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David Bowie Albums Ranked Worst to Best

David Bowie is rock’s greatest chameleon. Never one to sit still, he’s pointed at a new musical direction on nearly every album he’s released in his career. However, not all of them have had the same artistic and/or commercial impact, so we’ve ranked all of his albums here, from worst to best.

His earliest singles, which date back to the mid-’60s, found him, like so many other London-based musicians, trying his hand at copying American R&B sounds. But his 1967 debut saw him dabble in music hall and whimsical baroque pop. Neither had any chart impact, but it still showed his willingness to experiment. It wasn’t until the “Space Oddity” single in 1969 — when he started looking towards the future instead of the past — that his fortunes began to change.

Bowie also has a reputation as one of music’s most imaginative conceptual artists. As a writer and musician, Bowie usually attempts to convey a larger story within an album. And while sometimes that involves a total change in persona (Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke), other times it requires a shift in musical perspective (“plastic soul,” “the Berlin trilogy”).

But which one is best — both in terms of music and concept? We’ve delved into the 25 studio albums Bowie has released as a lead artist, leaving aside Tin Machine records and Labyrinth, in which Bowie splits compositional credits. Here’s a journey through his ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, as Ultimate Classic Rock ranks David Bowie albums from worst to best:

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