Sweet Thing (David Bowie song)

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"Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise)"
Song by David Bowie
from the album Diamond Dogs
Released24 May 1974[1]
RecordedOlympic Studios, London
January 1974
"Sweet Thing" – 3:38
"Candidate" – 2:39
"Sweet Thing" (Reprise) – 2:31
Songwriter(s)David Bowie
Producer(s)David Bowie

"Sweet Thing" or "Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise)" is a suite of songs written by David Bowie for the album Diamond Dogs. Recorded in January 1974, the piece comprises the songs "Sweet Thing" and "Candidate" and a one-verse reprise of "Sweet Thing."

In the opening line, "Sweet Thing" contains the lowest note Bowie had recorded in a studio album (C2) until "I Took a Trip on a Gemini Spacecraft" for the album Heathen (2002), where he growled the word "Well" (G1) towards the end of the song.[3]

Bowie recorded a track with the same title, "Candidate" – but no musical similarity to the Diamond Dogs song "Candidate" and only a few words of lyrics in common – during the first several days of January 1974.[4] It was unavailable until 1990 when it was released as a bonus track on the Rykodisc reissue of Diamond Dogs; it also appeared on the bonus disc of the 30th Anniversary Edition of Diamond Dogs in 2004.

"Tragic Moments/Zion/Aladdin Vein"[edit]

A track now referred to as "Zion" has also appeared on bootlegs under the titles "Aladdin Vein", "Love Aladdin Vein", "A Lad in Vein",[5] and "A Lad in Vain".[6] Incorporating parts reminiscent of "Aladdin Sane" and what would become "Sweet Thing (Reprise)" on Diamond Dogs, this instrumental piece was generally thought to have been recorded during the Aladdin Sane sessions at Trident Studios early in 1973. However a recent estimate places it alongside recordings for Pin Ups later that year, as a preview of Bowie's next original work, leading author Nicholas Pegg to suggest that it "perhaps ought to be regarded more as a Diamond Dogs demo than an Aladdin Sane out-take".[5] A 1973 article about Bowie recording Pinups in France accurately describes the song, which seems to confirm Pegg's theory:

David asks engineer Andy to run up a quick mix of the next project. Now this is really the one - the next album of Bowie's own original material. "There are no vocals on it yet - just my la-la-la-ing. Its going to be a musical in one act called 'Tragic Moments' probably running straight through two sides. We listen to perhaps seven minutes of music. I am confused. The contrast between 'Tragic Moments' and Pinups could not be greater. The former is a highly arranged, subtly shifting music with just a touch of vaudeville: Mike Garson's piano flashes through like quicksilver. Perhaps the closest approximation to what has gone before would be the title track of Aladdin Sane.[7]


Live versions[edit]

A live version of "Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise)" from the first leg of the Diamond Dogs Tour was released on David Live. A live recording from the second leg of the same tour (previously available on the unofficial album A Portrait in Flesh) was released in 2017 on Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles '74).

In one live version[8] in the first line, Bowie sings a step higher than C2, and a little more clearly. Some skeptics[who?] have accused Bowie of "studio tinkering" to enhance his range, but this is proof that he was capable of singing a C2.

Cover versions[edit]

  • Morel – on the album The Death of the Paperboy (2008), on Disc-0 of the two-disc set. This is a cover of the complete trilogy of "Sweet Thing"/"Candidate"/"Sweet Thing (Reprise)", as it appears on Diamond Dogs and David Live.
  • Joan as Police Woman – on the album Real Life (2006), on additional tracks of the 2-CD edition. This cover includes "Sweet Thing" and the reprise.
  • Awaken – on the album Party in Lyceum's Toilets (2001). This is a cover of only the "Sweet Thing" song proper.
  • Paper Jones – on the album Life Beyond Mars: Bowie Covered (2008). This is a cover of only the "Sweet Thing" song proper.
  • Momus – on the album Turpsycore (2015). This is a cover of only the "Sweet Thing" song proper.


  1. ^ "Diamond Dogs album is forty today". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  2. ^ Terich, Jeff (2 February 2017). "10 Essential Dystopian Albums". Treble. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  3. ^ Kristobak, Ryan (20 May 2014). "Comparing The Top Artists, Past And Present, By Vocal Range". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  4. ^ Kevin Cann (2010). Any Day Now - David Bowie: The London Years: 1947-1974: p.318
  5. ^ a b "The Complete David Bowie: Zion". Nicholas Pegg (2000). Op Cit: pp.249-250
  6. ^ Naked & Wired at Bassman's David Bowie Page
  7. ^ Martin Hayman (October 1973). "Outside David Bowie... is the closest you're gonna get". Rock Magazine.
  8. ^ Video on YouTube

External links[edit]