David Bowie recalls how he was first introduced to the work of Peellaert: "Mick (Jagger) was silly. I mean, he should never have shown me anything new. I went over to his house and he had all these Guy Peellaert pictures around [the artist's illustrations from the book 'Rock Dreams'] and said, 'What do you think of this guy?' I told him I thought he was incredible. So I immediately phoned him (Peellaert) up. Famously Jagger would be annoyed, as this meant the exclusivity for the Rolling Stones was broken and as Bowie's album would be released six months prior to the Stones' 'It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, it made the Stones seem like mere copyists.
Working from images given to him from Terry O'Neill's 1974 Diamond Dogs photo session, Peellaert produced the infamous album sleeve where Bowie is depicted as a naked, half-man/half-dog. RCA took exception to such a lewd display ordering the offensive part to be airbrushed out.
In an interview, Peellaert recalled; I first met Bowie at a photo session, where he had a dog. He said "Do me a cover with these photographs". After that I thought I had freedom to do whatever I liked, ultimately, he felt: The only problem with the project is that they removed the prick, I thought it very sad. Bowie explained the inspiration behind the imagery; The blended dog was my idea. I had wavered back and forth over the minotaur or the dog-man, and dog-man won. Peellaert himself would incorporate a background using imagery inspired by an old Coney Island freak show banner he had. To this day Bowie is still pleased with the cover, owning the original artwork from which the image for this print was taken. One other alteration to the original artwork for the final released cover was the banner which initially read Alive was changed to read BOWIE