This week it is David Bowie's 1970 (released in early 1971 in the UK) album The Man Who Sold The World
This album was where the blueprint for his later incarnation as Ziggy Stardust can first be seen, not least because it is where the nucleus of the Spiders From Mars first comes together.
The album was a real departure from what had come before as far as Bowie's music is concerned. The sound is heavy, riff powered and guitar driven, clearly taking hints from the burgeoning hard rock being played by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Edgar Broughton and others.
The subject matter of the material is dark; insanity, death, war and powerful outsider deities (derived from the works of H.P Lovecraft) predominate. Humanity takes a back seat here, notably in Saviour Machine, where an omnipotent computer decides to kill off the human race.
The Supermen is a very dark song, clearly linked directly to H.P Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos and also referring to the works of Friedrich Nietzsche. The riff was apparently one of Jimmy Page's, who "gave" it to Bowie when he was a session player on one of Bowie's 1960s songs I Pity The Fool.
The music on TMWSTW is dominated by the proto-metal guitar of the late Mick Ronson and was the second Bowie album produced by Tony Visconti, who also played bass on the album.
This album was notorious for its cover, featuring a very feminine David Bowie in a gorgeous long satin dress (designed by Michael Fish - who was not a weatherman - he also designed the shirts Jon Pertwee wore as Dr Who) and knee-high leather boots.
Later issues of the album had a more conventional cover, a black and white photo of Bowie looking far more like Ziggy.
Anyway, I believe that this album had an influence that defined the way music developed in the 1970s and beyond.
Bowie's exploration of the androgyny theme on the cover was a seminal influence on the beginning of the Glam movement in 70s rock, which in turn spawned Roxy Music, who along with Bowie were an important influence on the Bromley contingent who were instrumental to the beginning of Punk, especially in the careers of the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Musically, the album took metal styles and pushed them into the commercial arena, not necessarily with this album alone but also with Bowie's later work as Ziggy. It would be difficult to imagine Goth without this album too. The dark themes are really proto-Goth in a very major way.
The Width Of A Circle
All The Madmen
Black Country Rock
Running Gun Blues
She Shook Me Cold
The Man Who Sold The World