In the opening line, "Sweet Thing" contains the lowest note Bowie had recorded in a studio album (C2) until "I Took a Trip on a Gemini Spacecraft" for the album "Heathen"(2002), where he growled the word "Well" (G1) towards the end of the song.
Bowie recorded a track with the same title, "Candidate" – but no musical similarity to the Diamond Dogs song "Candidate" and only a few words of lyrics in common – on 1 January 1974. It was unavailable until 1990 when it was released as a bonus track on the Rykodisc reissue of Diamond Dogs; it also appeared on the bonus disc of the 30th Anniversary Editionof Diamond Dogs in 2004.
A track now referred to as "Zion" has also appeared on bootlegs under the titles "Aladdin Vein", "Love Aladdin Vein", "A Lad in Vein", and "A Lad in Vain". Incorporating parts reminiscent of "Aladdin Sane" and what would become "Sweet Thing (Reprise)" on Diamond Dogs, this instrumental piece was generally thought to have been recorded during theAladdin Sane sessions at Trident Studios early in 1973. However a recent estimate places it alongside recordings for Pinups later that year, as a preview of Bowie's next original work, leading author Nicholas Pegg to suggest that it "perhaps ought to be regarded more as a Diamond Dogs demo than an Aladdin Sane out-take". A 1973 article about Bowie recording Pinups in France accurately describes the song, which seems to confirm Pegg's theory:
|“||David asks engineer Andy to run up a quick mix of the next project. Now this is really the one - the next album of Bowie's own original material. "There are no vocals on it yet - just my la-la-la-ing. Its going to be a musical in one act called 'Tragic Moments' probably running straight through two sides. We listen to perhaps seven minutes of music. I am confused. The contrast between 'Tragic Moments' and Pinups could not be greater. The former is a highly arranged, subtly shifting music with just a touch of vaudeville: Mike Garson's piano flashes through like quicksilver. Perhaps the closest approximation to what has gone before would be the title track of Aladdin Sane.||”|
A live version (which also included "Candidate" and "Sweet Thing (Reprise)") from the 1974 tour was released on David Live. Another live recording from the 1974 tour was released on the semi-legal album A Portrait in Flesh.
In one live version in the first line, Bowie sings a step higher than C2, and a little more clearly. Some skeptics have accused Bowie of "studio tinkering" to enhance his range, but this is proof that he is capable of singing a C2.
- Morel – on the album The Death of the Paperboy (2008), on Disc-0 of the two-disc set. This is a cover of the complete trilogy of "Sweet Thing"/"Candidate"/"Sweet Thing (Reprise)", as it appears on Diamond Dogs and David Live.
- Joan as Police Woman – on the album Real Life (2006), on additional tracks of the 2-CD edition. This cover includes "Sweet Thing" and the reprise.
- Awaken – on the album Party in Lyceum's Toilets (2001). This is a cover of only the "Sweet Thing" song proper.
- Paper Jones – on the album Life Beyond Mars: Bowie Covered (2008). This is a cover of only the "Sweet Thing" song proper.