soul and The Beautiful South arond this time and perhaps didn’t want to hear about “Right wing dicks in their boiler suits” from a newly hirsute Mr Bowie!

To help with promotion, Julien Temple filmed nine ‘riotous performances’ of songs from the record at the downtown New York City rock club The Ritz. Clips of this were shown on various TV stations around the globe (I remember watching it on BBC 2)  but the full film has never been properly released until it was made available on YouTube a few weeks back to mark the album’s 30th birthday.

EMI would release two further singles in the UK from Tin Machine’s debut, but neither troubled the top 40. Only You Belong In Rock ‘n’ Roll from 1991’s Tin Machine II managed this feat, peaking at number 33 in late summer of that same year.

Tin Machine is a great album and I’d highly recommend it. It’s out of print on vinyl but the 1999 remastered CD is still readily available. Tin Machine II is out of print on both CD and vinyl. Enjoy the video below.

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1. Heaven’s in Here 6:01
2. Tin Machine 3:34
3. Prisoner of Love 4:50
4. Crack City 4:36
5. I Can’t Read 4:54
6. Under the God 4:06
7. Amazing 3:06
8. Working Class Hero 4:38
9. Bus Stop 1:41
10. Pretty Thing 4:39
11. Video Crime 3:52
12. Run 3:20
13. Sacrifice Yourself 2:08
14. Baby Can Dance

62 responses to Tin Machine / ‘Nine Track Compilation’

  1. Wayne Klein says:

    The 1999 remaster is awful sounding.

  2. lmagnifico says:

    Hello Paul,

    Will there be (and that’s a little the purpose of this album) Tin Machine’s albums in the next Bowie box ?

  3. Michael says:

    I saw Tin Machine at Newport Leisure Centre, queued from 6am and arrived at the box office at midday.
    People behind me were turned away
    On the day of the gig the first programmes were signed by the whole band, bought 2
    Superb gig.
    Went to London Brixton Academy as well, loved the music and such an amazing time to see David Bowie enjoying and energised by the music

  4. Brad Breault says:

    Hello all, count me one of the fans of the Tin Machine albums (I even still have my little bootleg silver ‘fuck you I love tin machine button), sadly never got to see that band live. I’m guessing since there are 4 different artists/managers/publishers involved with TM, would a reissue of that material have to be released seperately from material released under Bowie’s name only? Just thinking there may be old contractual stipulations or publishing controls that currently keep that music out of circulation. It would certainly make sense to do a smaller box set of just the TM catalog, probably 3-4 CD’s and a DVD of any live material that was filmed, keep it all in one place for future posterity…..fingers crossed.

    • Punk Anderson says:

      As far as I know, Tin Machine I is safely aligned with all the stuff in Loving the Alien when it comes to ownership, while the rights to Tin Machine II, the live album and unreleased music are anyone’s guess. Still this did not prevent three tracks from TMII appearing on the Sound + Vision reissue, which would not only indicate that while the album is out of print and impossible to stream, these rights may still available at the right price – and also that Bowie and his people definitely considered them part of the Bowie canon. I suspect they still do.

      Which would definitely make the reissue programme a lot easier to manage, as a full box featuring two mostly unloved studio albums, a widely reviled live album, and 8 or 9 discs of miscellaneous Tin Machine stuff would make little commercial sense. How many people would earnestly spend £90 on that, or near double that sum for vinyl? I know one guy who wouldn’t, at least.

      A smaller dedicated Tin Machine box would be needed, but I’d say it would make loads more sense to see and re-evaluate Tin Machine as another part of Bowie’s by now erratic career, just like his Sound & Vision tour, and the artistic reboot needed to return with the uneven but promising Black Tie White Noise and the unexpectedly excellent Buddha of Suburbia, both included here.

      This would keep the career-spanning series going, and have the Bowie name present and correct for casual buyers. Some rare TM could very well be thrown in for the hardcores among us. And someone could have a go at remixing BtWN, as is the habit. Some of it does sound very dated.

      And a name for the whole thing? Heaven’s In Here if there’s a sense of irony at work …. or A Big Hurt if that sense is massive! But I’d go with It’s My Life, after the 1991 tour. Seems somehow to signal an artist returning to his out-there way of working.

  5. Brian says:

    Can the internet handle the number of comments that will be on this website if the next Bowie box doesn’t have the Tin Machine material ?

  6. Chris S says:

    Amazon Canada shows a 13 song track list, while France & UK shows 14 and the US shows 15.

  7. GTR says:

    Not much of a Bowie fan but I really like Tin Machine. “You belong in rock and roll” is easily my favourite track by him! Love it.

  8. Gisabun says:

    The TM albums, live stuff and other stuff should be on a box set of its own. It is after all not Bowie solo. Since it was short lived, make an exception and include a couple of DVDs [or BRs].

  9. mike says:

    Yep, big fan of TM, less so of TM2, but certainly better than the albums around it. Prisoner of Love and Tin Machine CDS are quite pricey now, less so Under The God for reasons Paul said.

  10. Kevin Galliford says:

    I love it, it’s a brilliant album & ultimately responsible for Bowie getting his mojo back after 3-4 years of chaff. The Sales brothers & Reeves Gabriels also deserve some of the acclaim too for bringing musical swagger to proceedings. I don’t know what went wrong though cos the second album was’nt a patch on the debut.

  11. Brian Smith says:

    defiinitely polarised views here. I love them.

  12. Well, I am for sure a grande Bowie fan, and I think Tin Machine is Bowie for sure. But to my ears they were bad, or, really not good. Ranked the albums last of all Bowie albums in my latest ranking, below albums like Never let me down, Earthling, Pin ups and Tonight down there in the bottom. I am amazed that so many people here like TM that much. How curious. It’s wonderful! :)

  13. AndreasL says:

    Bowie simply taking the piss. Gotta love his sense of humour.

  14. Art says:

    I’ll be digging my cd from the vault.
    Enjoyed this disc very much back in the day !

  15. Jurg says:

    Tin Machine has released an instrumental track “Needles On The Beach” on the surf compilation Beyond The Beach in 1994. It was previously unreleased until then and written by Reeves Gabrels. I have this compilation and it sounds really nice. It’s the only TM song I have in my collection.

    • Aaron says:

      I’ve never heard of this track…I thought I had every Bowie song ever too…you learn something new every day! Thanks for this!

      • Chris Brown says:

        I think the only Tin Machine track I actually own is the version of Go Now from the Ruby Trax album. Although I also have David Bowie’s solo re-recording of I Can’t Read.

  16. The unspeakable “Stateside” aside, Tin Machine II was a blast in concert and on record. If “Goodbye Mr Ed” isn’t in your list of Bowie favourites, you’re a nincompoop.

  17. Mark Reed says:

    If we’re going to speculate on a potential new Bowie box set, each previous set has a ‘unreleased’ album in, and for the 1989-1997 era, that would have to be the Leon Sessions from 1994.

    • Cornelius says:

      I’d be very happy to see a box set of ‘Outside’ and the Leon Sessions. I love David Bowie’s music. Out of all the great albums i’ve played Outside the most. So, i guess it’s my favourite Bowie album.

  18. John Murray says:

    I saw Tin Machine play at Rock City in Nottingham – a superb gig.

    I’ve never really understood how otherwise ‘completist’ Bowie fans like to pile on to slag off this era. I’ve always enjoyed Reeves Gabrel’s guitar playing – he goes from strength to strength with The Cure.

    Give me any of the TM albums over some of DB’s dismal 80’s solo output anytime!

  19. Kevin M says:

    I liked a lot of both the Tin Machine studio albums, but wish I’d never seen them live. I was pleased as punch getting a free advance ticket to the gig which later sold out in minutes, but the gig for me was a sneery, messy, cock-rock thing and I left early in sadness and went a bit cold on db for a couple of years until the hypnotic, unexpected and rather moving Buddha of Suburbia album came out, and sucked me back in.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I’ll say it… you left early from a Bowie gig?!

    • Tcf says:

      Me too. Went to see TM in Cologne and left earlier to watch Football on TV. Didn‘t like it all and was very disappointed. Too much „Schweinerock“ as we call it in Germany.

  20. Dean says:

    Tin Machine were fantastic. Saw them live in Washington, DC. Amazing show – in fact, of the three times I saw Bowie, the TM show was the best.

    Of course, Tin Machine will be in the next box.

  21. Alan says:

    Tin Machine was just Bowie in a new costume, I don’t know why people are so divided on the subject, yes you can either like or dislike it based on the music, but don’t write it off because “It’s not David Bowie”, it is more David Bowie than some of his “solo” albums. He put more effort into this than Tonight, Let’s Dance or even The Man Who Sold The World. The lyrics are all his, just stripped for the most part of all the cryptic imagery.

    Of the two albums, the first is the most “band” orientated and cohesive, although I think the second has some of the better songs. It is a shame that in the middle of Tin Machine, Bowie had to put his solo hat back on and kill the momentum of the band by doing the disappointing Sound and Vision Tour. The second album could have come out in 1990.

  22. Ian says:

    Just out of interest – is the 1999 remastered CD mentioned in the article part of the execrable Bowie reissue campaign from that year (with Peter Mew at the helm)?

  23. Michael Chapman says:

    What did I miss? Header says 9 track comp
    then tracklist shows TM 16 tracks.
    Confused very quickly…

  24. Aaron says:

    It was July 19th last year when SDE announced Loving The Alien… we are almost there folks! Won’t be long now until we all know what’ll be included.

    I for one am super excited!!

    • Marco says:

      My guess is that it will go from 1989 to 1997, including the three Tin Machine albums (two studio and one live), the albums Black Tie White Noise, Outside and Earthling (maybe one of them will be in two different mixes as they usually do in these boxed sets), the soundtrack to The Buddha Of Suburbia, the Earthling In The City EP and a new volume of Re:Call…maybe with an unreleased live album (this Tin Machine nine track compilation in audio?).
      Box title? Strangers When We Meet.

  25. Eric says:

    I thought it was a great record… I have both the CD and vinyl … was fortunate enough to see Tin Machine at the Warfield theater in San Francisco.

  26. Aaron says:

    Both great albums… and the live one is not bad either. All the live b-sides were also great. Never got the hate for this period. TMII has some of his best 80s stuff, could well be his best 80s album…

    Will take a TM box set or include in the next big box, I’m easy either way…

  27. Dave says:

    I know I am going to get razzed for this- but I never “got” Tin Machine. Previously Bowie had always had great songs, great melodies, wether he was being pop or rock or just difficult- the music had spark. TM’s stuff just seemed flat. It was as if he and the guys said “if we play it loud and rock it out enough, the songs won’t matter.” And I think people, the fans, the public,could sense this- maybe this is why the albums failed to sell very well. imho. [to add- the fact that post TM Bowie releases were much better makes me thing that Bowie was not entirely to blame for TM’s dullness).

    • Steven Campbell says:

      Have to agree with you Dave, was never a fan of TM and never will be and the retrospective video synopsis we saw in the link above further reminded me of how rubbish they were and I am a massive fan of David Bowie though not necessarily all of his stuff I should add.

      • HalloweenJack says:

        Fully agree with Dave and Steven Campbell.

        • Erik says:

          So happy to read these. Never got into TM at the time, thinking they were just loud & very un-melodic and was wondering if I just missed something seeing others wax on about how wonderful it was. Listening again, my opinion has not changed but also think David Bowie’s work after it was some of the best of his career.

  28. Steve W says:

    It is definitely going to be Tin Machine in the next boxset. Want to know how I know ? – because I’ve FINALLY bought the live album Oy Vey Baby after years of waiting for it to be cheap enough. God hates me. :(

  29. Duane says:

    I fucking loved this band!
    Have the first two releases on vinyl and the live cd. Can’t wait for them to be remastered and re-issued.

  30. Paul Kent says:

    I may be alone in thinking TMII was the better of the 2 albums – Shopping For Girls, Betty Wrong and Goodbye Mr. Ed are all right up there with his best, imo. Just hoping TM will feature in the next box.

  31. Auntie Sabtina says:

    4 mins 57 runtime for Baby Can Dance eh?

  32. Elizabeth Hirst says:

    Hoping that the Tin Machine albums will be in the next Bowie mega-box. I played the cover of Working Class Hero to death back in the day.

  33. Tim-Meh says:

    At the time I was more impressed that Harley Flanagan from the Cro-Mags featured in the Under The Gun video and was pretty much of the impression that Bowie had lost his mojo. These days, I reckon it’s his best album of the 80s by a country mile

  34. Tim Abbott says:

    There seems to be a ramp-up of Tin Machine-related promo going on right now, which is funny as the next big Bowie box covers the time period of Tin Machine, but there’s been no indication whether it’ll be included. Maybe this increased promo is a subtle hint that we’ll be getting a standalone TM box set alongside the regular solo album box?

  35. Wayne C says:

    Absolutely love this album, I remember queuing overnight to get tickets to see them (think it may have been Sheffield can’t remember exactly) we got to 10 from the door and all the tickets had been sold. Biggest queue I’ve ever stood in and if my memory is correct it was a really small venue. I’m sure someone here will remember exactly where it was. Still have the vinyl of this and love “ I can’t read” which was always a favourite back in the day!!.

    • Wayne C says:

      After checking the Bowie Tin Machine tour dates, it was Bradford St George’s Hall 30 years ago. One and only time I’ve queued so long and didn’t get a sniff of tickets!!. I remember the queue was absolutely massive (the influence of Bowie being the frontman pure and simple). Hope these albums are in box set number 5.

      • Howie says:

        I was just about to say was it Bradford? I also did an overnight there but was lucky enough to get tickets and a couple of signed programmes.

  36. Paul Deards says:

    Are they warming us up for the next Bowie box to contain all of the Tin Machine stuff, I wonder?

    • Peter says:

      These nine tracks belong on Blu-ray and/or DVD so they can be properly experienced on a full system. If it appears in a Tin Machine box, I’ll definitely be getting it…

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