David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album celebrated at Southbank Centre on 50th anniversary
The 50th anniversary of David Bowie’s landmark Aladdin Sane album is being celebrated with a series of events at the Southbank Centre.
The LP, which famously featured the singer posing with a lightning flash on his face for the cover art, was Bowie’s sixth album and included hits such as The Jean Genie and Drive-In Saturday.
Aladdin Sane: 50 Years will feature a two-month long exhibition, opening on April 6, exploring the artwork including the original portrait of Bowie by renowned photographer Brian Duffy as well as a concert featuring acts from Anna Calvi to Scissor Sisters Jake Shears playing the 1973 record in full.
The exhibition is curated by Duffy’s son Chris and Geoff Marsh and will also look at his long-term collaboration with the singer who he photographed for subsequent albums including 1979’s critically acclaimed Lodger.
Chris Duffy said: “My father’s image of Bowie is often called the Mona Lisa of Pop. It’s important to remember it was the result of a short studio shoot using film, which then had to be sent out for commercial processing. There were no instant digital images or photoshop then.
“It’s extraordinary how it’s lasted and been endlessly reworked. Wherever I go in the world, it’s always somewhere on a t-shirt.”
Other events include a display looking back at Bowie history with the centre from one of his earliest gigs in 1969 to curating the Meltdown Festival in 2002.
There will also be talks, DJ sessions and poetry performances all inspired by the star and his music.
Brixton-born Bowie grew up in the south London suburbs and started out playing R’n’B in the early 1960s before becoming a global superstar in the glam rock era performing as his alter-ego Ziggy Stardust.
He also enjoyed a successful acting career and was still making music until shortly before his death from cancer, aged 69, in 2016.
Southbank Centre Artistic Director Mark Ball said: “We’re honoured to pay tribute to David Bowie, who made his debut at the Southbank Centre in 1969.
“The Aladdin Sane album cover portrait is considered to be one of the most influential pop culture images of the past half century, and the music remains fresh and contemporary, so we wanted to recognise this major anniversary and reflect on the album and its artwork’s enduring legacy.
“It’s a work that continues to inspire today’s contemporary artists and the gender fluidity of the images still resonate deeply in queer culture in the UK and across the world.”