Following the break up of the Spiders from Mars, David returned to the recording studio as a true solo artist. A planned musical based upon George Orwell’s “1984” had to be shelved because the necessary permissions were refused by Orwell’s widow. Instead, David used the songs he had already written for it on a new album. Recording sessions commenced at the Olympic Studios in Barnes, South London in October 1973 and continued until February of the following year. Early recorded demos during this period include “Candidate” (written specifically for the “1984” musical) and “Take It In Right” which eventually became “Can You Hear Me”. In addition, a tape master from the sessions reveals that the album’s title track was originally “Diamond Dawgs”. David himself played most of the instruments although some other musicians were called upon to assist. These were Mike Garson (piano), Aynsley Dunbar (drums), Tony Newman (drums), Herbie Flowers (bass) and Alan Parker (guitar). It is thought that Ron Wood and Keith Christmas also helped on the recordings but these are not credited on the “Diamond Dogs” album sleeve. The sessions were Engineered by Keith Harwood, who had previously worked with the Rolling Stones, whilst Tony Visconti helped to mix. In February 1974 David visited Amsterdam where he appeared on the Dutch TV Show “Top Pop” miming to “Rebel Rebel”. During this trip, finishing touches were made to the album at Studio L Ludolf in Hilversum.
The original album cover featured artwork by  Belgian artist Guy Peellaert showing a naked David as half-man half-dog. This was deemed as being too risqué by RCA in America who ordered that the dog’s genitalia be airbrushed out. A handful of the original, non-censored RCA sleeves did survive and these are highly sought by collectors. It was planned to use another Guy Peellaert painting on the inside of the gatefold sleeve (based upon a photograph taken by Terry O’Neill) but this was dropped in favour of some images taken by MainMan photographer Leee Black Childers.
The first single to be released from the album was an edited version of “Rebel Rebel” although a specially re-recorded version of this song was issued as a single in the US, Canada and Mexico. The follow-up single was the full length title track (with the exception of Australia who issued a 2’ 58 edited version). Some countries – notably the US and New Zealand – issued “1984” as the second single, whilst Japan issued both “Diamond Dogs” and “1984” as follow-up singles. Additional information: The audience that can be heard at the end of "Future Legend" and the beginning of "Diamond Dogs" was lifted from the Faces live album "Coast to Coast / Overture and Beginners", the "Hey" is the voice of Rod Stewart!. An acetate of the album has “Rebel Rebel” as the segued track following “Future Legend” which suggests a different original running order.
The Young American
Diamond Dogs Album