Having only one line and a title in common with the “Candidate” that eventually appeared on Diamond Dogs, the earlier “Candidate” was a studio demo Bowie recorded on New Year’s Day 1974. It apparently was part of Bowie’s stillborn Nineteen Eighty-Four adaptation, though little of its lyric would suggest that (there’s a reference to “the correction room”—that’s about it). It’s in F-sharp minor (was the entire Orwell musical going to be in a minor key?), and is centered around Mike Garson’s piano runs and smears of Bowie’s guitar.
“Candidate 1,” or “Alternative Candidate,” is somewhat akin to “Zion” in that it’s an inchoate track that serves as a storehouse of obsessions Bowie would tag for future development. So there’s identity and sex games, hallucinogenic TV pornography (see “TVC 15”) and hints of fascism and black magic (see Station to Station). Bowie sings blankly and distantly, and ends the last verse with “Do I have to give your money back when I’m the Führerling?”
Recorded 1 January 1974; not released until the Ryko reissue of Diamond Dogs (& later included on the 30th anniversary reissue).
Top: Vanessa Redgrave, campaigning as a MP candidate for the Workers Revolutionary Party, February 1974.