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Classic guitar albums of 1979: David Bowie's Lodger

(Image credit: Richard E. Aaron/Redferns/Getty Images)


Lodger is generally regarded as the last in the “Berlin” trilogy of Bowie albums - although ironically it was recorded in Switzerland and the U.S. The album had a mixed reception at the time of release, although it has been favorably reappraised in the numerous Bowie retrospectives that seem to turn up every year. The oft-repeated “reinvention” notion was reaching the end of another cycle with this album. Continuing Bowie’s knack for finding great guitarists to compliment his vision, this was the first appearance of Adrian Belew - who’d previously worked with Frank Zappa - on a Bowie record, replacing Robert Fripp. Belew was unconventional enough to be the right man at the right time for some of the experimental recording techniques and left-field methodologies being employed.

Alongside Belew’s inventive input, credit must also go to Brian Eno, who sampled and constructed various guitar parts from fragments of Belew’s playing to produce some otherworldly solos. Boys Keep Swinging is a pop song with plenty of non-traditional pop elements guitar-wise, courtesy of Belew, via Bowie and Eno’s machinations. “They gave me two or three attempts at putting a part down without first having heard the song,” Belew said. “That would be it. Then they’d make a compilation of their favorite bits, which is why the guitar parts seem odd at times as they were never actually played in the sequences they used.”