Sunday, 2 January 2011

Bowie in the 90's - and beyond

Ever since Bowie released some huge hit records that weren’t actually that good in the 1980s, he has undertaken one of the most remarkable “comebacks” ever seen in the world of music. Some lazy music critics will still claim he’s done nothing of worth since 1980, but what do critics know? Bowie, in fact, has made some records in the last two decades that actually surpass some of the stuff from the “Golden Years” of the 70s - “Black Tie White Noise” is better than “Pin Ups”, for example.

In this blog, we shall look at Bowie’s releases from the end of 1989 to the present day. Compilations and reissues of material from previous decades are in the main ignored, as these have been covered in previous blogs, and mentioning them again will make this article just a bit too “heavy”. However, important releases that cover the period from 1969 to 1989 are mentioned where appropriate.

“Sound + Vision” - ChangesBowie

Following the release of the “Tin Machine” album in 1989, Bowie briefly returned to his day job the following year with a World Tour, dubbed the “Sound + Vision” tour. Alongside a box set, and reissues of all his albums from 1969 to 1980, the tour was scheduled as a “farewell to the hits” - the original plan was for Bowie to get his fans to vote for the songs they wanted him to play, although this plan was apparently scrapped before the tour took place after the NME tried to “fix” the voting by getting people to vote for “The Laughing Gnome”. Bowie performed more or less the same greatest hits show each night, although there were a few obscure choices, including a new song called “Pretty Pink Rose”. The track had been released on an album by Bowie’s tour guitarist, Adrian Belew, and was a duet between the pair - it was also issued as a single whilst the tour took place.

The box set was a mix of hits, album tracks, and previously unreleased rarities - both in the form of alternate versions of otherwise available songs, or completely “new” material. Disc 1 included a demo of “Space Oddity” and the never-before-issued “London Bye Ta Ta”, along with the “Sax” mix of “John I’m Only Dancing”. B-sides in the form of the acoustic version of “Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud” and “Round And Round” appeared along with the original stand alone A-side version of “The Prettiest Star”. Disc 2 offered the previously unreleased medley of “1984” and “Dodo”, along with the US single mix of “Rebel Rebel”, and previously unreleased tracks “After Today” and a cover of Springsteen‘s “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City” - the second of two Bruce covers Bowie taped in the 70s, but failed to release at the time (the other was “Growing Up“). Disc 3 offered mostly album tracks, although a remixed version of “Helden” (“Heroes” sung in German) was a rarity. The box was issued in a semi see through sleeve, pressed on Vinyl, Cassette and CD, with the CD set adding a bonus Video Disc, which included three previously unreleased live tracks, although I believe these tracks are all now available on the 2003 expanded edition of “Aladdin Sane”. The set covered only the “RCA” years from 69 to 80, but did include some tracks from the 1973 taped, but 1983 released, live LP “Ziggy Stardust The Motion Picture”.

An updated greatest hits album, “ChangesBowie” was also released to coincide. It was a sort of expanded edition of the 1976 “ChangesOneBowie” set, using the same typeface, and the same cover photo, although for this version, a series of “Bowie through the ages” images were superimposed around the edges of the sleeve. A remixed version of “Fame”, dubbed “Fame 90”, was included on the record, and was also issued as a single with multiple remixes in it’s own right, complete with a newly shot music video. In the US, one remix not made available on the UK edition was included on the CD Single.

In 1991, a US only reissue of the “Sound And Vision” single took place in the US. Credited to “David Bowie Vs 808 State”, it appeared as a four track CD single which included two new mixes, the original LP version, and another mix which appeared as a bonus track on the then current edition of “Low”. The single used a completely new picture sleeve to any previous “Sound And Vision” releases.

After another Tin Machine studio album and tour, David Bowie The Solo Singer returned in 1992, with a rather low key stand alone single. “Real Cool World” was recorded for the half cartoon/half live action movie “Cool World” and was issued on the label who released the accompanying soundtrack LP, Warner Brothers. The track was edited for single release, with an instrumental mix on the B-side of the 7”, and multiple mixes on the CD. The single stalled outside the top 40. The original album version would not appear on a proper Bowie LP until the 2003 reissue of 1993’s “Black Tie White Noise”.

Black Tie White Noise - The Singles Collection

“Black Tie White Noise” was Bowie’s first solo studio LP since 1987, and appeared amidst a blaze of publicity. It appeared on the short lived Arista offshoot label, Savage, and there was a silent TV ad, showing a moving graphic equaliser image, with various TV interviews also lined up. The album was previewed by a single “Jump They Say”, an astonishing mix of Ziggy era sax, 90s drum machines, and a left field pop sound, that was a more successful attempt at making a contemporary sounding single than anything Bowie had done in the previous decade. The single was issued on two different CD Singles with different B-sides, the first of which included an eight page “Bowie History” booklet, which made a successful stab at educating any non-believers as to the genius of the man. The album, like “Scary Monsters” started and ended with different versions of the same song, with the Cassette and CD editions featuring one or two extra tracks respectively. The Cassette included the “Jae-E Edit” mix of “Jump They Say”, whilst the CD added this and “Lucy Can’t Dance”, a bit of a throwaway song seemingly included as a bonus on the CD because it would not have fitted into the LP proper. The overall quality of the album was magnificent, Bowie’s bombastic take on Morrissey‘s “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday” being a highlight, whilst the beauty of “The Wedding” and “Don‘t Let Me Down And Down“, the energy of “You’ve Been Around”, and the sheer inventiveness of the instrumentals “Looking For Lester” and “Pallas Athena”, made this record far better than anything Bowie had done as a solo performer since 1980.

Two further singles were lifted from the album, the title track and “Miracle Goodnight”. Both appeared on 12” and CD, each format offering different remixes. There was no tour to support the album, but later in 1993, Bowie released the slightly baffling “Black Tie White Noise” VHS. It consisted of a series of “mimed in the studio with a band” clips of selected album tracks, intercut with interview footage and finished off with the three music videos for the singles.

Later the same year, Bowie’s former label EMI issued a superb double CD set, “The Singles Collection”. The album included a number of tracks that had not actually been released as singles in the UK, whilst in some instances, album mixes instead of their edited single versions, were included instead. The set covered the period from 1969 to 1987, and included the non-album “John I’m Only Dancing” on disc 1, and “Alabama Song“ on disc 2. The set also included the 7” versions of “Diamond Dogs”, which features a faded-in intro, “Heroes”, “Let’s Dance”, “China Girl” and “Modern Love”. The “short” version of “Under Pressure” was also on disc 2, along with the edited mixes of “Absolute Beginners” and “Day In Day Out”, the Pat Metheny collaboration “This Is Not America”, and the “3.10” mix of “Dancing In The Street”. The set has since been reissued in several countries, some with altered track listings, and others in new slipcase sleeves. An accompanying VHS, “The Video Collection”, featured most - but not all - of Bowie’s videos from the same period.

The Buddha Of Suburbia - RarestOneBowie

At the tail end of 93, Bowie released what is arguably his most brilliant post-”Scary Monsters” album, “The Buddha Of Suburbia”. It was a soundtrack to a BBC TV show, based on a Hanif Kureishi novel, and as such, was marketed not as a Bowie LP, but as a soundtrack. The original cover featured the album title in big letters, with an image from the TV show as the cover, but with Bowie’s name buried almost out of sight at the bottom. A limited number were issued in a see through, thick plastic box, which included a paperback copy of the novel as well as the CD, and these are now very rare. The album was a miraculous piece of work - by working on a soundtrack rather than a “new” album, Bowie saw this as an opportunity to experiment, and as such, included a number of instrumentals on the record, a throwback to the “Low” and “Heroes” period. The title track was released as a single, but appeared almost without notice - the first time I was made aware of the single was when I heard it had hit number 35 on the top 40 chart rundown on Radio 1 the week after the single had been released! The single appeared as a 4 track EP, all songs being lifted from the album, and a 2 track collectors CD, which featured a cut down cover, and a hologram around the edge of the CD, which was visible to would-be purchasers thanks to the “half” sleeve. The album included nine new Bowie songs, with a “Rock Mix” of the title track closing the album, featuring Lenny Kravitz on guitar. The album has since been reissued in a sleeve featuring a photo of Bowie on the cover, with the original soundtrack references from the 1993 cover removed in an attempt to align it with the rest of Bowie’s back catalogue. Even so, it still remains to this day an overlooked gem, Bowie’s greatest “long lost” album.

In 1994, the dubiously titled Golden Years label released the first of two official, but not Bowie-endorsed, sets of previously unreleased material. The first was “Santa Monica 72”, a recording of a long bootlegged show taped on October 20th that year. Golden Years had connections with Bowie’s former management company MainMan, which explains how they were able to not only have access to these recordings, but were able to release them without having to OK it with the man himself. The CD came with a reprint of a ticket from the show, and was taped at an interesting point in the “Ziggy” tour. At the time, Bowie’s next LP, “Aladdin Sane”, was several months from being released, and there is something fascinating about hearing Bowie introduce “Jean Genie, and it begins in E” to a wall of silence. A Bowie endorsed reissue, “Live Santa Monica 72”, was issued by EMI in 2008, but features exactly the same track listing. A single was issued from the LP, “Ziggy Stardust”, with two other tracks from the album appearing as B-sides, in 1994.

In 1995, Golden Years released “RarestOneBowie”, using the same typeface as the “ChangesOneBowie” LP. This was a hotch potch of rarities from across the seventies, with the sound quality varying quite substantially at times. The album featured the original demo of “All The Young Dudes”, given away to Mott The Hoople - the only previous version of this track on a Bowie album had been a live version on 1974’s “David Live”. There was also a live version of “Queen Bitch” from the Nassau Coliseum show in 1976, this show being the source for the bonus tracks on the 1991 expanded edition of 1976’s “Station To Station” - the entire show has now been issued in it’s entirety on the 2010 reissue of the same LP. There was a never-before-issued-in-any-form song in the form of “Footstompin”, whilst the set concluded with a lo-fi taping of “I Feel Free”, from a show at Kingston Polytechnic, South London, in 1972. The inclusion of this song is quite historic - Bowie had finally gotten round to recording it for “Black Tie White Noise”, even getting Mick Ronson in to help out, so it’s appearance here was an interesting - if rather muffled - selection.


Later the same year, Bowie issued “1.Outside” (or simply “Outside" as it usually referred to), the first album for the BMG/Arista/RCA imprint following the demise of Savage, and was planned to be the first of a series of annual albums to be released in the run up to the millennium. In the end, the 1997 follow up “Earthling” was deemed to be “not the official follow up”, and in the end, Bowie never did get round to doing “album 2”. Indeed, he only released one more album after “Earthling” before 2000 arrived.

“Outside” took it’s cues from industrial rock acts like Nine Inch Nails, and like “Black Tie”, was a fascinating left field turn. The album bristled with an energy, a strangeness, and a brashness that took it even beyond the brilliance of “Black Tie”, and in “I’m Deranged”, “I Have Not Been To Oxford Town”, “The Voyeur Of Utter Destruction” and “We Prick You”, Bowie had recorded some of the best songs of his career. In an attempt to salvage the “lost” nature of “The Buddha Of Suburbia”, a track from that record, the stunning “Strangers When We Meet”, was re-recorded as the album closer.

In the run up to the album, Bowie went off on his first tour since the “Farewell” tour of 1990. Bowie more or less stuck to his promise that he would no longer play the old hits, and with Nine Inch Nails as his support, he opted to mix “Outside” material with some of the most obscure items from his past - “Andy Warhol”, “Look Back In Anger”, “Boys Keep Swinging“ and “Teenage Wildlife” were amongst numerous items exhumed from his past. When the tour hit the UK, Bowie invited Morrissey on tour as his support, but the pair had a falling out after a handful of shows, and Morrissey walked off midway through the tour. Later shows saw upcoming Glam-Indie-Goth Punks Placebo opening for Bowie. Bowie would usually close the set with one of the “Outside” numbers, “Hallo Spaceboy”, and would not return for an encore.

As the tour progressed, Bowie slowly began to include more hits, having now become more “happy” to do them. “Under Pressure” was in most, possibly all shows, but by the time Bowie hit the festival circuit the following year, the likes of “Heroes” were also back in the set. Bowie had in fact performed both these songs at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert back in 1992, but this had at the time been assumed to be a “one off”. Others, such as “Moonage Daydream” were not performed at many, if any, of the earlier shows, but were in the set at the tail end of 95.

Three singles were released from the album. The second was the re-recorded “Strangers When We Meet”, which was issued as a AA side with a live version of “The Man Who Sold The World”, taped during 1995, with Bowie performing it in a pared down drum and bass style. A coloured vinyl 7” was issued which came in a simple plain sleeve, with typed titles and little else on the cover. The same went for the follow up, a remixed version of “Hallo Spaceboy”, which had been given a going over by Pet Shop Boys. It’s release, early in 96, coincided with Bowie getting a lifetime achievement award at The Brits - Bowie claimed he only accepted the award so he could plug his new 45! The first single from "Outside" had been “The Hearts Filthy Lesson”, which included a non album track “Nothing To Be Desired”, on the B-side in the US, which was only released in the UK when an expanded version of “Outside” appeared in 2004. A unique two minute edit of one of the remixes of "THFL" turned up on a free cassette given away with an issue of long defunct fortnightly (if I remember correctly) glossy music mag “Raw”.

Earthling - The Best Of David Bowie 1974/1979

During the 1996 Festival gigs, Bowie performed a new song, the heavily jungle-influenced “Telling Lies”, which would ultimately be the first single from his next album, 1997’s “Earthling”. The single was issued as a 3-mix CD, with a sleeve that simply listed the legend “David Bowie V A Guy Called Gerald V Adam F” on the cover - the latter had provided remixes for the CD. Despite it apparently being released only via independent record shops, I seem to recall a stack being offered for sale in the Virgin Megastore at Tottenham Court Road in London early the following year. The version of the track that surfaced on “Earthling” was different to all of the mixes on the CD.

The jungle influence was still evident on the first “proper” single from “Earthling”, the superlative “Little Wonder”. It was issued on two CD’s and a 12“, featuring different mixes on each. Similar multi formatting skills were used on the next single, “Dead Man Walking”. The 12” came in a plain die cut sleeve, with an information sticker glued onto the front.

“Earthling”, like Bowie’s other 90’s LP’s, was an exhilarating listen. He was berated by some, for being a man who had turned 50 doing drum and bass, but the record had enough pop nous to make it a varied and often thrilling adventure. The likes of “Battle For Britain” and “The Last Thing You Should Do” remain amongst the most exciting things Bowie has ever committed to vinyl. Bowie’s stock, in the main, was now at it’s highest. He managed to invite a whole stack of indie royalty to perform on stage with him at his 50th Birthday Party gig in New York at the start of the year (Sonic Youth and The Cure’s Robert Smith turned up, amongst many more).

Another UK single, “Seven Years In Tibet”, appeared as a limited coloured vinyl 7” in August, as well as a limited CD single. The extra track on the CD was a live version of “Pallas Athena”, taped at one of the now famous “twin set” shows early on in the “Earthling” tour. These shows would see Bowie play a mostly instrumental drum and bass set to start, before returning to play a more “standard” show thereafter. This version of “Pallas Athena” was taped at the Amsterdam Paradiso on 10th June 1997. Bowie had played a pair of “twin set” shows at the Hanover Grand in London the week before, but abandoned this concept when he did a club tour of the UK in August - instead concentrating on playing a two hours plus set, with some of the “drum and bass” material squeezed into the main show. “Pallas Athena” was later issued as a 12” single under the moniker “Tao Jones Index” - this was the name under which Bowie played a secret drum and bass set in the dance tent at the Phoenix Festival in July 97. Bowie headlined the main stage the following day, having also headlined the same event in 1996. Bowie varied the UK club set from night to night - I saw both the first UK show at the Birmingham Que Club and the final show at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire, and although he opened each night with “Quicksand”, much of the remainder of the two sets I witnessed featured different songs, with “All The Young Dudes”, “Moonage Daydream” and “Waiting For The Man” making into the London setlist.

In the US, another single was issued, “I’m Afraid Of Americans”. There was further involvement from Nine Inch Nails, with lead singer Trent Reznor doing a remix. Five other mixes appeared on the CD, but were simply listed as “V1”, “V2”, etc - “V1“ was the Reznor mix. Most of these mixes have never been officially released in the UK. Another US only release at the time was the “Earthling In The City” EP, a 6 track CD given away with GQ magazine. It’s a rare item to track down, but consisted mostly of material already available in the UK.

There was another slightly obscure single release before the year was out. Bowie re-recorded a track from the first Tin Machine LP, “I Can’t Read”, for the soundtrack of the “Ice Storm” movie. There was a “short” mix and a “long” mix of the song, and both then appeared on a CD Single issued in selected countries. In Germany, the CD was released by ZYX Records, who added “This Is Not America” as a bonus track, giving the whole single a movie theme. German import copies of the single proved popular in the UK, where the single charted on import sales alone.

With Bowie’s kudos at an all time high, EMI issued yet another best of - “The Best Of David Bowie 1969/1974”. This was a slightly shambolic attempt at compiling material from the early part of Bowie’s time on RCA, with a mish mash of album tracks and obscure 45s, and no attempt at putting the set into chronological order. The CD included the 1970 7” version of “The Prettiest Star”, the “Sax” version of “John I’m Only Dancing”, and the “All The Young Dudes” demo off “RarestOneBowie”. A B-side, “Velvet Goldmine” was also included.

The following year, and EMI issued a follow up - “The Best Of David Bowie 1974/1979”. Again, in an attempt to do something a bit different, the CD included some strange things - I do love “The Secret Life Of Arabia”, but who would have thought about sticking it on a best of collection? Also included were the single edits of “Golden Years”, “Young Americans”, “Heroes” and “TVC15”. The full length version of “John I’m Only Dancing Again” was thrown in, as was “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City”, off the “Sound + Vision” box set.

In 1999, Bowie collaborated with former tour partners, Placebo, by duetting with them on a re-recorded version of “Without You I’m Nothing” - originally the title track of their second album issued in 1998. A limited edition CD Single was issued, which along with the duet, featured a series of remixes.

Hours - All Saints

Later on in 1999, in another turn of genius, Bowie decided to move his musical stylings back towards the mainstream with the “Hours” album, issued on Virgin Records. The record was more laid back, a lot more ‘Pop’ than “Earthling”, although the lead single in the US, “The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell” (it’s titled nicked from Iggy And The Stooges “Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell”), was a noisy guitar heavy blast that had an “Outside” vibe to it. This change of mood was apparently a major reason behind Bowie’s long time sidekick Reeves Gabrels departing from the studio and touring ranks, as he was not happy that Bowie was going back to the “middle of the road”, but it really was no different to when Bowie followed up “Diamond Dogs” with “Young Americans” in the 70’s.

“Hours” initially came housed with a lenticular moving image sleeve, and in the UK, was trailed by the genteel “Thursday’s Child” single. The single, like it’s follow up, “Survive” (issued early in 2000) was issued on two CD singles, each with different B-sides. Single three, “Seven”, appeared on three CD’s, with the “V1” mix of “I’m Afraid Of Americans” appearing as the B-side of CD2. This single was issued to coincide with Bowie’s groundbreaking headline show at Glastonbury, thirty years after he had first played there. Bowie decided to “give the people what they want”, and with his hair grown to such a length he looked the same as he did in 1970, promptly ploughed through a two hour greatest hits set, actually opting to ignore the “Hours” album in an attempt to play to the masses. After a handful of songs had been broadcast as part of BBC1’s TV coverage, presenter Jayne Middlemiss announced that Glastonbury “had had it’s moment”, before they then cut away to Macy Gray sleepwalking her way through a tepid set on the second stage. Bowie’s set is still regarded to this day as one of the five greatest Glastonbury shows of all time.

After the Glasto show, Bowie played a gig at the BBC Radio Theatre, changing the set slightly to include material from “Hours”. The show was taped for a Radio 2 broadcast, and was later issued officially as a free album with initial copies of the 2000 double CD set, “Bowie At The Beeb”. This collection was the first Bowie set to include material from both the pre AND post “Space Oddity” years, covering as it did material from 1968 to 1972. This came about because, at the time, Bowie was being invited to perform sessions for the BBC, even though he was unsure in which direction to take his career next, and in 69, found himself playing material he had already released whilst signed to Deram, plus other songs that would eventually appear on the “Space Oddity” album. When it was first issued, copies of the album were mispressed - the second disc was supposed to feature two different versions of “Ziggy Stardust” taped at different sessions, but the version taped at a second 1972 session was included twice by accident. A free CD featuring the missing first session version was shipped out to people upon request, and I also believe it was possible to download it from Bowie’s website at the time.

At the time of the “Beeb” release, Bowie - perhaps unsurprisingly - was starting to re-evaluate material from his pre-Space Oddity years. He began to perform a handful of this material on stage - I personally witnessed him perform a storming version of “Can’t Help Thinking About Me” at the London Astoria at the end of 99, the best thing he did all night - and during 2000, re-recorded several songs for an album called “Toy”. In the end, the “Toy” album - for some reason - was abandoned, but some of these recordings would be released at a later date.

1999 had also seen the release of the “” fan club release, a live album pressed on CD only and made available to subscribers of the BowieNet website. It compiled live recordings from 1997 of material from the “1.Outside” and “Earthling” albums, and was later re-released with a bonus 4 track CD, which included an outtake entitled “Fun”, appearing here in a remixed form. The other three tracks were remixes of “Telling Lies”, “Little Wonder” and “Dead Man Walking”, all of which had all been released on earlier Bowie singles.

There was another Bowie single release at the tail end of 1999. His 1981 duet with Queen, “Under Pressure”, had been remixed for Queen’s “Greatest Hits 3” set, and this new remix appeared as an A-side. As before, Queen tracks minus Bowie were used as B-sides across the various formats.

The “Bowie At The Beeb” album appeared midway through a series of other reissues and “new” releases on EMI. Bowie’s 69-89 back catalogue was reissued in 1999, with the “Tin Machine” album appearing as a Bowie solo album, whilst 2001 saw the reissue of the “Christiane F” soundtrack in a new sleeve. The same year saw the release of “All Saints”, a repressing (with new sleeve and track listing) of what was previously a privately pressed CD from 1993. This edition featured 15 instrumentals from “Low” onwards, with a version of “Some Are” by Philip Glass closing the set. Some of the songs had previously surfaced on the early 90’s reissues of “Low” and “Heroes”, but with these pressings now deleted, this made the likes of “Abdulmajid” and the title track quite desirable items. Also included on this set was the stand alone 1980 A-side “Crystal Japan”.

Heathen - Black Tie White Noise 10th Anniversary Edition

In 2002, now signed to Columbia, Bowie released the remarkable “Heathen” record, an album which defied description. It had elements of both the “dance” aspects of “Black Tie White Noise”, the noise elements of “Outside” and “Earthling”, and the poppier moments of “Hours”. It was given some great reviews, and was later nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. At the ceremony, an idiotic Radio 1 reporter giving his views on who should win dismissed the album because he said “Bowie is no longer relevant”. The eventual winner was that beacon of music excellence and widespread musical influence, Ms Dynamite - spot the irony.

Perhaps sensing the looming death of the single, or perhaps concerned he would no longer get a single onto the radio, “Heathen” was released without a single being issued in the UK before the LP’s release. The initial pressing originally came with a free 4 track bonus CD, with remixes of “Sunday” and “A Better Future”, both on the original album. Also included was the 1979 re-recording of “Panic In Detroit”, first issued on the 1992 expanded version of “Scary Monsters”, but released here due to the deletion of that edition of the album, making this track a bit of a rarity. Also included was the re-recorded version of “Conversation Piece”, from the “Toy” sessions, the track having originally been the B-side of “The Prettiest Star”.

To coincide with the Mercury nod, Bowie issued “Everyone Says Hi” as the first and last UK single from the record. The single appeared on three CD’s, each using the same cover photo but with different coloured text, and the B-sides of two of the CD’s used tracks from the unreleased “Toy” project. An old demo, finally finished and titled “Shadow Man” appeared on one CD, whilst another included re-recordings of “Baby Loves That Way” and “You’ve Got A Habit Of Leaving”. In some countries, “Slow Burn” had been issued as a single in the run up to the album’s release, with these B-sides appearing on this release instead. A remixed version of “Everyone Says Hi” also appeared on a compilation LP called “Hope” the following year.

Before the end of the year, another greatest hits set, “Best Of Bowie” was released. There were a series of different editions issued worldwide, with the chosen track listing of each edition being tailored towards the hits Bowie had had in that particular country. The UK version included the edited mixes of “Ashes To Ashes”, “Fashion”, “Scary Monsters”, “Loving The Alien”, “Jump They Say” and “Little Wonder”, along with the “V1 Radio Edit” of “I’m Afraid Of Americans” and the Pet Shop Boys remixed version of “Hallo Spaceboy”. Also included was the radio edit of “Slow Burn” - a strange choice, as not only had this song not been issued as a single in the UK, but this edited mix was only used on Japanese copies of the original single! An accompanying DVD was also issued.

In 2003, the 1983 “Ziggy Stardust The Motion Picture” LP was re-released. The original VHS was also reissued on DVD, and all releases benefited from remixed sound second time around. The LP was pressed on red vinyl, and featured longer versions of “Cracked Actor” and “Width Of A Circle” than had previously been available (the latter was some five minutes longer than the 1983 version), whilst the running order was altered so that the songs now appeared in the order in which they were originally performed. However, there was still no place for the “Jean Genie”/”Love Me Do” medley that was performed on the night, nor the performance of “Round And Round”, although the former (and I think also, the latter) has done the rounds on bootlegs for years.

Also in 2003, there was the reissue of “Black Tie White Noise”, to celebrate it’s tenth anniversary. As good as the record is, it was a strange choice for an anniversary reissue, hardly being one of Bowie’s most well known albums, and it’s re-release simply seems to have been because the original had been deleted and was therefore hard to find. The first disc removed the bonus tracks from the Savage original, so that “The Wedding” and “The Wedding Song” now book ended the set, whilst the original CD bonus track, “Lucy Can’t Dance”, appeared on disc 2. Along with the album mix of “Real Cool World”, the rest of the second CD included various remixes from the period, many of which had only been released on promos only (such as the 10 minute long remix of “Nite Flights”). There was no space for the “Jae-E Edit” of “Jump They Say” that had been on the original CD as the other bonus track, but there was the “Dub Oddity Mix” which had originally been on the UK “Jump” 12”. This mix opened with a sample of a fan saying “I’m Just The Space Cadet, He’s The Commander”, taken from the “Cracked Actor” documentary about Bowie, filmed on his 1974 US tour. The third disc on the reissue was a DVD pressing of the “Black Tie” VHS. The whole package came in a very impressive fold out sleeve, with the two bonus discs coming housed in their own jewel case, which used a different cover shot to the normal CD. It is possible, but unlikely, that the bonus CD’s have been split and offered for sale on their own - although if you download the record from iTunes, the album image that appears on your iPod is that of the bonus discs case, and not the normal release! I am not sure if this has since been rectified.

Reality - Now

Later the same year, and Bowie released the superb “Reality”. I have always thought of “Heathen” and “Reality” being the modern day equivalents of “Low” and “Heroes”, as there are elements of “Low” on “Heroes”, and elements of “Heathen” on “Reality”. “Reality” had a slightly more pop feel to it, and was trailed by a DVD only single, “New Killer Star”, which included a cover of Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s “Love Missile F1-11”, a song I always used to hate, but Bowie made it a bit more acceptable.

When the album was first released, it came with a free 3 track bonus disc, which included a newly recorded version of “Rebel Rebel”. However, a tour edition version of the album appeared only a few months later. Housed in a new silver coloured sleeve, it replaced the 3 track disc with a DVD featuring a live performance of the album in it’s entirety, whilst disc 1 had a bonus track in the form of a cover of The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset”. This was not the first time Bowie had covered the band (“Where Have All The Good Times Gone“ was on 1973‘s “Pin Ups“); “Waterloo Sunset” had originally appeared on the promo only “Never Get Old” single in certain overseas territories.

There was a fourth Bowie album in 2003 - Club Bowie. This slightly odd release cobbled together a variety of mixes from a myriad of labels, with a selection of promo only and commercially released mixes included. Some of the songs were actually dance recordings with Bowie samples included (“Just For One Day”), others were “proper” remixes, such as the “Scumfrog Vs David Bowie” mix of “Loving The Alien”, which was also released as a single in it’s own right before the release of this album. Another remix, the Danny S mix of “Magic Dance“ had also been issued as a 12“ some time before - supposedly a promo only, some copies were sold as “commercial“ copies via mail order, and featured a second remix on the B-side.

2003 also saw the reissue of the “Sound + Vision” box set. It came in a new sleeve, and was updated to include material from after 1980. “Baal’s Hymn” and “The Drowned Girl” from the 1981 “Baal” EP were included, along with the 12” single mix of “Cat People” and the live version of “Modern Love” which appeared on the flip of the 45 of the same name. Tin Machine material from both studio albums were included, along with previously unreleased mixes of “Nite Flights” and “Pallas Athena”. The live version of the latter, from the “Seven Years In Tibet” single, was also included at the end of the set.

In 2004, the in thing was the rise of the bootleg “mash up” - two songs mixed together. Bowie decided to do his own, and released “Rebel Never Gets Old” - a mix of “Rebel Rebel” and “Never Get Old”. In keeping with the “mix” feel, the single was issued on 12” only, with three different versions, with an album track “Days” as a bonus track. It was pressed as a picture disc, although export pressings were pressed on black vinyl. The same year saw the release of a concert DVD, “A Reality Tour”.

“The Collection” was the title of a slightly pointless, but quite well designed, budget collection in 2005. Released by EMI Gold, it offered up a Bowie penned track from each of his “RCA” studio records from 1969 to 1980, meaning that no material from the covers album “Pin Ups” was included. It was mostly LP tracks that made the cut, and the decision was taken to include “Andy Warhol” and “Sweet Thing” - tracks which were either segued into, or formed a segue into, another track on their original LP, and therefore both had to be edited slightly for this set. The cover was good, a series of Bowie pictures from throughout the seventies, displayed in strange looking photo frames, whilst details of each of the original albums were given in the booklet.

In 2005, EMI released yet another best of set. “The Platinum Collection” included the 1969/1974 and 1974/1979 compilations, along with a third disc of material from 1980 to 1987 - meaning the set more or less covered the RCA and EMI America years in full. Disc 3 included - for the first time on a standard priced CD - “The Drowned Girl” from the “Baal” EP, along with the 7” single mix of “Cat People”, “When The Wind Blows”, and the single mixes of “Day In Day Out” and “Underground”. Also included was the “unedited” mix of “Under Pressure”.

In 2006, Bowie issued a stand alone 45, a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Arnold Layne”. The track was actually recorded live at a David Gilmour gig, with Bowie guesting on vocals for this song. Bowie did not feature on the B-side of the single, which was issued on both 7” and CD, and to date, it remains unavailable on any Bowie LP.

In 2007, the third disc of “The Platinum Collection” was issued in it’s own right as “The Best Of David Bowie 1980/1987”. The choice of years also meant that the substandard EMI America material was balanced out by the much superior material from “Scary Monsters”. Realising that many people already had this material in this form on “The Platinum Collection”, EMI decided to throw in a free DVD featuring clips of most - but not all - of Bowie’s videos from the period. The clips of “The Drowned Girl” and “When The Wind Blows” had never been included on a Bowie video collection before.

Another release in 2007 was the “Bowie Box Set”, issued by Sony. Sony had acquired the rights to all of Bowie’s albums post-”Black Tie White Noise”, and thus this 10 CD set included double disc editions of all five studio LP’s from “1.Outside” through to “Reality”. Each double CD had also been available separately some time earlier, “Outside“ having been reissued in 2004. The bonus material varied dependent on what was available from that time period - so whilst the “Reality” set simply offered up all of the material from the double disc release and associated singles, “Outside” offered the US only B-side “Nothing To Be Desired” amongst a stack of vinyl only mixes and other rarities.

In 2008, there were two more Bowie releases aside from the reissue of the “Santa Monica” set. The first, “iSelect”, was initially given away as a freebie with The Mail On Sunday newspaper. Compiled by Bowie himself, it was an alternative “best of”, a mix of singles and more obscure LP tracks. “Some Are”, which had first surfaced on the 1991 reissue of “Low”, was included on the basis that this edition of “Low” had by now been deleted, whilst also included was a new mix of “Time Will Crawl”. A track from the “Santa Monica” album, “Hang Onto Yourself”, was used to close the album. “iSelect” was later issued as a standard CD in the US, with Bowie’s comments about the album - previously only printed in the newspaper that gave away the CD - printed in the booklet. Later the same year, Immortal Records released the “Glass Spider Live” CD, which put onto an audio format, the two “Glass Spider” VHS releases from the late 80s.

2009 saw the release of the “VH1 Storytellers” set, from a gig taped for the TV channel some ten years earlier. The set included an 8 track CD, and a 12 track DVD - the eight tracks off the CD, plus four bonus tracks. The set was noticeable for including a live version of “Can’t Help Thinking About Me”.

2010 saw a strange release - some six years after the release of the “A Reality Tour” DVD, came a CD edition of the same release. This featured all of the material from the DVD, plus three previously unissued tracks - although quite why it took until 2010 to issue this set, is a mystery. It remains, as I type this, the final "new" Bowie release.


Listed below are details of the most important Bowie album and singles releases from the period. For the singles, any formats which included nothing exclusive at the time are omitted - unless they were pressed as a picture disc or on a similarly exotic format. I have listed - by default - CD singles, and where a single was released on a non-CD format which did once contain exclusive material, but does no more thanks to the reissues of all of Bowie’s 93-03 albums from 2003 onwards, then this format is also omitted for clarity. The list includes selected foreign singles and coloured vinyl releases, but promos and dance singles featuring Bowie are omitted, unless Bowie’s involvement is very important. “Magic Dance” is listed on the basis that at least one mail order firm at the time issued it as a standard 12”. Other odds and sods, such as Bowie’s one line contribution to the “Perfect Day” charity single, are also omitted. Reissues and box sets are not listed, but details of the 03-04 repressings are mentioned at the end of the list.


Fame 90 (Gass Mix)/(Bonus Beat Mix) (7” Picture Disc, EMI America FAMEPD 90)
Fame 90 (With Queen Latifah)/(House Mix)/(Gass Mix)/(Hip Hop Mix)/(Absolutely Nothing Premeditated Epic Mix) (US CD, Rykodisc RCD5-1018)
Pretty Pink Rose (Edit) +1 (7”, Atlantic A 7904)
Pretty Pink Rose +2 (CD, Atlantic A7904CD, also available on 12”)
Sound And Vision (808 Giftmix)/(808 ‘Lectric Blue Remix Instrumental)/(1991 David Richards Remix)/(LP Version) (US CD, Tommy Boy TBCD 510)
Real Cool World (Edit)/(Instrumental) (7”, Warner Bros W0127)
Real Cool World (Edit)/(Radio Remix)/(Cool Dub Thing #1)/(12” Club Mix)/(Cool Dub Overture)/(Cool Dub Thing #2) (CD, Warner Bros W0127 CD)
Jump They Say (7” Version)/(Hard Hands Mix)/(JAE-E Remix)/Pallas Athena (Don’t Stop Praying Mix) (CD1, Arista 74321 139422)
Jump They Say (Brothers In Rhythm Mix)/(Brothers In Rhythm Instrumental)/(Leftfield 12” Vocal)/(LP Version) (CD2, Arista 74321 139432)
Black Tie White Noise (Radio Edit)/(Extended Remix)/(Urban Mix)/You’ve Been Around (Dangers Edit) (CD, Arista 74321 14868 2)
Black Tie White Noise (Extended Remix)/(Trance Mix)/(Album Version)/(Club Mix)/(Extended Urban Remix) (12”, Arista 74321 14868 1)
Miracle Goodnight (Album Version)/(12” 2 Chord Philly Mix)/(Masereti Blunted Dub)/Looking For Lester (CD, Arista 74321 16226 2)
Miracle Goodnight (Blunted 2)/(Make Believe Mix)/(12” 2 Chord Philly Mix)/(Dance Dub) (12”, Arista 74321 16226 1)
Buddha Of Suburbia/South Horizon/Dead Against It/Buddha Of Suburbia (Rock Mix) (CD1, Arista 74321 17705 2)
Buddha Of Suburbia/Dead Against It (CD2 in cut down sleeve with hologram image on disc, Arista 74321 18668 2)
Ziggy Stardust (Live)/Waiting For The Man (Live)/The Jean Genie (Live) (CD, Golden Years GYCDS 002, most/all copies exported from France to UK)
The Hearts Filthy Lesson (Radio Edit)/I Am With Name (Edit)/The Hearts Filthy Lesson (Bowie Mix)/(Alt. Mix) (CD, RCA 74321 30703-2)
Strangers When We Meet (“Outside” Version)/The Man Who Sold The World (Live) (Green Vinyl 7” in unique p/s, RCA 74321 329407)
Strangers When We Meet (Edit)/The Man Who Sold The World (Live)/Strangers When We Meet (“Outside Version”)/Get Real (CD, RCA 74321 329402)
Hallo Spaceboy (Remix)/The Hearts Filthy Lesson (Radio Edit) (Pink Vinyl 7” in unique p/s, RCA 74321 353847)
Hallo Spaceboy (Remix)/Under Pressure (Live)/Moonage Daydream (Live)/The Hearts Filthy Lesson (CD, RCA 74321 353842)
Telling Lies (Feelgood Mix)/(Paradox Mix)/(Adam F Mix) (CD, RCA 74321 397412)
Little Wonder (Edit)/(Ambient Junior Mix)/(Club Dub Junior Mix)/(4/4 Junior Mix)/(Junior’s Club Instrumental) (CD1, RCA 74321 452072)
Little Wonder (Edit)/Telling Lies (Adam F Mix)/Jump They Say (Leftfield 12” Vocal)/Little Wonder (Danny Saber Remix) (CD2, RCA 74321 452082, slightly diff p/s)
Dead Man Walking (Edit)/I’m Deranged (Jungle Mix)/The Hearts Filthy Lesson (Good Karma Mix) (CD1, RCA 74321 475842)
Dead Man Walking (AlbumVersion)/(Moby Mix 1)/(House Mix)/(This One’s Not Dead Yet Mix) (CD2, RCA 74321 475852, slightly diff p/s)
Dead Man Walking (House Mix)/(Vigor Mortis Remix)/Telling Lies (Paradox Mix) (12”in die cut sleeve, RCA 74321 475841)
Seven Years In Tibet (Edit)/(Mandarin Version) (Clear Vinyl 7”, RCA 74321 512547)
Seven Years In Tibet (Edit)/(Mandarin Version)/Pallas Athena (Live Amsterdam Paradiso 1997) (CD, RCA 74321 512542)
Pallas Athena (Live Amsterdam Paradiso 1997)/V-2 Schneider (Live Amsterdam Paradiso 1997) (12”, RCA 74321 512541)
I’m Afraid Of Americans (V1)/(V2)/(V3)/(V4)/(V5)/(V6) (US CD, Virgin V25H - 38618)
I Can’t Read (Short Version)/(Long Version)/This Is Not America (CD, ZYX 8757-8)
Earthling In The City (US Only CDEP, given free with GQ Magazine, AT&T 81165-01)
Without You I’m Nothing (Single Mix)/(Unkle Mix)/(Flexirol Mix)/(Brothers In Rhythm Club Mix) (CD, Hut FLOORCD 10)
Thursday’s Child (Radio Edit)/We All Go Through/No One Calls (CD1, Virgin VSCDT 1753)
Thursday’s Child (Rock Mix)/We Shall All Go To Town/1917 (CD2, Virgin VSCDX 1753, “negative” p/s)
Under Pressure (RAH Mix Radio Edit) +1 (7” Picture Disc in sticker sealed clear bag, Parlophone QUEENPD 28)
Under Pressure (RAH Mix Radio Edit)/(Mike Spencer Mix)/(Video) +1 (CD1, enhanced, Parlophone CDQUEENS 28)
Under Pressure (RAH Mix) +2 (CD2, different p/s, Parlophone CDQUEEN 28)
Survive (Marius De Vries Mix)/(Album Version)/The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell (Stigmata Film Version)/Survive (Video) (CD1, enhanced, Virgin VSCDT 1767)
Survive (Live)/Thursday’s Child (Live)/Seven (Live)/Survive (Live-Video) (CD2, enhanced, Virgin VSCDX 1767, red p/s)
Seven (Marius De Vries Mix)/(Remix by Beck)/(Demo) (CD1, Virgin VSCDT 1776)
Seven/I’m Afraid Of Americans (V1)/(Video) (CD2, enhanced,Virgin VSCDX 1776, green p/s with poster)
Seven (Live)/Something In The Air (Live)/The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell (Live) (CD3, Virgin VSCDXX 1776, purple p/s with 4 postcards)
Substiute : The Songs Of The Who EP (newspaper freebie CD, includes “Pictures Of Lily”, Edel SUBTEL1)
Loving The Alien (Radio Edit)/(8.23 Mix)/(Video) +1, (CD, enhanced, Positiva CDTIV-172, also issued as a 12” with less tracks in die cut sleeve)
Everyone Says Hi (Radio Edit)/Safe/Wood Jackson (CD1, Iso 673134 2)
Everyone Says Hi (Radio Edit)/Baby Loves That Way/You’ve Got A Habit Of Leaving (CD2, Iso 673134 5, different p/s)
Everyone Says Hi (Radio Edit)/When The Boys Comes Marching Home/Shadow Man (CD3, Iso 673134 3, “blue” p/s)
New Killer Star (Video)/Reality (EPK - Video)/Love Missile F1-11 (DVD, Iso 674275 9)
Magic Dance (The Danny S Magic Party Mix)/(The Danny S Magic Dust Dub) (12”, Subuzz DBD001)
Rebel Never Gets Old (Radio Mix)/(7th Heaven Edit)/(7th Heaven Mix)/Days (12” Picture Disc, Iso 675040 6)
Arnold Layne +1 (CD, CDEM 717, also available as 7“)


ChangesBowie (CD, EMI CDP 794 1802)
Black Tie White Noise (CD, Savage 74321 13697 2)
The Singles Collection (2xCD, EMI CDEM 1512)
The Buddha Of Suburbia (CD with free novel, Arista 74321 178222)
Santa Monica 72 (CD, Golden Years GY002, with free replica concert ticket)
RarestOneBowie (CD, Golden Years GY 014)
1.Outside (CD, RCA 74321 30702 2)
Earthling (CD, RCA 74321 44944 2)
The Best Of David Bowie 1969/1974 (CD, EMI 821 8492)
The Best Of David Bowie 1974/1979 (CD, EMI 494 3002) (CD, Risky Folio, no catalogue number, later reissued with enhanced 4 track bonus CD)
…Hours (CD, Virgin VDCX 2900, copies without moving image cover also available [VCD 2900])
Bowie At The Beeb (3xCD, includes free “BBC Radio Theatre” CD, EMI 528 9582, most if not all editions mispressed, most if not all 2xCD editions later released without the free album play correctly)
All Saints (CD, EMI 533 0452)
Heathen (CD, first pressing with free four track CD, Iso 508222 9)
Best Of Bowie (2xCD, EMI 539 8212)
Ziggy Stardust The Motion Picture Soundtrack (2xRed Vinyl LP, EMI ZIGGYRIP 3773)
Reality (CD, first pressing with free three track CD, Iso 512555 9, later editions replace this with live DVD [512555 3])
Club Bowie (CD, Virgin VTCD 591)
The Collection (CD, EMI Gold 477 6532)
The Platinum Collection (3xCD, EMI 344 0762)
The Best Of David Bowie 1980/1987 (CD+DVD, EMI 386 4782)
Iselect (CD, EMI UPDB 001)
Glass Spider (2xCD, Immortal, IMA 104212)
VH1 Storytellers (CD, EMI 50999 96490921)
A Reality Tour (2xCD, Sony 88697 588272)

A second “Glass Spider” release from recent years on EMI pairs the original VHS releases onto a single DVD, with a pair of CD’s featuring a gig from Montreal in 1987 instead as bonus dics.

The expanded reissues of Bowie’s “non soundtrack” studio albums differ a bit in terms of what they offer as bonus tracks. “Black Tie” includes mostly an entire CD of promo only mixes, the only songs on the 2003 edition that had been available before had been “Lucy Can’t Dance”, “Real Cool World”, the “3rd Floor US Radio Mix” of “Black Tie White Noise” (albeit in the US only), the “Make Believe Mix” of “Miracle Goodnight”, the Indionesian version of “Don’t Let Me Down & Down” (albeit in Singapore only), the “Brothers In Rhythm Mix” of “Jump They Say”, and the aforementioned “Dub Oddity” mix of the same song.

“1.Outside” includes the “Alt”, “Rubber”, “Simple Test”, “Filthy” and “Good Karma” mixes of “The Hearts Filthy Lesson”, most previously from the 12” version of the single, the edit of “I Am With Name”, the Jungle mix of “I’m Deranged”, “Get Real” and the aforementioned US only “Nothing To Be Desired”. “Earthling” included the “Danny Saber Remix” and “Junior Vasquez Club Mix” of “Little Wonder”, the Mandarin version of “Seven Years In Tibet”, “Dead Man Walking (Moby Mix)”, and the Paradox and Feelgood mixes of “Telling Lies”. Both sides of the Tao Jones Index 12” were also included, as was the clean and uncensored “V1” mix of “I’m Afraid Of Americans”. In both cases, the remainder of the material on the bonus CD’s consisted of either hard to find tracks from soundtrack CD’s, or were remixes commercially unreleased in the UK.

It was the same story for the bonus disc for “Hours”, which in addition to the rare stuff, included the “Rock” mix of “Thursday’s Child”, along with the Marius De Vries mixes of “Seven” and “Survive”. The Beck Remix and Demo version of “Seven” were also included, along with the “Stigmata” version of “The Pretty Things”. All four B-sides of “Thursday’s Child” finished the set.

The bonus discs of “Heathen” and “Reality” were the least interesting, consisting entirely of material that had already been released in the UK. “Heathen” included the material off the four track bonus disc, plus all six of the “Everyone Says Hi” B-sides. “Reality” included “Waterloo Sunset”, and the material off the original three track bonus disc, along with “Love Missile F1-11” and the three versions of “Rebel Never Gets Old” from the UK 12”.

Bowie has contributed huge numbers of other tracks to soundtracks and the like (such as providing all the vocals on “Hop Frog”, on the Lou Reed LP “The Raven”) - again, I refer you to the Illustrated DB Discography for more details about such things.

And there you have it. The end of our 5 month long look at the single most important artist in the history of Rock And Roll. There may have been better vocalists, technically, and better lyricists, but Bowie’s maverick approach to making music, a man determined (1980s excepted) to never make the same album twice, is an approach that few other people have tried - and of those that have, few have succeeded. I would dearly love for this man to make another record, but until then, let us just accept the fact that what Bowie has given us so far, is miles ahead of any other collection of music recorded by anybody else. And what’s more, nobody is ever going to come close to creating what this man has created thus far.


Further reading:
Bowie's official site:

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