Lady Grinning Soul

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"Lady Grinning Soul"
Song by David Bowie
from the album Aladdin Sane
Released20 April 1973 (1973-04-20)[a]
RecordedJanuary 1973
StudioTrident, London
GenreArt rock, glam rock
Songwriter(s)David Bowie
Producer(s)Ken Scott, David Bowie

"Lady Grinning Soul" is a ballad written by English musician David Bowie, released on the album Aladdin Sane in 1973. It was a last-minute addition, replacing the "sax version" of "John, I'm Only Dancing" as the closing track.[1] The composer's first meeting with American soul singer Claudia Lennear in 1972 is often cited as the inspiration for the song.[4][5][6][7] In 2016, after Bowie's death, an interview with Lennear revealed that Bowie called her in 2014, and told her the song had been written about her.[8]

The style of the piece has been compared to a James Bond theme.[9][1][10] Pianist Mike Garson described his own performance as "about as romantic as it gets ... French with a little Franz Liszt thrown in there".[11] Rolling Stone's contemporary review called Bowie's singing "the album's most expansive and sincere vocal",[12] while author Nicholas Pegg considers the track "one of Bowie's most underrated recordings ... quite unlike anything else he has ever done".[6] Mojo magazine listed it as Bowie's 93rd best track in 2015.[13]

The track was used in the films The Runaways (2010) and Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2012).


With the release of his album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and his performance of "Starman" on the BBC television programme Top of the Pops in early July 1972, David Bowie was launched to stardom.[14] To support the album, Bowie embarked on the Ziggy Stardust Tour in both the UK and the US.[15][16] He composed most of the tracks for the follow-up record on the road during the US tour in late 1972.[17] Because of this, many of the tracks were influenced by America, and his perceptions of the country.[18]

"Lady Grinning Soul" was recorded at Trident Studios in London in January 1973, following the conclusion of the American tour and a series of Christmas concerts in England and Scotland.[19][20] Like the rest of its parent album, the song was co-produced by Bowie and Ken Scott and featured Bowie's backing band the Spiders from Mars – comprising guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Woody Woodmansey, as well as pianist Mike Garson and saxophonist Ken Fordham.[21][22]

Other releases[edit]

  • It was released as the B-side of the single "Let's Spend the Night Together" in June 1973.[23]
  • It was also the B-side of the Spanish release of the single "Sorrow" in November 1973.
  • The US release of the single "Rebel Rebel" had "Lady Grinning Soul" as the B-side.
  • It appeared as the B-side of the Japanese release of the single "1984" in April 1974.

Cover versions[edit]


According to Chris O'Leary:[1]


  • David Bowie – producer
  • Ken Scott – producer, engineer

See also[edit]


  1. ^ There is some debate about the release date. Previously reported as 13 April 1973,[1][2] in 2018, Bowie's official website stated that new evidence had come to light proving that the official release date was 20 April 1973, but because this was Good Friday (a public holiday in the UK), the album was made available on 19 April.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d O'Leary 2015, chap. 6.
  2. ^ Cann 2010, p. 291.
  3. ^ "Aladdin Sane 45th anniversary silver vinyl due". David Bowie Official Website. 14 February 2018. Archived from the original on 16 February 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  4. ^ Carr & Murray 1981, p. 56.
  5. ^ Cann 2010, pp. 292–295.
  6. ^ a b Pegg 2016, p. 148.
  7. ^ Doggett 2012, p. 202.
  8. ^ "David Bowie's 'Lady Grinning Soul' Claudia Lennear of Pomona remembers her friend". 6 February 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  9. ^ Carr & Murray 1981, pp. 52–56.
  10. ^ Kris Needs (1983). Bowie: A Celebration: p. 29
  11. ^ David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination – David Bowie: The Definitive Story: pp. 187–188
  12. ^ Ben Gerson (19 July 1973). "Aladdin Sane". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 5, 2010.
  13. ^ "David Bowie – The 100 Greatest Songs". Mojo. No. 255. February 2015. p. 54.
  14. ^ Pegg 2016, p. 347.
  15. ^ Cann 2010, p. 268.
  16. ^ Pegg 2016, pp. 361–362.
  17. ^ Buckley 2005, p. 157.
  18. ^ Pegg 2016, p. 362.
  19. ^ Cann 2010, p. 283.
  20. ^ Pegg 2016, pp. 547–548.
  21. ^ O'Leary 2015, chap. 3.
  22. ^ Gallucci, Michael (13 April 2018). "How David Bowie Returned, Ziggy-Like, for 'Aladdin Sane'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Archived from the original on 30 April 2020. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  23. ^ Pegg 2016, Singles Discography.