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David Bowie

This new boxset of vinyl singles includes two early versions of Space Oddity to mark the 50th anniversary of Bowie’s debut hit. John Earls sifts through the historical document

SPYING THROUGH A KEYHOLE

PARLOPHONE

As thorough as David Bowie’s reissue campaign is, what it hadn’t explored was unreleased songs. You can own every conceivable alternative edit and a wealth of live recordings, but the songs Bowie didn’t deem good enough at the time? Still not released, even on the ongoing boxsets’ Re:Call series of rarities albums.

Suddenly, that seems to be changing. Kickstarting a year of intriguing reissues around the 50th anniversary of the David Bowie album comes a 7” boxset of four singles, comprised of demos Bowie made in 1968. You’ll know Space Oddity, while In The Heat Of The Morning is a staple of Deram-era compilations and London Bye, Ta-Ta is on the Sound + Vision compilation. This leaves four other songs, much discussed by bootleggers but never made official. Until now…

Listened to together, these nine recordings are an exciting document of David Bowie becoming, well, David Bowie. The folky hippy of Love You Til Tuesday is still here, most explicitly in the compilation’s weakest song Goodbye 3d Joe, a negligible strum about a travelling showman. Bowie was still trying to work up London Bye, Ta-Ta in 1970, when he made the Sound + Vision version featuring Marc Bolan on guitar. But there’s a reason Bowie shied away from explicitly political songs. The demo here can be filed as “Artist in progress”.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Long Live Vinyl - Apr 2019: Record Store Day
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